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Andrea Clearfield

Philadelphia, PA      

Andrea Clearfield is an award-winning American composer of music for opera, orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, dance and multi-media collaborations. She has been praised by the New York Times for her “graceful tracery and lively, rhythmically vital writing”, the Philadelphia Inquirer for her “virtuosity”, “compositional wizardry” and “mastery with large choral and instrumental forces”, the L.A. Times for her “fluid and glistening orchestration” and Opera News for her works of “timeless beauty”. Her works are performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. Among her 100 works are 10 cantatas for voices and orchestra, including one commissioned and premiered by The Philadelphia Orchestra. Clearfield is a full time composer with a schedule of commissioned works. She is currently completing her first opera, MILA, on the life of the 11th Century Tibetan yogi Milarepa, to libretto by Jean Claude van Itallie and Lois Walden, commissioned by Gene Kaufman and Terry Eder for 2016 NYC premiere. 

Her cantata, Tse Go La (At the Threshold of this Life – 2012), co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia premiered in Philadelphia. The work, for double chorus, electronics and chamber orchestra was inspired by her field research in the remote, restricted Himalayan region of Lo Monthang, Nepal documenting Tibetan music. Along with anthropologist Katey Blumenthal, Clearfield documented the repertoire of the last royal court singer of Lo Monthang and their recordings are now part of The University of Cambridge World Oral Literature Project dedicated to the preservation of dying cultures. Other works inspired by the documentation project include Lung-Ta (The Windhorse), commissioned by Network for New Music in collaboration with visual artist Maureen Drdak and Group Motion Dance Company, presented in 2009 to the Dalai Lama as an initiative for world peace.

Convergence, commissioned and recorded by Barbara Westphal, violist, was just released on Bridge Records in February 2015.  River Melos, commissioned and recorded by Denise Tryon, hornist in the Philadelphia Orchestra, will be released this year as well as a commercial recording of “and low to the lake falls home” for Carol Wincenc, who commissioned the work for her trio (Les Amies: Carol Wincenc, Cynthia Phelps and Nancy Allen) for her Ruby Anniversary concert series. Her cantata, The Golem Psalms, to libretto by Ellen Frankel was commissioned and recorded by the Mendelssohn Club with Sanford Sylvan, baritone and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on Innova label on the CD Metamorphosis 

Clearfield received a DMA in Composition from Temple University where she was twice awarded the Heller Award for Excellence in Composition, was the first composer to receive the University-wide Presidential Fellowship and was honored as a distinguished Alumna. She received an MM in Piano Performance from The University of the Arts and a BA in Music (Piano) from Muhlenberg College where she graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors and received 1st prize in Musicianship and Performance. She served on the music faculty at The University of the Arts for 25 years where she taught composition and interdisciplinary performance art. She has also been visiting composer and guest lecturer at The University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania, Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, The College of William and Mary, Swarthmore College, The Hartt School of Music, Indiana University among others. Clearfield has been the pianist for the contemporary ensemble, Relâche since 1989. She is also a sought after lecturer, music panelist and adjudicator for arts organizations. Her music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, Oxford University Press, International Opus and Jomar Press. Celebrating its 28th year, Clearfield is also the founder and host of the renowned Philadelphia Salon concert series, featuring contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic, multimedia and world music and winner of Philadelphia Magazine’s 2008 “Best of Philadelphia” award. More at www.andreaclearfield.com


Movement II, Shar Ki Ri (Mountain to the East) from the cantata Tse Go La

This work is excerpted from Andrea Clearfield’s 7 movement 2012 cantata Tse Go La scored for double chorus, chamber orchestra and electronics. Commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club and Pennsylvania Girlchoir and premiered with the Chamber Orchestra of Phila, the cantata is inspired by the composer’s fieldwork in the remote Himalayan region of Lo Monthang in Upper Mustang, Nepal, where she recorded and documented Tibetan music with Katey Blumenthal, anthropologist, bringing some of these songs back to the U.S. for the first time.

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TRAX (octet) – 1995 (arr. 2009)

TRAX (1997, rev. 2002)

TRAX nods to jazz, funk, blues and baroque music. The was originally a sax quartet, “Sax Trax” (1997) for the Diastema (France) and Helikon (Holland) Quartets, later performed by the Prism Sax Quartet. Another arrangement for marimba quartet became “Mallet Madness” for the Battery 4 Percussion Group. A further reconstruction became “TRAX” for Philadelphia’s contemporary music group, Relâche. This performance is the New Music Ensemble at UT Austin directed by Dan Welcher

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The Golem Psalms (2006)

Cantata for baritone, chorus and orchestra to libretto by Ellen Frankel. Commissioned and recorded by The Mendelssohn Club with Sanford Sylvan, baritone and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (augmented to symphony size). Recording on Innova label on the CD Metamorphosis. The work consists of seven tableaus on the 16th Century legend of the Golem of Prague. This is an excerpt from Movement 7.

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