Composers Festival spotlight: Christopher Stark

Christopher Stark is one of eight resident composers for the 2015 Mizzou International Composers Festival, and, along with Mizzou’s Justin Pounds, one of two resident composers this year with ties to Missouri and the St. Louis area.

Currently an assistant professor of composition at Washington University in St. Louis, Stark is a native of Polson, Montana who describes his music as being “deeply rooted in the American West” and “seeking to capture the expansive energy of this quintessential American landscape.”

His honors and awards include the Underwood Commission from the American Composers Orchestra, the prix de composition from the Orléans International Piano Competition, and an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

Stark’s music been programmed, rehearsed, and performed by a variety of ensembles and orchestras across the country; featured on NPR’s “Performance Today”; and broadcast as a listener-voted favorite on WQXR in New York City. He also recently worked with Grammy-winning country music artists Zac Brown Band on an arrangement of their hit song “Free” for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Before coming to Wash U, Stark studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory and the University of Montana, and earned his doctorate at Cornell University, where one of his teachers was Steven Stucky, a distinguished guest composer at the 2012 MICF.

You can hear samples of Christopher Stark’s music in the embedded YouTube players below.

Piano Quartet (2014) I. “Assisi, in memoriam Jonathan Harvey” for violin, viola, cello, and piano, recorded in 2014 by the Los Angeles Piano Quartet

“Soldier Asleep at the Tomb” for soprano, orchestra, and electronics, recorded November 1, 2014 at Bailey Hall, Cornell University with Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano, and the Cornell Symphony Orchestra, Chris Younghoon Kim, conductor.

“Rosenthal Miniatures” (2014), seven duets for oboe and bass clarinet with image projections, performed by Jennifer Gookin Cavanaugh (oboe)
and Christopher Kirkpatrick (bass clarinet), with illustrations by Marc Rosenthal

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