Composers Festival Spotlight: Eric Guinivan

Eric Guinivan

Today, we train our virtual spotlight on Eric Guinivan, a percussionist and composer who’s another of the eight resident composers at the 2013 Mizzou International Composers Festival.

A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Guinivan earned bachelor’s degrees in composition and percussion performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He then relocated to Los Angeles, receiving a master’s degree and, in 2011, a D.M.A. in composition from the University Of Southern California Thornton School Of Music.

Most recently, he has relocated across the country once again, as in June of this year he took a job as assistant professor of composition at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

Guinivan’s music has been performed across the United States and in Spain, France, Greece, Estonia, and Japan, by ensembles including the Ovideo Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra of St. Louis, the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra, USC’s Thornton Symphony, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Quey Percussion Duo, and the New York Symphony Singers, among others.

He has received a number of awards and honors, including three BMI Student Composer Awards and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, and has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony, the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra, and pianist Vicki Ray.

Guinivan began studying percussion at age 10 and has performed with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles around the country. While living in Los Angeles, he was a co-founder of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, and served for three years as principal timpanist of the YMF Debut Orchestra. His debut performance as an orchestral soloist in 2008 was in a premiere of his own Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra with USC’s Thornton Symphony, and will made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2011 premiering his work Meditation and Awakening with the New York Youth Symphony.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet debut album Rūpa-khandha – which leads off with “Ritual Dances,” a 20-minute work that Guinivan wrote for the group – was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Chamber Music Performance and Best Surround Sound Album.

Before taking the job at James Madison, Guinivan was an adjunct instructor at USC, where he taught composition, orchestration, music theory, and aural skills, and an instructor at Renaissance Arts Academy in Eagle Rock, CA. He also has presented guest masterclasses and percussion clinics at colleges and universities including Chapman University, San Francisco Conservatory, and Sakuyo Kurashiki University in Okayama, Japan.

You can hear examples of Eric Guinivan’s compositions on his website, his Soundcloud page, and in the embedded video windows below.

Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, as performed in 2010 by Joven Orquesta Internacional, directed by Janko Kastelic with Fernando Arias as soloist.

“Sword Dance” (from Ritual Dances), performed by University of South Carolina Percussion Ensemble (Joe W. Moore III, Nick Guiliano, Tyler Loftin, and Anna Viviano).

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