Discipline: Music Composition

Kurt Rohde

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: San Francisco, CA
MacDowell Fellowships: 1996, 2018

Musician Kurt Rohde composes and plays viola. A native New Yorker, he has lived in San Francisco since 1992 where he plays viola and is artistic advisor with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Rohde has received the Rome & Berlin Prizes, fellowships from the Radcliffe-Harvard Institute for Advanced Study and Guggenheim Foundation, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow, Fromm, Hanson, and Koussevitzky Foundations. Kurt is professor of music composition at UC Davis.

While in residence in 2018, he composed a new work for the New York City-based new music ensemble Ensemble Échappé. The work is a large scale "concerto grosso" for the full ensemble. The design of the piece will feature analogs connected with the 17th century concerto grosso tradition, while allowing for significant deviation. Rohde envisions using theatrical and non-musical performance elements, combined with the spatial distribution of the performers throughout the performance space. This work will continue Rohde's recent fascination with rememory in music. In essence, the piece will act as if remembering the memory of something heard as opposed to remembering what "happened."

Portrait by Frank D



Kurt Rohde worked in the Watson studio.

Built in 1916 in memory of Regina Watson of Chicago, a musician and teacher, this studio was donated by a group of her friends, along with funds for its maintenance. Originally designed to serve as a composers’ studio with room for performance, Watson was used as a recital hall for chamber music for a…

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