Paul Dresher is an internationally active composer noted for his ability to integrate diverse musical influences into his own coherent and unique personal style. He is pursuing many forms of musical expression including experimental opera and music theater, chamber and orchestral composition, live instrumental electro-acoustic chamber music performances, musical instrument invention and scores for theater, dance, and film.
He has received commissions from the Library of Congress, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Spoleto Festival USA, the Kronos Quartet, the San Francisco Symphony, California EAR Unit, Zeitgeist, Walker Arts Center, University of Iowa, Meet the Composer, and the American Music Theater Festival. He has performed or had his works performed throughout North America, Asia and Europe. Venues have included the Munich State Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Festival d'Automne in Paris, the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival, the Minnesota Opera, Arts Summit Indonesia '95, Festival Interlink in Japan, and five New Music America Festivals. His evening-length collaboration with choreographer Margaret Jenkins, THE GATES, premiered at Jacob's Pillow and opened the 1994 Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center. In addition to his many collaborations with Margaret Jenkins, Dresher has also worked extensively with many choreographers including Brenda Way/ODC San Francisco, Nancy Karp & Dancers, Wendy Rogers Dance Company, and Allyson Green Dance.
Upcoming projects include a song cycle for tenor John Duykers, commissioned by the Seattle Chamber players to premiere in May of 2005 and a Gerbode Commission from the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, which will premiere in March of 2005.
His most recently-completed projects include Snow in June, a collaboration with playwright Charles Mee and director Chen Shi-Zheng, commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre, a collaboration with former Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud on his cello concerto Unequal Distemperament and the music theater work Sound Stage, for which Dresher designed and constructed a stage full of large-scale invented musical instruments.
In 1993, Dresher premiered his Electro-Acoustic Band on a five-city tour of Japan as part of Festival Interlink. This ensemble performs the works of a broad range of contemporary composers utilizing a hybrid orchestration that combines both acoustic and electronic instrumentation. The Ensemble regularly tours the U.S. and has traveled to Europe and Indonesia. The Ensemble has also premiered the music for dance and theater collaborations with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, ODC San Francisco, and the John Adams/June Jordan/Peter Sellars production "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky."
As Artistic Director of the Paul Dresher Ensemble, he has guided the creation of the "American Trilogy", a set of experimental Operatic works that address different facets of American culture, in collaboration with writer/performer Rinde Eckert. The trilogy began with SLOW FIRE (1985-88), developed with POWER FAILURE (1988-89) and was completed in 1990 with PIONEER, a collaboration that includes visual artist Terry Allen, actress Jo Harvey Allen, tenor John Duykers and director Robert Woodruff.
Born in Los Angeles in 1951, Dresher received his BA in Music from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. in Composition from U.C. San Diego where he studied with Robert Erickson, Roger Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros and Bernard Rands. He has had a long time interest in the music of Asia and Africa, studying Ghanaian drumming with C.K. and Kobla Ladzekpo, Hindustani classical music with Nikhil Banerjee as well as Balinese and Javanese music. Recordings of his works are available on the Lovely Music, New World (with Ned Rothenberg), CRI, Music and Arts, O.O. Discs, BMG/Catalyst, MinMax, Starkland and New Albion labels.
Mr. Dresher has served as a panelist for many state and national arts agencies including co-chairing the Composers Fellowship Panel for the Music Program at the NEA. He has also served on the Policy Overview panels for the Presenting and Commissioning and Advancement Programs at the NEA. He has served on panels for the Rockefeller Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, California Arts Council, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Arts International, Massachusetts Arts Council, and Meet The Composer. He was on the Board of Directors for the American Music Center from 1994 through 2000 and has been on the Board of Directors and the Music Curator for New Langton Arts, a multidisciplinary presenter in San Francisco since 1982.
Paul Dresher's website is located at http://www.dresherensemble.org/.
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