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Christopher Arrell

Worcester, MA   

Chris Arrell (b. 1970, Stumptown) writes music for throats, fingers, and oscillators praised for its nuance and unconventional beauty (New Music Box, Boston Music Intelligencer, Atlanta Journal Constitution).  A specialist in the music of Gérard Grisey who began his musical journey as a rock guitarist, Arrell writes music of blurred boundaries and dogmatic anti-dogmaticism.


A winner of the 2014 Ettelson Composer Award for his work Of Three Minds, Arrell holds additional honors from the Cape Fear International Call-for-Scores (2013), the Ossia International Music Prize (2010), the League of Composers/ISCM (2008), the Salvatore Martirano Competition (2007), the MacDowell (2005) and ACA colonies (1998), and the Fulbright-Hays Foundation (2004).


Arrell has fulfilled commissions for a number of prestigious ensembles and institutions including Alte Schmiede, the Mellon Summer Research Program at Holy Cross, the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, the Boston Musica Viva, Music at the Anthology, Spivey Hall, Cornell University, and the Fromm Foundation of Harvard University, among others.  Performances and premieres include those by The Bent Frequency Duo Project, Alia Musica, the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, the Boston Musica Viva, the Boston New Music Initiative, Brave New Works, Sonic Generator, Sospeso, Thamyris, Bent Frequency, newEar, Tony Arnold, Stuart Gerber, Jacob Greenberg, Maya Hoover, Craig Hultgren, Lisa Leong, Jan Müller-Szeraws, Scott Pool, and Rhonda Taylor, among others, at venues across the US and in Canada, South America, Europe, and Australia.


2013 saw the release of Diptych, a portrait CD on the Beauport Classical label featuring five works by Arrell and the talents of Boston Musica Viva, the Clayton State Chorale, Sonic Generator, Jacob Greenberg, Lisa Leong & Amy Williams.  Additional publications of Arrell’s music are available from Beauport, PARMA, Electroshock, and Trevco Music.


Arrell studied at Cornell University with Steven Stucky and Robert Sierra and also participated in the Cornell-Columbia Exchange Scholar Program as a student of Tristan Murail’s.  Especially influenced by Grisey’s approach to musical time, Arrell’s analysis of the composer’s Partiels, appearing in the Proceedings of the International Spectral Music Conference, is described by Nicholas Deyoe in Notes, the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association, as “the most interesting writing about Grisey’s Partiels that I have read.”
 


Arrell is Assistant Professor of Music at College of the Holy Cross and taught previously at Clayton State University in suburban Atlanta. He holds degrees from Cornell University (DMA), the University of Texas (MM), and the University of Oregon (BM), and participated in the Cornell-Columbia Exchange Scholar Program. His composition teachers include Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, Tristan Murail, Dan Welcher, Robert Kyr, and Russell Pinkston.

Mutations performed by Jan Müller-Szeraws and Chris Arrell

Mutations for cello and computer

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Diptych for two prepared pianos

Diptych performed by Jacob Greenberg and Amy Williams

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echo electric for quartet and computer

echo electric performed by Sonic Generator and Chris Arrell

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