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Born in Brooklyn in 1966, Harold Meltzer is a composer and the Artistic Director of the New York ensemble Sequitur. He has received a number of awards for his music, including the 2004 Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, a 2004 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from ASCAP and NACUSA, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Ragdale Foundation.
Recent commissions have come from the ASCAP Foundation for the Delaware, North Carolina, and Pacific Symphony Orchestras; Concert Artists Guild for bassoonist Peter Kolkay with the Westchester Philharmonic; the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra; the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music; Chamber Orchestra Kremlin; Meet the Composer for the Yellow Barn Festival and the Peabody Trio; the National Flute Association; the American Composers Forum for pianist Sarah Cahill; harpsichordist Jory Vinikour; and the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota.
After graduating from Amherst College and King's College, Cambridge, Meltzer studied law at Columbia University and worked as a lawyer in New York City before returning for his doctorate at the Yale School of Music. His music is recorded on the Albany and CRI labels and is published by Urban Scrawl Music Company (ASCAP) and G. Schirmer, Inc.
The composer has provided the following note:
In writing Virginal (2002) I thought about Elizabethan composers like John Bull and William Byrd. Their keyboard works were usually sets of variations based loosely on a theme or a progression of harmonies. What I liked most about these pieces was how they were organized: You could hear that you had moved from one section to another not so much because the theme came back, but because the figuration, the nature of the virtuosity changed. I wanted to do this in my piece. Virginal was commissioned by Brandon Fradd, who perched a copy of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book on the music stand of a harpsichord in the loft of his home.