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Composer and pianist Sean Friar grew up in Los Angeles, where his first musical experiences were in rock and blues piano improvisation. While his focus soon shifted toward classical music, his composition has always kept in touch with the energy and communicative directness of those musical roots, now along with an expansive and exploratory classical sensibility.
He thrives on composing for ensembles both within and outside the realm of traditional concert music, and his recent commissions run the gamut from works for orchestra and string quartet to a junk car percussion concerto and music for laptop orchestra. His music has been performed throughout the world by ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic Scharoun Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, Sō Percussion, Crash Ensemble, Ensemble Klang, the American Composers Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, Alter Ego, Orkest de Ereprijs, Psappha, Darmstadt Staatsorchester, Matmos, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and four-time Grammy-winning percussionist Glen Velez. The Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, led by John Adams, played his Little Green Pop on a Green Umbrella program in December 2013.
Friar is the youngest winner of the Rome Prize in over 25 years. His other honors include the Aaron Copland Award, Charles Ives Scholarship, a Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Grant, and four ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, as well as awards from eighth blackbird, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, SCI/ASCAP, and the Hawaii Institute of Contemporary Music.