Discipline: Music Composition

Robert Beaser

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Needham, MA
MacDowell fellowships: 1997, 2001
Robert Beaser is a MacDowell Board member and composer who made his debut with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony at Jordon Hall when he was 16, conducting the premiere of his own orchestral work, Antigone. He went on to study at Yale College, graduating summa cum laude in 1976, and later received his M.M.A. and D.M.A. degrees from the Yale School of Music. He studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller and William Steinberg. He studied with Betsy Jolas on a fellowship at Tanglewood. In 1977 he became the youngest composer to win the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Residence in Rome proved a watershed in his development, and he embraced more tonal language, synthesizing a variety of diverse influences from jazz to folk into his writing. He was appointed professor and chairman of the composition department at the Juilliard School in New York in 1993. In 1999, Beaser was co-commissioned by Glimmerglass Opera, the New York City Opera, and WNET-TV to compose The Food of Love, with Terrence McNally as librettist, which was performed at both venues, aired on PBS, and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2000. He currently serves as trustee for the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, and the American Composers Orchestra. He was elected to the membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.



Robert Beaser 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 residency program's studios, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the we began welcoming…

Learn more