Discipline: Music Composition

Jerome Kitzke

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2020

Greetings! I was born in Milwaukee in 1955 and have lived in New York since 1984. My music arises from the North American landscape and celebrates vitality in its purest forms, thriving on the spirit of driving jazz, Plains Indian song, and Beat Generation poetry, where freedom and ritual converge. It is direct, dramatic, and visceral, always with an ear to the sacred ground. Often political and always topical, my music aims at revealing the heart of what it means to be an American early in the 21st Century, especially as it relates to how we live on this land and the way we came to live on it.

I delight in working with language to tell stories or give a point of view, and love working with musicians who are willing to produce vocal sounds as supplements to the usual sounds of their instruments.

My pieces have been written for instrumentations ranging from solo toy piano up to large orchestral choral and have been played around the world, reaching places as far flung from North America as Australia and China.

When last at MacDowell in 2020 I completed a large commission for NakedEye Ensemble called I Am Waiting, an anti-Trump piece using Lawrence Ferlinghetti poems that was to be premiered in May of 2020. Due to COVID-19, the premiere was postponed and will be rescheduled once a vaccine is in general use and things are back to some semblance of normal. Goodness gracious!

Portrait by Molly Sheridan/New Music USA



Jerome Kitzke 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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