Harold Meltzer was born in Brooklyn in 1966 and grew up in Long Island, New York. After graduating from Amherst College he attended law school at Columbia and worked for several years as a lawyer in New York City. He returned to school to study composition, first at King’s College, Cambridge, and then at the Yale School of Music. Twelve years ago Meltzer co-founded the new music ensemble Sequitur and remains its co-Artistic Director. He teaches composition at Vassar College. During the 2007/08 season he is composer-in-residence with the Colonial Symphony in New Jersey, which will play three of his works. Other performances this season have come from the Vancouver Symphony, the Peabody Trio, baritone John Shirley-Quirk, the Cygnus Ensemble, pianists Jie Chen and Sara Laimon, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and harpsichordist Jory Vinikour. Next season the Boston Modern Orchestra Project will premiere his Second Piano Concerto with pianist Sara Laimon, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will perform Full Faith and Credit, a concerto for two bassoons, and the Library of Congress will present Virginal, a harpsichord concerto. Meltzer’s work has been recognized in the last several years with the Rome Prize, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He resides in the East Village in Manhattan with his wife Hilary and children Julia and Elijah.
The composer has provided the following note:
“The Piano Concerto (2008) has the title Privacy. In it the soloist craves space, independence, serenity, but is continually crowded by the ensemble until she wrenches herself free at the end. This is another work in which I have subverted the more typical, heroic role of the soloist. Three seasons ago Joanne Pearce Martin and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group performed my music Virginal at Walt Disney Concert Hall. In that work, scored for harpsichord and fifteen instruments, the harpsichord’s material simply bleeds into the fabric of the ensemble. There are so many possible relationships between individual and group. Those of leaders and followers seem less interesting, and perhaps less nuanced, than others.”