Kurt Rohde_Jeanette Yu-Color adjusted
Kurt Rohde, photo by Jeanette Yu.

The music of composer and violist Kurt Rohde has been described as being “filled with exhilaration and dread. It’s a mirror of our times, It’s dark music, lit up by peckings, clackings, snaps and slides. It sounds eerie, but lyrical; sustained, but skittish; free-form, yet dancing.” (San Jose Mercury News, Richard Scheinin.)

Violist and composer Kurt Rohde is a recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lydian String Quartet Commission Prize, and a 2015 Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received commission awards from New Music USA – Commissioning Music/USA, the NEA, and the Barlow, Fromm, Hanson, and Koussevitzky Foundations. Mr. Rohde recently completed new works for the ZOFO Duet, the Lydian String Quartet, eighth blackbird, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Scharoun Ensemble, pianist Genevieve Lee, and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. His recently completed opera, Death With Interruptions, based on the novel by José Saramago, was premiered in March 2015 by soprano Nikki Einfeld, tenor Joe Dan Harper, baritone Daniel Cilli, the San Francisco-based chorus Volti, conductor Matilda Hofman and the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Kurt is currently working on a two additional opera projects: one with writer Dana Spiotta and artist David Humphrey, another with poet Paul Mann and the Eclipse Quartet. Mr. Rohde is also collaborating with artist/filmmaker Shelley Jordon on a new project following their highly successful and recently completed installation work [Lost] In The Woods. His 2012 CD, ONE – chamber music of Kurt Rohde, was released by Innova Recordings, and his 2005 CD, Oculus – music for strings with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, was released on the Mondovibe label.

Kurt was in residence at Copland House in the Summer 2014. Beginning in the Fall 2015, several new works of his will be premiered: a pick-pocket cello concerto commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition for cellist Michelle Kesler, a new string quartet for the LA-based Lyris String Quartet, a solo work for cellist Rhonda Rider, an ensemble piece for NY-based ensemble mise-en, and a new work for pianist Genevieve Lee for speaker, toy piano and harpsichord commissioned by the Fromm Foundation. In Summer 2015, Kurt will be composer in residence at the Bennington Chamber Music Conference in Vermont and the Cappadocia Music Festival in Turkey, and will be the Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Festival of New American Music at Sacramento State University.

A Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the University of California at Davis Department of Music, where he is co-director of the Empyrean Ensemble, Kurt is a violist with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and was a member of The New Century Chamber Orchestra between 1994-2014. Mr. Rohde was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2012–13. Mr. Rohde is a graduate of the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, the Curtis Institute of Music and SUNY Stony Brook, and has attended the Montalvo, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Kurt Rohde lives in San Francisco with his partner Timothy Allen and their labradoodle Ripley.