Persis Vehar

 
Biography


 
Full Biography Condensed Bio


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Persis Vehar
Persis Vehar whale-watching in the
Bay of Fundy
 
Persis Vehar
Composer
Full Length Biography

Hailed by the New York Times for her musical “honesty, clarity and compositional skill”, Persis Parshall Vehar has had works commissioned and performed by leading orchestras, opera companies, ensembles, soloists and schools throughout the United States and Europe. Known for her colorful orchestral combinations and innovative vocal techniques, Ms. Vehar has received many of today’s most prestigious honors and awards for composition.
 
With over 200 compositions ranging from solo song to full orchestral works and operas, Vehar’s works have been performed at many of the leading concert halls throughout Europe and the United States, including the Royal Festival Hall (London), Graz Music Festival (Austria), McMaster & Brock Universities (Canada), University of California at Irvine & Santa Barbara, Copenhagen (Denmark), Uppland (Sweden), Pittsburg State University (Kansas), Ohio State University, Michigan State University, Manhattan School of Music, the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings Series, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, North Carolina. She is the recipient of 27 annual ASCAP Awards and seven Meet the Composer grants, and is included in the International Museum’s Collection of Distinguished Musicians in London and the Biblioteque Internationale De Musique Contemporaine in Paris. Her works are published by C. F. Peters and Boosey & Hawkes, and her compositions have been broadcast on National and International Public Radio and Television.
 
Ms. Vehar’s compositions based on poem settings have been praised by the Buffalo News as “a joy” and “immediately accessible”, with “the lightness that is the hallmark of Vivaldi”. Recent works include her composition Millay-Sia, four settings of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay for soprano and string orchestra, which was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra; and L’Acqua Diversa di Vivaldi which was commissioned for the 25th Anniversary of Ars Nova’s Viva Vivaldi Series.
 
Recent commissions include Peace Requiem for orchestra, chorus and soprano and baritone soloists, which was premiered by the Western New York Children’s Chorus, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Swan, Conductor. In 2009, the Freudig Singers and Conductor Roland Martin commissioned and premiered The Heart Replies to Music for their 25th Anniversary season. Tennessee’s Austin-Peay State University commissioned her 4th opera, George Sand...And Chopin to commemorate the 25th Anniversary season of their “Dimensions” series. This summer, the Opera Saratoga NY Performing Arts Center premiered a semi-staged performance of her fifth opera, Eleanor, based on Rhoda Lerman’s play about Eleanor Roosevelt. The Syracuse Society for New Music will perform scenes from the same opera on its 2009 summer series in Cazenovia, NY and in other college and university venues during the 2009-10 season. The college-level New York State Teachers Music Association has commissioned her to compose a new chamber music work in 2010 for their series that matches upstate New York composers with downstate universities.
 
Her compositions based on the poetry of award-winning poet Charles Bukowski have been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “enticing glimpses of a fresh sort of whiskey-breathed art song”. A total of twenty-three of these art songs were premiered by Metropolitan Opera bass Valerian Ruminski in Los Angeles, New York City and at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Her one-person opera, Bukowski: Larger than Life, was premiered by Ruminski and Vehar at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. In June 2009, the Abiquiu Festival in New Mexico opened with selections from her Bukowski songs and her song cycle based on the poetry of Vachel Lindsay, the Ghosts of Lindsay. Ruminski recently commissioned her to compose a song cycle based on poems by Catullus.
 
Ms. Vehar’s first work for countertenor, In the Palace of Time, five settings of poetry by Lucille Clifton, will be premiered in 2010 by Darryl Taylor at the University of California at Irvine. Additional performances will be given in the Los Angeles area under the auspices of the LA chapter of the National Association of Composers. Her song cycle, Radiance, was premiered by soprano Laura Aikin and flutist Carol Wincenc with Vehar at the piano, sponsored by New York City’s Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS in 2006.
 
The Floorplay Dance Company commissioned and premiered her music for Steps #12, choreographed by Gus Solomons, Jr., a leading figure in postmodern and experimental dance. The Buffalo News dance critic heralded this collaboration as the year’s “Critic’s Choice”.
 
Her works for wind ensemble include Winter Mountain, commissioned and premiered by Dr. Timothy Topolewski with the Crane School of Music (SUNY at Potsdam) Wind Ensemble; and Bright Phoenix Ascending, commissioned and premiered by The Clarence High School Wind Ensemble, at the Mid-Western Band Clinic in Chicago.
 
In 2007, acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta premiered Ms. Vehar’s City of Light Concerto for clarinet & orchestra with Principal Clarinetist John Fullam and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Praised by the Buffalo News for the “clarinet’s Gregorian chant”, “superb pianissimo passages”, and “orchestral partnership”, this work is featured on her City of Light CD with Mr. Fullam, the BPO, and Ms. Vehar as pianist.
 
The Czech Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Valek, Conductor, made the premiere recording of her Light/Lux/Svietlo, which has received subsequent live performances in the United States. An accomplished pianist, Vehar recorded her work Sound-Piece for Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Piccolo Trumpet and Piano, with Buffalo Philharmonic principal trumpet, David Kuehn on their critically acclaimed CD, Musical Landscapes For Trumpet. Her From the Mountain Top was recorded by David and Daniel Kuehn, trumpets and Ken Mervine, organist, and will be featured on an upcoming CD. Recordings of her music may be heard on the Fleur de Son Classics, Ltd., MMC, Aeolian, Loft, Capstone, and Mark labels.
 
Vehar is currently in her 13th year as Composer-in-Residence at Canisius College, and regularly makes presentations at such colleges and universities as State University of New York Colleges at Fredonia, Buffalo and Potsdam, Pittsburg State University (Kansas), Austin-Peay State University (Tennessee), Wake Forest University (North Carolina), and the Eastman School of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Theory from Ithaca College and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan, and had three years’ post-graduate study in New York City. Her private composition studies were with Warren Benson, Ross Lee Finney, Roberto Gerhard and Ned Rorem. She had additional advanced composition workshops with Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Leon Kirchner, Roger Sessions and Jacob Druckman.



 
Persis Vehar
Composer
Condensed Biography

Hailed by the New York Times for her musical “honesty, clarity and compositional skill”, Persis Parshall Vehar has had works commissioned and performed by leading orchestras, opera companies, ensembles, soloists and schools throughout the United States and Europe. Known for her colorful orchestral combinations and innovative vocal techniques, Ms. Vehar has received many of today’s most prestigious honors and awards for composition.
 
With over 200 compositions ranging from solo song to full orchestral works and operas, Vehar’s works have been performed at many of the leading concert halls throughout Europe and the United States, including the Royal Festival Hall (London), Graz Music Festival (Austria), and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival (Charleston, North Carolina). She is the recipient of 27 annual ASCAP Awards and seven Meet the Composer grants and is included in the International Museum’s Collection of Distinguished Musicians in London and the Biblioteque Internationale De Musique Contemporaine in Paris. Her works are published by C. F. Peters and Boosey & Hawkes, and her compositions have been broadcast on National and International Public Radio and Television.
 
Recent works include her composition Millay-Sia, four settings of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay for soprano and string orchestra, which was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra; and Peace Requiem for orchestra, chorus and soprano and baritone soloists, which was premiered by the Western New York Children’s Chorus, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
 
Her compositions based on the poetry of award-winning poet Charles Bukowski have been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “enticing glimpses of a fresh sort of whiskey-breathed art song”. A total of twenty-three of these art songs were premiered by Metropolitan Opera bass Valerian Ruminski in Los Angeles, New York City and at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Ruminski recently commissioned her to compose a song cycle based on poems by Catullus. Ms. Vehar has also received critical acclaim for her compositions for postmodern and experimental dance, and for wind ensemble.
 
In 2007, acclaimed conductor JoAnn Falletta premiered Ms. Vehar’s City of Light Concerto for clarinet & orchestra with Principal Clarinetist John Fullam and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. This work is featured on her City of Light CD with Mr. Fullam, the BPO, and Ms. Vehar as pianist. Recordings of Ms. Vehar’s works also include Light/Lux/Svietlo (Czech Radio Philharmonic Orchestra), and Musical Landscapes For Trumpet (Buffalo Philharmonic, principal trumpet, David Kuehn, and Ms. Vehar as pianist). Upcoming CDs include From the Mountain Top, with works for trumpet and organ. Recordings of her music may be heard on the Fleur de Son Classics, Ltd., MMC, Aeolian, Loft, Capstone, and Mark labels.
 
Vehar is currently in her 13th year as Composer-in-Residence at Canisius College, and regularly makes presentations at such colleges and universities as State University of New York Colleges at Fredonia, Buffalo and Potsdam, Pittsburg State University (Kansas), Austin-Peay State University (Tennessee), Wake Forest University (North Carolina), and the Eastman School of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Theory from Ithaca College and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan, and had three years’ post-graduate study in New York City. Her private composition studies were with Warren Benson, Ross Lee Finney, Roberto Gerhard and Ned Rorem. She had additional advanced composition workshops with Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Leon Kirchner, Roger Sessions and Jacob Druckman.
 
Persis Vehar, John Fullam and JoAnn Falletta
Persis Vehar, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Clarinetist John Fullam, & Conductor JoAnn Falletta at the premiere of Vehar’s City Of Light Concerto
At the premiere of her opera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Curtis Tucker, Director of the Opera Saratoga, Persis Vehar, and John Douglas, Music Director
Persis Vehar and Metropolitan Opera Bass Valerian Ruminski rehearsing for their performance of her songs at the Abiquiu Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico