Lewis Spratlan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music, 2000, is a widely performed and much honored composer. A native of Miami, he studied with Mel Powell and Gunther Schuller at Yale and has taught and conducted at Tanglewood, The Yale Summer School of Music and Art, and Amherst College, where he has been on the faculty since 1970. His music has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami, London, Moscow, Montreal, Toronto, and, perhaps, most significantly, Boston, where he has received commissions and premieres from the Boston Musica Viva, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, soprano Karol Bennett, and pianist John McDonald. Other New England-based ensembles, including the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Lydian String Quartet, the Windsor Quartet, and Ancora have performed his works as well.
He is the recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and MacDowell Fellowships. His opera Life is a Dream (G. Schirmer) won a top prize in the Rockefeller Foundation-New England Conservatory Opera Competition and Apollo and Daphne Variations won the New England Composers Orchestra Competition for readings of new works.
In October 1989, Mr. Spratlan toured widely in Russia and Armenia as a guest of the Soviet Composers' Union. Toccapsody, for solo piano, and Apollo and Daphne Variations were premiered on this tour and Penelope's Knees was presented in Moscow's Rachmaninoff Hall under Emin Khatchatourian.
Recent projects include the world premiere of In Memoriam, for five soloists, double chorus, and orchestra, a work honoring the victims of conquest, focusing on the Mayans and their lineage; the release of a CD of Night Music, for violin, clarinet, and percussion; the American premiere and two additional performances of Apollo and Daphne Variations by the Florida Orchestra under Jahja Ling; a commission from the Mohawk Trail Concerts for a setting of Richard Wilbur's A Barred Owl, for baritone Jan Opalach; the premiere of Concertino, for violin and chamber ensemble with violinist Veronica Macchia-Kadlubkiewicz as soloist; the premiere of Psalm 42, commissioned by soprano Judith Jones-Gale; and the premiere at the Knitting Factory of Vocalise with Duck, commissioned by the New York ensemble Sequitur, featuring soprano Dora Ohrenstein.
Mr. Spratlan's Pulitzer-Prize-winning opera Life is a Dream (Act II, concert version) was premiered on January 28 and 30, 2000 in Amherst and Cambridge, Massachusetts, by the Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble under the direction of J. David Jackson. Leading the cast were Metropolitan Opera artists John Cheek and Allan Glassman and soprano Christina Bouras of the New York City Opera. Sojourner for ten players, commissioned by the Koussevitzsky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, was also premiered on this occasion.
Premieres and performances in 2001 and 2002 have included the February 2001 New York premiere of When Crows Gather in Merkin Hall by Sequitur; the world premiere and an additional performance in Massachusetts of Mayflies, for soprano and four flutes (poetry by Richard Wilbur), and performances of Hung Monophonies, in March 2001, by the Left Coast Ensemble in San Francisco. Also in March 2001, Mr. Spratlan was in residence at the Indiana University School of Music, where Sojourner, When Crows Gather, and Mayflies were performed. Of Time and the Seasons (Seven Songs on Finnish Texts), commissioned by soprano Lucy Shelton and the Boston Musica Viva, received its world premiere in Boston in October 2001, and Life is a Dream (Act II) receives its New York premiere on New York City Opera's series "Showcasing American Composers" in May 2002.
Lewis Spratlan's works are recorded on the Opus One and Gasparo Labels. Vocalise with Duck will be released by CRI in 2002 and Sequitur will release an "All-Spratlan" CD in 2003. Mr. Spratlan is currently developing a chamber opera with librettist Constance Congdon for the San Francisco Opera, which is tentatively scheduled to premiere in spring 2004.