Composers Festival spotlight: Andrew McManus

A native of Massachusetts, 2015 MICF resident composer Andrew McManus currently lives in Chicago, where he earned his PhD at the University of Chicago, studying with Marta Ptaszynska, Augusta Read Thomas, Shulamit Ran and Howard Sandroff. He also holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University.

The work McManus has composed for Alarm Will Sound to play at the festival is called “embers, fused to ash,” and you can read some of his thoughts about it and see a bit of the score here.

McManus’ acoustic works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, eighth blackbird, Pacifica Quartet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, Minnesota Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program. His electronic works have been presented at the University of South Florida and the Aries Composers Festival in Fort Collins, CO.

Notable performances include the premiere of his orchestral work “Strobe” in June 2014 by the New York Philharmonic, which was called “riveting” and “breathless…surging…hazy… sometimes all at once” by the New York Times. And in May 2014 his opera “Killing the Goat,” based on the novel La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat) by Mario Vargas Llosa, was premiered by eighth blackbird, the Pacifica Quartet, and members of the Contempo Chamber Players at the University of Chicago.

McManus’ electronic work “Mesospherics” (2011-2013) was featured at the University of South Florida New Music Festival, and other compositions of his have been performed at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.

For more about Andrew McManus, read this interview with him, done in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s Arts, Science and Culture Initiative. You can hear samples of Andrew McManus’ music in the embedded Vimeo and SoundCloud players below.

“Killing the Goat,” a chamber opera recorded May 16, 2014 at Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Performed by the Contempo Chamber Players of the University of Chicago; Julia Bentley, mezzo soprano; Chad Sloan, baritone; Ricardo Rivera, baritone; eighth blackbird; the Pacifica Quartet; and Jesse Langen, guitar; conducted by Cliff Colnot.