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Kurt Rohde

San Francisco, CA            

Violist and composer Kurt Rohde  is the Artistic Director of the Composers Conference. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship, the Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize. He has received commission awards from New Music USA – Commissioning Music/USA, the NEA, and the Barlow, Fromm, Hanson, and Koussevitzky Foundations. 

The premiere of It wasn’t a dream…, a song cycle for the Brooklyn Art Song Society using poems by Diane Seuss, took place in the Spring 2018. It appears on a CD from Albany Records (Winter 2020), which includes other vocal works, and Mr. Rohde’s Treatises For An Unrecovered Past with the Lydian Quartet.

In November 2017, his revised chamber opera based on José Saramago’s novel Death With Interruptions was premiered by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble alongside a new monodrama, Never was a knight…, based on Cervantes’s Don Quixote for tenor Joe Dan Harper. His newest works include a solo piano work for Jared Redmond, a work for Shamisen virtuoso Hidejiro Honjoh, a work for violin and piano for Anna Presler and Eric Zivian, and a new work for string quartet and electronics for the Lydian Quartet.

Beginning in 2017, Kurt embarked on a multi-year commissioning project to create and perform new works for solo viola/viola & electronics/viola & piano by over 35+ underrecognized composers as part of his new music initiative, which is based in part on Cher’s decades long Farewell Tour, called Kurt’s Farewell TourPARTS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6. This project, along with the establishment in 2016 of the Kurt Rohde Commission Fund, is part of his overall commitment to develop and nurture opportunities for composers to make work alongside performers and bring the music to as many different listeners as possible.

Professor of Music Composition at UC Davis, Kurt is a founding member and plays viola with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE), and is their former Artistic Director. Currently, he is a curator at the Center for New Music and serves as Artistic Advisor for the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

In addition to enjoying double IPAs, off-beat films, and long distant running, Kurt is fascinated with the codification of failure in current culture, and is trying to find ways to incorporate notions of failure and catastrophe into the way he makes work. He lives in San Francisco with his husband Tim Allen and their poodle Hendrix.

some tunes from the last few years…

Here are recent performances of a number of small ensemble works and larger chamber pieces on my SoundCloud page. As with most of my music, this stuff is all over the place.

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Death With Interruptions – a chamber opera in one act [2015/rev. 2017]

“In a small Iberian country death decided to stop working.
At first everyone was overjoyed but soon all concerned –
the Church, the state, the undertakers, the insurance companies – realized that the situation was dire. The Maphia offered temporary relief but could not really replace death. death decides to start working again but under new and more regular conditions: those who will die will get a timely notice.
She informs the ministry of her intentions.”
– José Saramago

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Treatises for an Unrecovered Past for string quartet [2013]

My string quartet “Treatise for an Unrecovered Past” was commissioned and premiered by the Lydian String Quartet as part of their first Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize. This is a performance of the first two movements; “NODE: Tuning Knot,” and “Recently Found Fragments: Chant Loop.”

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