Christopher Theofanidis

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Christopher Theofanidis (born December 18, 1967, in Dallas, Texas) is an American composer whose works have been performed by leading orchestras from around the world, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, the National, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, and many others. He participated in the Young American Composer-in-Residence Program with Barry Jekowsky and the California Symphony from 1994 to 1996 and, more recently, served as Composer of the Year for the Pittsburgh Symphony during their 2006–2007 Season, for which he wrote a violin concerto for Sarah Chang.[1]


Theofanidis holds degrees from Yale University, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Houston, and has been the recipient of the International Masterprize (hosted at the Barbican Centre in London),[2][3] the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, six ASCAP Gould Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, a Tanglewood Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Charles Ives Fellowship. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for best composition for his chorus and orchestra work, The Here and Now, based on the poetry of Rumi.[4]

Theofanidis has recently[when?] written a ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, a work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as part of their "New Brandenburg" series, and he currently[when?] has two opera commissions for the San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera companies. He has a long-standing relationship with the Atlanta Symphony, and has just[when?] had his first symphony premiered and recorded with that orchestra. He has served as a delegate to the U.S.–Japan Foundation's Leadership Program and is a former faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School. He currently[when?] teaches at the Yale School of Music.[5]


Selected compositions[edit]

Genre Date Title Instrumentation Notes
Chamber music 1992 Raga for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and 2 percussion written for the Eastman Musica Nova
Piano 1992 Statues for piano
Chamber music 1994 Kaoru for 2 flutes written for Kaoru Hinata and Christopher Vaneman
Concertante 1995 Concerto for alto saxophone and orchestra
Orchestral 1995 This Dream, Strange and Moving for orchestra
Chamber music 1995 Ariel Ascending for string quartet
Orchestral 1996 Metaphysica for orchestra
Orchestral 1996 As Dancing Is to Architecture for orchestra commissioned by the California Symphony
Chamber music 1997 Visions and Miracles for string quartet
Chamber music 1997 Flow, My Tears for violin, viola, or cello solo written for Carol Rodland in memory of Jacob Druckman
Orchestral 1998 Flourishes for orchestra
Vocal 1999 Song of Elos for soprano, string quartet and piano
Chamber music 1999 O Vis Aeternitatis for string quartet and piano commissioned by the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival for Speculum Musicae
Orchestral 2000 Rainbow Body for orchestra
Concertante 1997–2002 Concerto for bassoon and chamber orchestra commissioned by the Absolute Ensemble for Martin Kuuskmann
Opera 2001 The Cows of Apollo or The Invention of Music
Orchestral 2002 Peace, Love, Light YOUMEONE for string orchestra
Opera 2002 The Thirteen Clocks in 2 acts; libretto by Peter Webster based on the story by James Thurber
Ballet 2003 Artemis
Concertante 2002 Concerto
  1. Black Dancer, Black Thunder
  2. In the Questioning (a.k.a. Sorrow)
  3. The Center of the Sky
  4. Lightning, with Life, in Four Colors Comes Down
for viola and chamber orchestra commissioned by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra for Kim Kashkashian
Band 2005 I Wander the World in a Dream of My Own Making for wind ensemble
Choral 2005 The Here and Now for soloists, chorus, and orchestra commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus
Chamber music 2006 The World Is Aflame for violin and cello
Concertante 2006 Concerto [No. 1] for piano and chamber orchestra commissioned by Pro Musica Columbus for Donald Berman
Piano 2007 All Dreams Begin with the Horizon for piano commissioned by Meet the Composer for Tanya Bannister
Choral 2007 The Refuge for soloists, chorus, orchestra, and several non-Western ensembles
Orchestral 2007 Muse for strings and harpsichord commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Chamber music 2008, 2009 Fantasy for violin and piano chamber version of movement II of the Violin Concerto
Concertante 2008 Concerto for violin and orchestra commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony for Sarah Chang
Chamber music 2009 Summer Verses for violin and cello
Orchestral 2009 Symphony No. 1 for orchestra commissioned by Robert Spano for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra[7]
Concertante 2009 Concerto for cello and orchestra commissioned by and written for Nina Kotova[8]
Orchestral 2010 Une Certaine joie de vivre for orchestra
Opera 2011 Heart of a Soldier for San Francisco Opera
Chamber music 2012 Allegory of the Cave for string quartet and piano
Piano 2012 Birichino (Italian: prankster) for piano 7 minutes long
commissioned by the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for the 12 semifinal round performers; released on March 15, 2013[9]
Concertante 2013 Concerto for marimba and wind sinfonietta
Chamber music 2013 Quasi una Fantasia for 2 clarinets and string quartet (or string orchestra)
Orchestral 2013 The Wind and Petit Jean for orchestra
Choral 2013 The Gift for tenor, chorus, and orchestra commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Chamber music 2013 At the Still Point for piano quintet
Chamber music 2014 Artemis for horn, string quintet, and keyboard
Chamber music 2014 Five for string quartet
Orchestral 2014 The Legend of the Northern Lights for narrator, child actor and orchestra (with film)
Choral 2015 Creation/Creator for soloists, chorus, and orchestra commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra[10][11]
Orchestral 2015 Dreamtime Ancestors for orchestra [12]
Orchestral 2015 Making Up for Lost Time for orchestra
Orchestral 2015 A Thousand Cranes for string orchestra and harp
Chamber music 2016 Airs and Dances for 2 oboes, English horn, 2 bassoons, and percussionist
Choral 2016 Four Levertov Settings for chorus and solo violin words by Denise Levertov
Orchestral 2016 Summer Music for orchestra Commissioned by the Williamsport Symphony for their 50th anniversary
Chamber music 2017 The Conference of the Birds for string quartet
Chamber music 2017 Four Dreams for string quartet commissioned by Apollo Chamber Players[13]
Orchestral 2017 The Game for orchestra Commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Chamber music 2017 Lakshmi and the Seed of Divine Desire for flute and piano
Chamber music 2017 One Thing at a Time, 6 Etude Miniatures for flute solo
Chamber music 2017 What Is the Word? for string quartet and electronics co-written with Mark Wingate; commissioned by the Apollo Chamber Players; words by Samuel Beckett
Concertante 2018 Concerto No. 2 for piano and string orchestra, harp, percussion
Chamber music 2019 Discipline and Transcendence for violin solo written for the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition 2020
Concertante 2019 Drum Circles for percussion quartet and orchestra
Band 2019 Off the Clock for concert band
Chamber music 2019 Quintet for clarinet and string quartet
Orchestral 2020 On the Bridge of the Eternal for orchestra Written for the University of Colorado Boulder centennial


  1. ^ "Christopher Theofanidis". Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Druckenbrod, Andrew (February 15, 2007). "Concert Preview: Theofanidis' 'Rainbow Body' is a hit with orchestras". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Sheridan, Molly (November 1, 2010). "Christopher Theofanidis: Wider Than a Concept, Deeper Than a Sound". NewMusicBox. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  4. ^ "Christopher Theofanidis". November 23, 2020.
  5. ^ "Christopher Theofanidis | YellowBarn". Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "Chris Theofanidis - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  7. ^ Kosman, Joshua (July 3, 2011). "CD review: Christopher Theofanidis, 'Symphony No. 1'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Dallas Symphony[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "TheaterJones, June 1, 2013: A Prankster on the Piano Keys". Archived from the original on June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  10. ^ Young, Andrew (April 23, 2015). "Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premieres Creation/Creator: A piece by Christopher Theofanidis explores mankind's genesis". Atlanta. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  11. ^ Gresham, Mark (April 25, 2015). "Review: World premiere of Theofanidis' oratorio shows ASO, Spano at the peak of power". ArtsATL. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  12. ^ Knox, Robert (September 24, 2015). "Plymouth orchestra celebrates a century of music with a world premiere". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  13. ^ "20 new folk music-inspired works by 2020". Apollo Chamber Players. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2017.

External links[edit]