LOWELL LIEBERMANN- BIOGRAPHY
Lowell Liebermann is one of America's most frequently performed and recorded living composers. He has written over one hundred thirty works in all genres, several of which have gone on to become standard repertoire for their instruments. His Sonata for Flute and Piano and his Gargoyles for piano are among the most frequently performed contemporary works for their instruments; each of them has been recorded twenty times to date on compact disc.
In 2014, Mr. Liebermann became the inaugural recipient of the Virgil Thomson Award, a $40,000 prize for vocal composition given jointly by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Virgil Thompson Foundation.
Recent commissions include a full-length ballet based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein co-commissioned by the Royal Ballet in London and San Francisco Ballet, and Symphony No.4 for conductor Gerard Schwarz and the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Mr. Liebermann has written two full-length operas, both enthusiastically received at their premieres: The Picture of Dorian Gray, the first American opera commissioned and premiered by Monte Carlo Opera; and Miss Lonelyhearts, after the novel by Nathanael West, which was commissioned by the Juilliard School to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Among his orchestral works, Mr. Liebermann has composed four symphonies, a Concerto for Orchestra, three piano concertos and concertos for many other instruments. His concertos for flute and piccolo are counted among the most frequently performed American orchestral works. His Clarinet Concerto was commissioned by a consortium of fourteen orchestras for clarinetist Jon Manasse, and Piano Concerto No.3 was commissioned by a consortium of eighteen orchestras. Stephen Hough and the Indianapolis Symphony premiered Liebermann's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, commissioned to celebrate Raymond Leppard's farewell concert as conductor. His Violin Concerto was commissioned and premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra with violinist Chantal Juillet, conducted by Charles Dutoit. The New York Philharmonic and principal trumpet Philip Smith presented the premiere of Mr. Liebermann's Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, which the Wall Street Journal described as "balancing bravura and a wealth of attractive musical ideas to create a score that invites repeated listening. [Liebermann] is a masterful orchestrator, and just from this standpoint the opening of the new concerto is immediately arresting," also noting that the "rousing conclusion brought down the house."
In the realm of chamber music, Mr. Liebermann has composed five string quartets - the most recent for the Emerson Quartet; four cello sonatas; piano quintets, quartets and trios; and works for many other combinations
A pianist himself, Mr. Liebermann has written a wealth of music for the solo instrument, much of which frequently appears on concert and competition programs. Mr. Liebermann was awarded the very first American Composers Invitational Award by the 11th Van Cliburn Competition after the majority of finalists chose to perform his Three Impromptus, which were selected from works submitted by forty-two contemporary composers.
Liebermann's Symphony No. 2 was commissioned for the centennial of the Dallas Symphony and premiered by them in February 2000 under the direction of Andrew Litton. This concert was the ground-breaking first webcast ever of an orchestral concert. Time magazine wrote, "Now brazen and glittering, now radiantly visionary, the Liebermann Second, a resplendent choral symphony, is the work of a composer unafraid of grand gestures and openhearted lyricism." Maestro Litton and the DSO recorded the symphony and Liebermann’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra for Delos, with Eugenia Zukerman as soloist. Liebermann's Piano Concerto No. 2 was commissioned by the Steinway piano company and premiered by Stephen Hough with the National Symphony under the direction of Msistislav Rostropovich. Stephen Wigler of the Baltimore Sun found the concerto to be "perhaps the best piece in the genre since Samuel Barber's concerto." John Ardoin, of the Dallas Morning News, described the work as "more than a knockout; it is among the best works of its kind in this century." Stephen Hough's recording of the concerto - conducted by the composer - received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Sir James Galway has commissioned three works from Mr. Liebermann: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra, and Trio No. 1 for Flute, Cello and Piano. Sir James premiered the Flute Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and subsequently performed it with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Sir James recorded the Flute, Piccolo and Flute and Harp Concertos for BMG, with Mr. Liebermann conducting the London Mozart Players.
Mr. Liebermann acted as Composer-in-Residence for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for four years. He served the same role for the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan; the Saratoga Performing Arts Center; and many other organizations.
His music has been widely represented on CD, with over eighty releases so far. Following a recent release on the Albany label of Liebermann’s Concerto for Orchestra and other works performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Grant Llewellyn, will be a disc of Liebermann’s complete music for two pianos, performed by the duo 88 squared. Among other upcoming releases are his complete Nocturnes for piano on the Blue Griffin label performed by Anne DuHamel. Additional recordings of Mr. Liebermann's music are available on Hyperion, Virgin Classics, Hungaraton, New World Records, RCA Red Seal and many other labels.
Orchestras worldwide have performed Liebermann's works, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Tokyo NHK Symphony, L'Orchestre National de France, and the symphonies of Dallas, Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Minnesota. Among the many artists who have performed Liebermann's works are Sir James Galway, Charles Dutoit, Garrick Ohlsson, Andreas Delfs, the Beaux Arts Trio, Raymond Leppard, Stephen Hough, Kurt Masur, Joshua Bell, the Emerson, Orion and Ying Quartets, Hans Vonk, Steven Isserlis, Andrew Litton, Susan Graham, Edo de Waart, David Zinman, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Paula Robison, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Steuart Bedford, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
As a pianist, Mr. Liebermann has collaborated with flautists Sir James Galway, Jeffrey Khaner and Tara O’Connor, violinists Ida Kavafian and Chantal Juillet, cellist Andres Diaz and many others. He can be heard on the Arabesque compact disc of his songs with tenor Robert White and the GPR recording of his Night Songs with baritone Daniel Okulitch. He has performed the world premiere of works by Ned Rorem, William Bolcom and other composers, and made his Berlin debut performing his Piano Quintet with members of the Berlin Philharmonic. Mr. Liebermann is a Steinway Artist.
He was the founding conductor and Artistic Director of MACE - the Mannes American Composers Ensemble - a large ensemble devoted to the works of living American Composers. Mr. Liebermann joined the composition faculty of Mannes College the New School for Music in 2012, and the following year was appointed Head of its Composition Department.
Lowell Liebermann was born in New York City in 1961. He began piano studies at the age of eight, and composition studies at fourteen. He made his performing debut two years later at Carnegie Recital Hall, playing his Piano Sonata, Op.1, which he composed when he was fifteen. He holds Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School of Music. Among his many awards are a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and awards from ASCAP and BMI. His music is published by Theodore Presser Company, Schott Music and Faber Music. He currently resides in Weehawken, New Jersey with his partner, pianist and conductor William Hobbs, their Australian Shepherd named Daphne, and an American Eskimo named Phoebus.