composer • educator

CAROLYN O’BRIEN

obriencomposer@gmail.com

carolynobrienmusic.com

 

EDUCATION

2008-2016  Northwestern University, Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition

2004-2007  University of California at Davis, Master of Arts in Music Theory & Composition

1986-1991  Pittsburg State University, KS, Bachelor of Music Education

 

PRINCIPAL COMPOSITION TEACHERS

Lee Hyla

Yu-Hui Chang

Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez

Ronald Caltabiano

 

AWARDS, SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS, AND RESIDENCIES

Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Fall 2016

Fellow at the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP), Boston, MA, 2015

Winner of the Sylvia Glickman Prize, IAWM Search for New Music Competition, 2015

Fellow at the RED NOTE New Music Festival Composition Workshop, Normal, IL, Spring 2015

Winner of Call for Scores, UNK New Music Festival, Kearney, NE, March 2015

Winner of Concorde Ensemble Call for Scores, Dublin, Ireland, Winter 2015

Fellow at the Blue Mountain Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY, Summer 2014

Cortona Sessions for New Music Special Selections, Summer 2014

Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Fall 2013

Commission and Residency, Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, CA, 2011

Winner, William T. Faricy Award, Northwestern University, 2011

Fellow at Music ’10 Festival of New Music with eighth blackbird

Charles Ives Scholarship recipient, Academy of Arts and Letters, 2009

Wyatt Fund Grants (9 total), 2009-2016

GAMMA-UT Conference, Austin, TX, 2009

Eckstein Scholarship, Northwestern University, 2008-2011

Composer in Residence—21st Century Music for the People, American Composers Forum, San Francisco, 2007-2008

Fellow at 63rd Annual Composers Conference at Wellesley College, 2007

Winner, Libby Larsen Prize, IAWM Search for New Music Competition, 2007

SCI-ASCAP Student Composition Commission, Second Place, National, 2006

Winner, Bent Frequency Call for Scores, Concert Season 2006-07

Fellow at Music ’06 Festival of New Music, Cincinnati Conservatory, Summer 2006

SCI-ASCAP Student Composition Commission, Region VIII finalist, 2004

Winner, Herb Bielawa Prize for Composition 2003

Paul Waddill Chamber Music Scholarship, 1986-1991

 

TEACHING HISTORY

 

TEACHING ASSISTANT/LECTURER

Northwestern University

Fall 2011 Lecturer, General Music for Non-Majors

Winter 2011 Lecturer; Music Composition for Non-Majors

Lecturer, Fall 2008-Spring 2009; Freshmen Aural Skills

 

University of California at Davis

Winter 2007 Introduction to Music Literature

Fall 2006 History of Jazz

Spring 2006 Music of Mozart

Winter 2006 History of Rock and Roll, Co-Lecturer

Fall 2005 Introduction to Music Theory

Winter 2005 Music of Stravinsky

Spring 2005 Introduction to Music Literature

Fall 2004 Introduction to Music Theory

 

ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR FOR THE FOLLOWING:

1997-1999 Berkeley USD, Berkeley, CA

1996-1997 San Jose USD, San Jose, CA

1991-1996 Northside ISD, San Antonio, TX

 

LIST OF WORKS

Kinetic Blues for John T. Scott, 2016-17, premiere by Castle of Our Skins, Boston, MA

Plectra, for harp quartet, 2016, premiered by Chicago Harp Quartet, Ear Taxi Festival, Chicago, IL

Wind-up Prelude for piccolo, alto flute and gong tree, 2016 premiered by Meret Bitticks, Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan, Evanston, IL

Kinetic Suite duo for multiple flutes, toy piano, toy percussion, music box, and gong tree, 2016, premiered by Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan, Evanston, IL

Sand Dancer, Automaton and Proud Hoofer, for tap dancer, 2016, premiered by Tristan Bruns, Evanston, IL

Cześć Hyła for baritone saxophone, alto flute, bass flute, and flock of chirping bird whistles, 2015-16, premiered by Thomas Snydacker, Meret Bitticks, Shanna Gutierrez and volunteer whistlers, Evanston, IL

Hellbusker for solo electric bass, 2015-16, premiered by Scott Carter Thunes, Evanston, IL

TetherGrowl for solo baritone saxophone, 2015-16, premiered by Thomas Snydacker, Evanston, IL

Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesus Christ, for piccolo, bass flute and toy piano, J.S. Bach, arr. C. O'Brien, 2015-16, premiered by Meret Bitticks, Shanna Gutierrez and Mabel Kwan, Evanston, IL

Ich ruf zu dir for guitar and piano, 2015-16, premiered by Jesse Langen and Mabel Kwan, Evanston, IL

Ritornello for string quartet, 2015, premiered by Momenta Quartet, Bloomington, IL

Coil, Recoil II for B flat clarinet and viola, 2014, premiered at UNK Festival, Kearney, NE

Nocturne for contrabass flute and djembe, 2013, premiered by A/B duo, Chicago, IL

Caprice for solo violin, 2013, premiered by Graeme Jennings, Evanston, IL

Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012, commissioned by Jan Berry Baker

Three Movements for Chamber Ensemble 2011, commissioned by Lick Wilmerding High School

Escapement for flute (alto/picc), oboe and baritone saxophone, 2011

Thing Contained, for saxophone quartet, 2011, commissioned by Anubis Saxophone Quartet

Impromptu for piccolo, cello, percussion and piano, 2010

Ply for seven players, 2008, premiered by ICE, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Formicary for piano quartet, 2008, commissioned by Society of Composers, Inc. and ASCAP

Three Movements for String Quartet 2008, commissioned by American Composer’s Forum

Electrum for piano trio, 2007, premiere, Composers Conference, Wellesley, MA

Widget for viola, string bass and percussion, 2006, premiered by Empyrean Ensemble, Davis, CA

Conveyance for alto flute, bass clarinet and piano, 2005, premiered by Empyrean Ensemble, Davis, CA

Silver for string quartet, 2005, premiered by Arianna Quartet, Davis, CA

Solace for piano trio, 2003, commissioned by Herb Bielawa Prize for Composition

Ephemera for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, 2002, premiered by New York New Music Ensemble, San Francisco, CA

Subsume for bass clarinet, 2002, premiered by Karen Wells, San Francisco, CA

Observations for string quartet, 2001, premiered by Left Coast Ensemble, San Francisco, CA

 

COLLABORATIONS

Tapman Productions, THRUST! choreographed by Tristan Bruns and Kate O'Hanlon, Chicago, IL August 2016

Composer for Empty to Fill, 16’30”

     Premiered at Dance Week, San Francisco, 2002

Composer for Nine Valentines, 45’30”

     Premiered at Dance Week, San Francisco, 2000

 

SELECTED RECENT PERFORMANCES

EarTaxi Festival, Chicago, Harp Quartet, Chicago IL, October 2016 

     Plectra for harp quartet, 2016

Tapman Productions, Chicago, IL, August 2016

     THRUST! Tap and modern dance choreographed by Tristan Bruns and Kate O'Hanlon

Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Discovery Series, Chicago, IL August, 2016

     Ritornello for string quartet, 2015

Thomas Snydacker, baritone saxophone, Omaha Under the Radar, July, 2016

     Tethergrowl for baritone saxophone, 2016

Patchtax Duo, Eve Boltax, viola and Mary Joy Patchett, saxophone, Cambridge, MA, June 2016 

    Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

Symposium-Recital, Eastman School of Music, Jolokia Ensemble and Hanna Hurwitz, Rochester, NY, March 17, 2016

     Thing Contained, for saxophone quartet, (SATB version) 2014; Caprice for solo violin, 2013

Doctoral Recital, Northwestern University, March 11, 2016

     One hour program with pieces composed during doctoral work at Northwestern University

Hartford New Music Festival, Hartford, CT, November 2015

    Thing Contained, for saxophone quartet, (SATB version) 2014

PeepShow Instant Choreography Series, by Striding Lion Choreography, October 2015

    Caprice for solo violin, 2013

Summer Institute of Contemporary Performance Practice (SICPP) Boston, MA, June 20, 2015 

    Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

Thomas Snydacker, alto saxophone, Northwestern University, June, 2015

     Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

Momenta Quartet,  RED NOTE New Music Festival, April 1, 2015

    Ritornello for string quartet, 2015

Concorde Ensemble, Elaine Clark, violin,  Dublin Ireland, January 25, 2015

    Caprice for solo violin, 2013

Bent Frequency, Jan Berry Baker and Tania Maxwell Clements, Atlanta, GA, December 4, 2014

    Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

Ari Streisfeld, New Music on the Point, VT and Cortona Sessions, Italy, June and July 2014

    Caprice for solo violin, 2013

Sean Hurlburt, alto saxophone and Erin Rafferty, viola, Northwestern University, May 31, 2014

     Coil, Recoil for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

ab duo premiereSpectrum in NYC, March 16, 2014

   Nocturne for contrabass flute and djembe

A/B duo, The Green Mill, Chicago, IL, premiere December 2013,

    Nocturne, for contrabass flute and djembe, 2013

Graeme Jennings, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, premiere February 2013

   Caprice for solo violin, 2013

Jan Berry Baker and Tania Maxwell Clements, World Saxophone Congress, St. Andrews Scotland, July 2012

    Coil, Recoil, for alto saxophone and viola, 2012

Lick-Wilmerding High School Orchestra, San Francisco, CA, December 2011

  Three Movements for Chamber Ensemble, 2011

Dal Niente Presents, commissioned for world premiere, Evanston, IL, June 2011

  Escapement, for flute (alto/picc), oboe and baritone saxophone

Anubis Saxophone Concert, commissioned for world premiere, Chicago, IL, May 2011

  Thing Contained, for saxophone quartet

Music10 Festival of New Music with eighth blackbird, Blonay, Switzerland, June 2010

  Impromptu, for piccolo, cello, percussion and piano

GAMMA-UT Conference, UT Austin, TX, March 2009

   Electrum for piano trio

Trio Phonos: Harry Sparnaay, Peter Bacchus, Jean Pierre Dupuy, Barcelona, Alicante and Madrid, Spain November-December, 2008

   Conveyance for alto flute, bass clarinet, and piano

International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Chicago, IL, March 2008

   Ply for seven players

San Francisco Community Music Center Ensemble, San Francisco, CA, May 2008

   Three Movements for String Quartet

SCI National Conference, neoPhonia New Music Ensemble, Atlanta, GA, Winter 2008

   Formicary, for piano quartet

International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Binghamton, NY, March 2008

   Electrum for piano trio

63rd Annual Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Summer 2007

    Electrum for piano trio

Empyrean Ensemble, University of California at Davis, Spring 2007

   Electrum for piano trio

Bent Frequency Call for Scores, Atlanta, GA, October 2006

   Conveyance for alto flute, bass clarinet, and piano

Music ’06, Cincinnati Conservatory Music Festival, Summer 2006

   Conveyance for alto flute, bass clarinet, and piano

Empyrean Ensemble, University of California at Davis, Spring 2006

   Widget for viola, string bass, and piano

Empyrean Ensemble, University of California at Davis, Spring 2005

   Conveyance for alto flute, bass clarinet, and piano

Arianna String Quartet, University of California at Davis, Spring 2005

   Silver  for string quartet

SFSU Chamber Music Ensemble, San Francisco State University, Spring 2003

   Solace for piano trio

New York New Music Ensemble, San Francisco State University, Fall 2002

   Ephemera for Pierrot ensemble

Karen Wells, San Francisco State University, Spring 2002

   Subsume for bass clarinet

Left Coast Ensemble, San Francisco State University, Fall 2001

   Observations for string quartet

 

LECTURES, COLLOQUIUA, PRESENTATIONS, INTERVIEWS

Lecture and presentation, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, November 2016

Pre-concert talk, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Chicago, IL August 2016

Lecture and presentation, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, March 2016

Interview with Ellen McSweeney for NewMusicBox.org, September 2015

     Build the Playground: Carolyn O'Brien on Composing Through Depression

Lecture and presentation, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, October 2015

Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA, June 2015

RED NOTE New Music Festival, Illinois State University, Bloomington, IL, April 2015

Pre-concert talk, RHA Gallery, Concorde Ensemble, Dublin, Ireland, January 2015

Lecture, Dublin Institute of Technology, Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin, Ireland, January 2015

Pre-concert talk, Bent Frequency, Atlanta, GA, December 2014

Lecture and presentation, Georgia State University, December 2014

Lecture and presentation, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, November 2014

Composers Colloquium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, June 2014

Composers Colloquium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, May 2014

Interview with Ellen McSweeney for NewMusicBox.org, December 2013

     Carolyn O'Brien: Making Music as Tactile as Possible

Pre-concert talk, Dinosaur Annex, Boston, MA, October 2012

Pre-concert talk, Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, CA, December 2011

Lecture and presentation, Lick-Wilmerding High School, San Francisco, CA, December 2011

Lecture and presentation, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, June 2011

Composers Colloquium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, May 2011

Pre-concert Talk: An Interview with Lee Hyla, ensemble dal niente, Chicago, IL April 2011

Lecture and Presentation, Columbia College, Chicago, IL, April 2011

Presentation for fellows and Stephen Hartke, Music 10 Festival of New Music, Blonay, Switzerland, June 2010

Lecture and Presentation, Columbia College, Chicago, IL, April 2010

Lecture and Presentation, Illinois State University, Bloomington, IL, September 2009

Composers Colloquium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, September 2008

Pre-concert talk, San Francisco Community Music Center Ensemble, CA, May 2008

Presentation for composition fellows and Mario Davidovsky, Wellesley, MA, July 2007

     63rd Annual Composers Conference at Wellesley

Presentation for composition fellows and Derek Bermel, Cincinnati, OH, June 2006

     Music '06 Festival of New Music

Composers Colloquium, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, April 2006

Pre-concert talk, Bent Frequency, Atlanta, GA, March 2006

Composers Colloquium, San Francisco, State University, March 2003

Composers Colloquium, San Francisco, State University, May 2002

 

TEACHING CAREER AND OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

1991-1999 Quadrupled orchestra student enrollment in all schools

1991-1996 Student groups received superior ratings at Texas UIL contests

1991-1996 Freelance Conductor, substitute with San Antonio Youth Symphony

1995-1997 Principal Violist, University of Texas at San Antonio Symphony

1992-1996 Violist, Victoria Symphony, Victoria, TX

 

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

American Composer’s Forum

ASCAP

International Alliance for Women in Music

New Music USA