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Carl Schimmel

Normal, IL   

Praised by The New York Times as “vivid and dramatic,” the music of Carl Schimmel is dense with literary and musical references, often humorous, and combines intensity of expression with a structural rigor which is influenced in part by his mathematics background.  Winner of a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fromm Foundation Commission, Columbia University’s Joseph Bearns Prize, the Lee Ettelson Award, and the 2017 Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Schimmel has received honors and awards from many organizations, including the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Copland House, New Music USA, and ASCAP.  His works have been performed in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Merkin Hall in New York, Severance Hall in Cleveland, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, and at other venues worldwide.  He has received performances and commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, California EAR Unit, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, and many others.  A graduate of Duke University (Ph.D.), the Yale School of Music (M.M.), and Case Western Reserve University (B.A. Mathematics and Music), he is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Illinois State University.

Chamber Symphony, Mvt. II: “Un Perm’ au Casino Hermann Goering”

My Chamber Symphony is a kind of experiment in narrative, as was (perhaps) Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow, on which the composition is based. I have assigned musical ideas to nearly all of the recurring characters in the novel, and I closely parallel its explicit architecture. But while I draw inspiration from Pynchon’s dense and zany style, the perceived “plot” of my music does not correspond to that of the novel. The Chamber Symphony was composed for Alarm Will Sound.

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Noctuary, for two string quartets

How is a musical idea the same or not the same as, related or not related to, another musical idea, remembered from earlier in the piece? And, in a less narrow and more personal sense, to what extent do musical ideas from my own past compositions re-emerge and manifest themselves in my new compositions? In composing in a way that is less structured, and yet more clearly rooted in aspects of my personal musical style, in Noctuary I have attempted to more deeply probe my own musical subconscious. Noctuary was commissioned by the Ciompi Quartet.

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Woolgatherer’s Chapbook, for full orchestra

“Woolgatherer’s Chapbook” is a collection of short poems. The formal requirements of each poem are matched by the structure of the music. The Woolgatherer is a dreamer, but his visions are intense. They run together and mingle, and each poem sows the seed of the next, like the passing of generations, or the metastasis of thought.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Articles August 22 2007 | By Carl Schimmel
Doping in the Music World

A look back to a time when several of the world's most revered composers tested positive for the drug psychophonoracetam, more commonly known by its street name nunu.