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Harold Meltzer

New York, NY      

Both the first recording devoted to Harold Meltzer’s music, released in 2010 by Naxos, and the third, released in 2018 by Bridge Records, made the best-25-classical-CDs-of-the-year list in The New York Times.  All three discs combine Harold’s passions for vocal music and chamber music, and all three feature his friend, the brilliant violinist Miranda Cuckson.  His sextet Brion, featuring guitar and mandolin, was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2009; other recognition of his work includes the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and both the Arts and Letters Award in Music and  the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  His upcoming projects include a song cycle for countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, tenor Paul Appleby, and pianist Matt Aucoin of American Modern Opera Company, and a full-evening work about immigration for The Crossing Choir and Sandbox Percussion.


Harold Meltzer’s string quartet Aqua responds to Jeanne Gang’s swirling Chicago skyscraper, puffy balconies disappearing into dark watery windows. The music has a variety of extended techniques that suggest simulateously the regularity of steel grids and the foam of waves. In Newmusicbuff, Allan Cronin wrote that the effects “suggest movement in much the same way the building itself does. This is genius, the ability to mix all these string techniques into a coherent whole.”

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Piano Quartet

My 2016 Piano Quartet was commissioned by the Boston Chamber Music Society, and is dedicated to the memory of Steven Stucky. Like my violin-piano duo, Kreisleriana, the Piano Quartet has a lot of nested and complicated ABA things going and some palindromes and fits together like Russian nested dolls.

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Kreisleriana score

This 2012 duo, which I revised in 2014, was commissioned by the Library of Congress for violinist Miranda Cuckson with pianist Blair McMillen. On the surface it’s an homage to the solo bon-bon compositions of violinist Fritz Kreisler. And the music in this piece mirrors some of the schmaltzier techniques that Kreisler had put to good use. On a deeper level, though, it’s an homage to Robert Schumann, and the cyclical structures he used in some of my favorite piece, like his piano cycle Kreisleriana. Thus the title.