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Mark Kilstofte

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Mark Kilstofte

Biography

Mark Kilstofte (b. 1958) is an American composer, singer and educator.

An experienced performer and conductor, Kilstofte is one of relatively few composers also trained as a singer. He studied at St. Olaf College and the University of Michigan where he was a Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellow and assistant conductor of the new music ensemble, Contemporary Directions.

Mark Kilstofte is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, strong, dramatic gesture and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as “exciting and beautiful, consistently gripping,” his music has garnered a growing number of awards and honors including the Rome Prize, ASCAP’s Rudolf Nissim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also winner of the Dale Warland Singers Choral Ventures competition and a recent Fromm Foundation commission recipient. MacDowell has awarded him its Gardner Read Fellowship and Francis & William Schuman Fellowship.

His symphonic, chamber and choral compositions have been featured by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Bowling Green Philharmonic, USC Thornton Wind Ensemble, University of Michigan Symphony Band, Nanset Wind Orchestra, eighth blackbird, Alea III, Yantai International Wind Art Festival (China), World Saxophone Congress (Spain), International Festival of Brass (Italy), World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (Sweden), and Coups de Vents (France), among many others.

Kilstofte’s compositional style reflects his interest in everything from Gesualdo to Jethro Tull. His is no postmodern riff, but is emblematic of a genuine affection for and humility towards the music of earlier eras reconciled with a highly original creative impulse. Combined with his innovative approach to form (he is the son of a structural engineer) the result is a music of tremendous integrity and clarity which can be humorous one moment, achingly beautiful the next.

Dr. Kilstofte is currently [2021] associate professor of theory and composition at Furman University, a private liberal arts college in Greenville, South Carolina.


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