Composers Festival spotlight: Andrew Tholl

Andrew Tholl comes to the 2021 MICF from Los Angeles, CA, where he works as a violinist, composer, drummer, and improvisor.

He holds degrees from Arizona State University, University of Michigan, and the California Institute of the Arts, and has served on the faculty at CalArts, Moorpark College, Ventura College, The Kadima Conservatory of Music, and Harmony Project.

Tholl’s performances and compositions have been heard across the United States and Europe, as he “continues to be involved with music for concert halls, art galleries, films, puppet shows, bars, garages, bedrooms, and coat closets.”

As a resident composer for the 2021 MICF, Tholl (pictured) has written a new work called “Despite the Unforeseen Circumstances; or Just Another Illusion of Explanatory Depth” that will be performed by Alarm Will Sound as part of the “World Premieres II” online concert on Saturday, July 31,

Tholl previously has created commissioned works for wild Up, the New Century Players, Machine Project, Danny Holt, and more. His music has been performed at REDCAT at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dartington International Summer Festival in England, Complice in Berlin, Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles, Princeton University, Listen/Space in New York, Gridlock in Vancouver, and many other venues and festivals.

As a soloist and chamber musician, he has premiered more than 200 new works, collaborating with composers such as Sylvano Bussotti, Christian Wolff, David Rosenboom, Wadada Leo Smith, Arthur Jarvinen, Roger Reynolds, Harold Budd, and George Crumb.

Tholl also is a member and co-founder of the Formalist Quartet, known to many as the preeminent new music string quartet in Southern California. The quartet been in residence at Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California – San Diego, and Villa Aurora, and has performed for numerous festivals and concert series including sound ON in San Diego, MOSA in New York, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Unruly Music at the University of Wisconsin, and more.

The Formalist Quartet’s recordings can be heard on Innova, Lakefire, Cold Blue, and Populist Records, which Tholl co-owns and operates with fellow Formalist Quartet member Andrew McIntosh.

Aside from his work as a “classical” musician and composer, Andrew maintains a second musical life performing pop, rock, punk, noise and improvisational music. He currently plays with the ensembles TempWerks, Paper Tiger Trio, and touchy-feely. and in the past has performed with artists including Aretha Franklin, Busta Rhymes, Scott Weiland, Diana Krall, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Vinny Golia, and more. He also has worked in scoring for film, dance, and theater as both a performer and composer.

You can hear some samples of Andrew Tholl’s music on his SoundCloud page and via the embedded players below.

“hold still while the world turns” performed by Aperture Duo, with Adrianne Pope (violin) and Linnea Powell (viola), on July 11, 2017 at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, CA.

“Excuse My Dust,” performed July 23, 2015 by Isaura String Quartet and Argenta Walther. (Text attributed to Dorothy Parker.)

“Memory Draws the Map We Follow” performed by Jodie Landau of Wild Up

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