Ted Hearne

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Ted Hearne
Birth nameEdward Hearne
Born1982 (age 40–41)
Chicago, Illinois
GenresContemporary classical, Avant-garde music, Experimental
Occupation(s)Composer, Conductor, Vocalist
Years active2000–present
LabelsNew Amsterdam Records, New Focus Recordings

Ted Hearne (born 1982) is an American composer, singer and conductor. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.[1]


Ted Hearne was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where he was a member of the Chicago Children's Choir and graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. He moved to New York in 2000 and has attended the Manhattan School of Music and Yale School of Music. Hearne's oratorio “Katrina Ballads”, an hour-long work about the media’s response to Hurricane Katrina received widespread acclaim after it was premiered at Charleston's Spoleto Festival in 2007.[2][3][4] His oratorio The Source, about Chelsea Manning, sets text from leaked military documents and was premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[5] His third oratorio Place, written in collaboration with Saul Williams and the director Patricia McGregor, was premiered digitally in 2020 as Place: Quarantine Edition.[6] The album version of Place was also released in 2020 and was nominated for 2 GRAMMY awards.[7]

Hearne has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, A Far Cry, pianist Timo Andres, singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane and other musicians. Hearne has become known for writing in a wide range of contemporary-music styles, and has collaborated with a diverse group of musicians, most notably Erykah Badu, with whom he created an evening-length piece for Badu to perform with the Brooklyn Philharmonic,[8] J.G. Thirlwell, with whom he created chamber-music arrangements of Thirlwell's electronic project Manorexia,[9] and electronic/noise musician Philip White, whom with he performs as R We Who R We.[10] Hearne has also worked with jazz musician Rene Marie, poet Dorothea Lasky, the JACK Quartet, harpist/composer Zeena Parkins[11] and conductor Alan Pierson,[12] and his music has been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), (Le) Poisson Rouge, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, and Carnegie Hall.[13]

Hearne is the recipient of the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize in Music Composition,[14] and the 2014 New Voices Residency from publisher Boosey and Hawkes and the San Francisco Symphony.[15] In 2018 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in music.[16] He is currently on the Composition faculty at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Concert works[edit]

Hearne's music is known for juxtaposing diverse styles,[17] and for its often overtly political content.[18] The New York Times has noted Hearne for his “topical, politically sharp-edged works,” [15] and has called his compositional style “nuanced, elliptical and elusive.” [19]

Performer and conductor[edit]

Hearne has performed as a vocalist in several of his own projects, including Katrina Ballads and R WE WHO R WE, and has also performed in works by other contemporary composers. He played the role of Justin Timberlake in Jacob Cooper's opera Timberbrit,[20] and performed at the Ecstatic Music Festival as part of Timo Andres’s Work Songs.[21] Time Out Chicago has called Hearne a “vocal hellion.”[10] He is known for his extreme range and for mixing vocal techniques from different styles, including abrupt register changes, rapid speaking, screaming, rapping, falsetto and crooning.

Hearne is an active conductor of contemporary music. He has worked as a conductor with many ensembles in New York, including the Red Light Ensemble, Bang on a Can, Wet Ink Ensemble, Ne(x)tworks and the International Contemporary Ensemble.[11][22][23]



  • 2010 – Katrina Ballads (New Amsterdam)
  • 2010 – J. G. Thirwell: Manorexia: 'The Mesopelagic Wars' (Tzadik)[30]
  • 2013 – R WE WHO R WE (New Focus) with Philip White[31]
  • 2014 – The Law of Mosaics (Crier) with Andrew Norman and Far Cry[32]
  • 2015 – The Source (New Amsterdam)[33]
  • 2016 – Outlanders (New Amsterdam)[34]
  • 2017 – Sound from the Bench (Cantaloupe Music)[35]
  • 2019 – Hazy Heart Pump (New Focus)[36]
  • 2020 – Place (New Amsterdam)[37]


  1. ^ "Ted Hearne". Philipedia. LA Phil. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  2. ^ Rosenblum, Charles (June 2, 2007). "A Deeply Moving Tribute". Charleston Post and Courier.
  3. ^ Kozinn, Allan (August 27, 2010). "A Flood of Songs Washing Over a City". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Midgette, Anne (December 17, 2010). "The Top 10 Classical Albums of 2010". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  5. ^ Ramey, Corinne (October 21, 2014). "WikiLeaks Inspires an Operatic Source at Brooklyn Academy of Music". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Place: Quarantine Edition". Vimeo. June 7, 2020.
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (November 24, 2020). "Grammy Awards Nominations 2021: The Complete List". Variety.
  8. ^ Stewart, Henry (June 10, 2013). "Erykah Badu, Serious Composer?". L Magazine. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "Manorexia Live". Venture Bros Blog. January 1, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Armbrust, Doyle (February 7, 2013). "Noise artists pervert pop music". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Woolfe, Zachary (September 11, 2012). "Where words are the notes". New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  12. ^ Ratliff, Ben (June 9, 2013). "Minimalist and Rich, in the Space between Funk and Classical". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  13. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (April 12, 2011). "Turning 150, but Youthful as Ever". New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ted Hearne wins Gaudeamus Prize". NewMusicBox. September 14, 2009.
  15. ^ a b Kozinn, Allan (April 7, 2014). "Ted Hearne awarded New Voices Residency for composers". New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "2018 Pulitzer Prizes".
  17. ^ Berger, Kevin (April 14, 2013). "Brooklyn festival samples new classical music of the borough". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  18. ^ Walls, Seth Colter (May 22, 2013). "Summer Music Guide: Erykah Badu and the Brooklyn Phil Team Up". The Village Voice.
  19. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (October 24, 2014). "Shadowed, Clamoring, Blurry. And With Reason". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Johnson, Daniel (April 28, 2012). "Jacob Cooper Finds Grace in Diaphanous Slow Motion". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  21. ^ Robson, Britt (March 18, 2014). "Timo Andres goes for the beauty". Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  22. ^ Kozinn, Allan (September 21, 2010). "Green Light for Experimentalism: Tweaking Conventions and Bending Rules". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  23. ^ Kozinn, Allan (December 10, 2008). "Reclaiming a Poet: Old Words, New Music". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Jubileum".
  25. ^ "The Charles Ives Awards". American Academy of Arts and Letters. Archived from the original on January 31, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  26. ^ "The 2012 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards". ASCAP. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  27. ^ "The 2009 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards". ASCAP. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  28. ^ "2013 MUSIC ALIVE RESIDENCY AWARDEES". New Music USA. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  29. ^ Kozinn, Allan (April 7, 2014). "Ted Hearne Awarded New Voices Residency for Composers". ArtsBeat. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  30. ^ "Manorexia discography". Foetus. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  31. ^ "catalog". New Focus Recordings. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  32. ^ "catalog". Crier Records. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  33. ^ "Ted Hearne "The Source"". New Amsterdam Records. October 16, 2018.
  34. ^ "Ted Hearne "Outlanders"". New Amsterdam Records. January 15, 2016.
  35. ^ "Ted Hearne "Sound from the Bench"". Cantaloupe Music. February 13, 2017.
  36. ^ "Ted Hearne "Hazy Heart Pump"". New Focus Recordings.
  37. ^ "Ted Hearne "Place"". New Amsterdam Records. January 11, 2021.

External links[edit]