Discipline: Music Composition

Tamar Diesendruck

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: Arlington, MA
MacDowell Fellowships: 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2023

Tamar Diesendruck’s favored compositional medium for many years has been virtuosic chamber music; in recent years, her focus has shifted, and she has embraced opportunities to compose for larger ensembles. She composes for all acoustic media, and has explored use of field recordings in video installation and music for film. Work since the early 2000s investigates the creation of large sonic shapes formed by overlapped bits of music that resemble each other; elements of guided freedom; a variety of notations; animation of textures created from players' personal speech rhythm; layering of mutating webs and networks of sound, tinted music (microtonal).

Since 2012, the project Variant Scenarios, an ongoing series of works inspired by the processes of evolutionary biology continues developing her practice while developing new processes in a quest to find a meaningful way to respond to the profound patterns of evolution.

Unruly Strands (2019), a Library of Congress McKim Fund commission for legendary violinist Midori and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute branches out from the VS series. Current and future work features gayageum music for Do Yeon Kim and mixed ensemble featuring saxophonist Philipp Staeudlin.

In addition to mixed chamber ensemble, string quartet, duos and trios, she has also composed solo, orchestral, choral, wind ensemble and vocal works. Her works have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, in the Middle East and Asia, and include Strange Parade for large wind ensemble and percussion and Still Telling (2010).

Diesendruck’s recognitions, awards, and honors include but are not limited to the Rome Prize, the Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as grants from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP. Her Fellowships include a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship, a Guggenheim; a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in composition at NYU; a Bunting Fellowship; an Ives Fellowship, and a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship. She has been awarded residencies in the US and Europe: MacDowell, Yaddo, Copland House, Djerassi Foundation, Bellagio Center, Bogliasco Foundation, Camargo Foundation, Virginia Center of the Creative Arts, and Ragdale Foundation.

At MacDowell Diesendruck, has composed many works including "When Most I Wink Then," a setting of Shakespeare's 43rd Sonnet for baritone and piano, commissioned by Richard Lalli. In 2023, she worked on a substantial piece for 11 instruments featuring virtuoso saxophonist Philipp Stäudlin.


Delta Omicron

Tamar Diesendruck worked in the Delta Omicron studio.

Delta Omicron Studio was funded by members of the international musical fraternity in 1927. The building design is somewhat medieval in character, with an unusual cedar shingle pattern, a steeply pitched slate roof, intersecting gables, and small windows. After a 2016 deep-energy renovation, Delta Omicron is now one of the most energy efficient studio on the property…

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