Professor of CompositionDepartment:
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David Liptak was born in 1949 in Pittsburgh. His music has been described as “luminous and arresting,” “richly atmospheric,” and having “transparent textures, incisive rhythms, shimmering lightness.” His compositions have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Youngstown Symphony, the Sinfonia da Camera of Illinois, the New England Philharmonic, the National Orchestral Association, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Group for Contemporary Music, EARPLAY, the Ying and Cassatt String Quartets, the Dinosaur Annex Ensemble, the New York New Music Ensemble, the 20th-Century Consort, and by many other soloists and ensembles.
Among his music found on recordings is Rhapsodies, commissioned for the Syracuse Society for New Music by the Meet the Composer/Readers Digest Consortium Commissioning Program, on the Innova CD American Masters of the 21st Century. Other recordings include two from Albany Records featuring music written for violinist Catherine Tait, and, with musicians from the Eastman School of Music in collaboration with those from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, his chamber piece Giovine vagha, i’ non senti. His music is also found recorded on Bridge Records, including a recording of his Forlane by guitarist David Starobin. A second Bridge recording from 2005 is entirely Liptak’s music, and includes recordings of his Ancient Songs, with baritone William Sharp and the Dinosaur Annex Ensemble, Serenade, with saxophone soloist Chen-Kwan Lin and a string ensemble conducted by Brad Lubman, and Broken Cries, with the Tarab Cello Ensemble. Ice Flowers, for violin and koto, appears on a Centaur recording featuring the duo “vio-LINK-oto.” In 1994, he received a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation for a trumpet concerto for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, which was premiered in 1996 with soloist Paul Merkelo. Among his recent work is Concerto for Viola and Percussion for violist John Graham; Quintet for Piano and String Quartet, which was premiered by the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble in Ithaca in 2006; Cold Litanies, a trio for flute, cello, and piano that was written for and premiered by Trio Xia; Sonata for Cello and Piano, written for cellist Steven Doane; and his String Quartet No. 2, written for the Cassatt Quartet and premiered by the ensemble in Philadelphia in 2003. His Folgore’s Months, a setting of 14th-century sonnets by the Italian poet Folgore da San Gimignano for soprano and wind ensemble, was premiered in 2009 by Mark Scatterday and the Eastman Wind Ensemble with soprano Tony Arnold.
In 1995 David Liptak was awarded the Elise L. Stoeger Prize, given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of distinguished achievement in the field of chamber music composition. His composition prizes include the 1986 Georges Enesco International Composition Competition and the 1978 Minnesota Orchestra 75th Anniversary Composers Competition; and he was a finalist in the 1982 St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition, the 1989 Sudler International Competition for Wind Ensemble Composition, and the 2008 Sackler Composition Competition. Other distinctions include awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, both in 2002; he has also received the 2006 Lillian Fairchild Award. His music is published by Keiser Classical, Alfred Music – Donald Hunsberger Wind Ensemble Library, and others.
A dedicated teacher of composition students for the past three decades, David Liptak is Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he has taught since 1986. He makes his home in Rochester with his wife, violinist Pia Liptak.