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Mark Kilstofte

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Mark Kilstofte


Mark Kilstofte (b. 1958) 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, the Aaron Copland Award, MacDowell Colony’s Francis and William Schuman Fellowship, and the Composers’ Award for String Quartet. He is also winner of the Dale Warland Singers Choral Ventures competition and a recent Fromm Foundation commission recipient.

His symphonic, chamber and choral compositions have been featured by the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Bowling Green Philharmonic, Thornton Wind Ensemble, University of Michigan Symphony Band, Orchestre des Gardiens de la Paix, Nanset Wind Orchestra, eighth blackbird, Alea III, Brave New Works, Contemporary Directions Ensemble, NODUS, ModernWorks!, Ambassador Duo, Bernini String Quartet, Montclaire String Quartet, Roma Brass Quintet, Aurora Brass Quintet, Dale Warland Singers, San Francisco Choral Artists, Boston Choral Ensemble, Lutheran Choir of Chicago, Amadeus Choir, Greenville Chorale and GAMAC at such venues as the Yantai International Wind Art Festival (China), World Saxophone Congress (Spain), International Festival of Brass (Italy), World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (Sweden), Coups de Vents (France), Festival di Nuova Consonanza (Italy), Violoncello 2005 (Belgium), International Double Reed Society (Ithaca), Bowling Green Festival of New Music and Art, June in Buffalo and Gunther Schuller’s Festival at Sandpoint.

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.

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. He is currently associate professor of theory and composition at Furman University, a private liberal arts college in Greenville, South Carolina. His music is published by the Newmatic Press.

Works for Winds