"Crosscurrents 2007:
Making Music Together"

Thursday, June 28 to Tuesday, July 10, 2007
University of Oregon School of Music


Robert Kyr, Symposium Director

Robert Kyr

Robert Kyr (b. 1952) has composed nine symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, and numerous works for vocal ensembles of all types. In November 2000, his ninth symphony, The Spirit of Time, for four soloists, chorus and orchestra was performed as part of an international project entitled "Waging Peace in the New Millennium", which he directs through the Carlton Savage Endowment for International Relations and Peace at the University of Oregon. Through this program, he has created "Waging Peace through Singing", which offers composers of all ages an opportunity to compose new music on peace-related texts. The winning compositions will be performed at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (which he founded eight years ago) and at a choral festival at the University of Oregon in January 2003. Currently, he is composer-in-residence (2000-2004) with the Oregon Repertory Singers, for whom he is creating three large-scale works to be recorded on compact disc.

Kyr has been commissioned by numerous music organizations including the Oregon Repertory Singers, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Yale Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, New England Philharmonic, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Back Bay Chorale (Boston), Third Angle (Portland), California EAR Unit (Los Angeles), New England Philharmonic, and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra among others. His commissions have received funding through organizations and foundations, including Meet the Composer (2X), the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Paul G. Allen Foundation, Chamber Music America, Oregon Regional Arts and Culture Council, Schnitzer Care Foundation (2X), Telarc International, Chase Foundation, Hopkins Arts Center (Dartmouth), and Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities.

Several compact discs of Kyr's music are currently available including: Unseen Rain (New Albion), vocal music for Ensemble Project Ars Nova; The Passion according to Four Evangelists (New Albion) for soloists, chorus and orchestra (Back Bay Chorale; Beverly Taylor, conductor); and two discs recorded by Tapestry on Telarc - Celestial Light: Music by Hildegard von Bingen and Robert Kyr and The Fourth River: The Millennium Revealed. A compact disc of his three chamber symphonies (Vanished Lightning, Infinity's Edge, and Elements of Time and Wonder has been recorded by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony (Edwin London, conductor) and will be released in 2003.

In 1974, Kyr graduated from Yale summa cum laude and continued his education in England at the Royal College of Music in London, and at Dartington Summer School for the Arts, where he studied with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who later commissioned his work, Maelstrom, for the Fires of London. Kyr completed his Master of Arts at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, studying with George Rochberg and George Crumb. He was elected to the Society of Fellows at Harvard University in 1978 and was in residence as a Junior Fellow from 1978 through 1981.

In 1989, Kyr received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he studied with Donald Martino and Earl Kim. He has held teaching positions in composition and theory at Yale University, UCLA, Hartt School of Music, Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen, Aspen Music School, and the Longy School of Music at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was the Director of Compositional Studies. As chair of the composition program at the University of Oregon, Kyr has developed new models for teaching composition which integrate theory, performance practice, and composition into a single, focused curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The program at Oregon is presently one of the largest in the United States--a thriving community of 50 composers.

Article: Robert Kyr's "Third Art" by Giselle Wyers