Christopher Stark (b. 1980) is a composer of contemporary classical music deeply rooted in the American West. Having spent his formative years in rural western Montana, his music is always seeking to capture the expansive energy of this quintessential American landscape.
Described as “fetching and colorful,” (New York Times) Stark’s music has been performed in concert venues around the world from the Neue Synagoge Berlin to Carnegie Hall. A recipient of the coveted Underwood Commission from the American Composers Orchestra, and recent winner of the prix de composition from the Orléans International Piano Competition, his music has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and was broadcast as a fan-voted favorite on WQXR, New York City’s classical music station.
Stark has been programmed, rehearsed, and performed by such ensembles as the Sacramento Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Dinosaur Annex, University of Texas Wind Ensemble, CCM Wind Symphony, Israeli Chamber Project, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Momenta Quartet, and members of eighth blackbird. Most recently, Stark was awarded a Fromm Foundation Commission and was one of three winners of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings Commission Project. He also worked with Grammy-winning country music artists, Zac Brown Band, on an arrangement of their hit songFree for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
In 2010, Stark was awarded an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and placed first in the Utah Arts Festival's annual orchestral composition competition. He is a past winner of the Cincinnati Conservatory's Orchestral Composition Competition and was also a regional winner of the 2011 SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Competition. Stark has also received honorable mentions from the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize and the Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year Award. Festivals and courses Stark has attended include: SONiC: Sounds of a New Century, Aspen Music Festival Composition Master Class, American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, Buffalo Philharmonic Young Composer Forum, Dinosaur Annex Young Composer Festival, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Music09 and Music10 Festivals in Switzerland, FUBiS Summer Composition Course in Berlin, Music06 Festival in Cincinnati, and the Oregon Bach Festival.
Stark recently finished his doctorate at Cornell University where he studied with Roberto Sierra and Steven Stucky. He previously studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory, the University of Montana, and abroad in Europe with composers Samuel Adler, Michael Fiday, David Maslanka, and Charles Nichols. Stark was recently a visiting professor of composition, theory, and music technology at Cornell and the University of Montana, and in the fall of 2014 he will begin a post as Assistant Professor of Composition at Washington University in St. Louis. Stark was a resident artist in Italy at Civitella Ranieri in 2012.
Works for Winds