Discipline: Music Composition

Christopher Zuar

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2017, 2022

A native of Long Island, NY, composer and arranger Christopher Zuar has been establishing himself as a prominent voice in the NYC music community. He is the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, including the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award (5x 2012-17), The New York Youth Symphony First Music Commissioning Prize (2011, 2012, 2015), and the 2016 ASCAP Foundation Johnny Mandel Prize.

In 2016, Zuar released his debut recording, Musings, on the Sunnyside label. The record has gone on to receive critical acclaim, including a spot-on DownBeat Magazine’s Best Albums of 2016, and runner-up for Debut of The Year in the 2016 NPR Jazz Critics Poll.

He is currently finishing a 70-minute work for jazz orchestra and watercolor animation, in collaboration with animation artist Anne Beal, called Tonal Conversations.

At MacDowell in 2017, Zuar worked on compositions and arrangements for jazz saxophonist David Liebman and NYC based chamber ensemble "this, now." He also completed two new compositions for jazz orchestra. In 2022, he worked on a composition for the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra in fulfillment of the 7th annual ASCAP Foundation/SJO Commissioning Prize. The work will receive its premiere in the spring of 2023. In addition, Christopher composed a short piece for solo piano.



Christopher Zuar worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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