Andrew McIntosh is an internationally recognized composer and performer who teaches at the California Institute of the Arts, is a co-founder of the experimentally-minded Formalist Quartet, and co-directs Populist Records, a label dedicated to new music from Southern California. His musical interests cover a broad spectrum including historical performance practice, improvisation, microtonal tuning systems, long-form works, and the 20th-century avante-garde. He holds degrees in violin performance, composition, and early music performance from the University of Nevada, Reno, CalArts, and the University of Southern California, and principal teachers included Phillip Ruder, Martin Chalifour, Mark Menzies, Lorenz Gamma, Sue Feldman, Marc Sabat, and Wolfgang von Schweinitz.
As a composer he often works with forms and ideas found in nature or in other artistic disciplines. His priorities when writing are: creating a dialogue between the ordered and the irrational, saturated harmonic colors, clarity of structure, transparency, surprise, and delivering an experience rather than an object. His compositions have been featured at venues including the Gaudeamus Festival, Hamburger Klangwerktage, Moments Musicaux Aarau, Bludenzer Tage Zeitgemasse Muzik, Miller Theatre, National Sawdust, Monday Evening Concerts, and Tectonics Festival Glasgow. The individual musical personalities of performers he writes for are a central consideration in his work, and he has worked particularly closely with the musicians of wild Up, the Formalist Quartet, Yarn/Wire, and soprano Estelí Gomez. Recent commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Industry opera company (Hopscotch and Bonnie and Clyde), the Calder Quartet, and violinists Movses Pogossian and Marco Fusi. “McIntosh's spare, rarefied sonorities, which tilt away from traditional tunings, give an air of mythic otherness.” (Alex Ross, New Yorker)
As a solo artist he has appeared at the San Francisco Symphony's SoundBox series, Miller Theatre in New York, REDCAT, and festivals and concert series across Europe and the US. He also was the viola soloist in the US premiere of Gèrard Grisey’s Les Espaces Acoustiques, for which performance the LA Times said he “played with commanding beauty”. As a chamber musician he is known primarily for his work with the Formalist Quartet, currently in its 11th season, and for being a member of the new music ensemble wild Up. He has also performed with artists such as Wadada Leo Smith, Quatuor Bozzini, Wet Ink Ensemble, Marc Sabat, and Dante Boon and has worked personally with a wide range of composers including Christian Wolff, Sofia Gubaidulina, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Helmut Lachenmann, Tom Johnson, and Jürg Frey. As a baroque performer McIntosh is a member of Bach Collegium San Diego and Musica Angelica, and has concertized with the American Bach Soloists, LA Master Chorale, Tesserae, Musica Pacifica, Preethi de Silva, and the Corona del Mar Baroque Festival. He also directs a small period instrument ensemble which focuses on 17th-century French and Austrian violin repertoire.
A native of rural Northern Nevada, McIntosh is currently based in the Los Angeles area.