Scott Wheeler

Scott Wheeler’s most recent opera commission is Naga, on a libretto of Cerise Jacobs, co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and Boston Lyric Opera. Wheeler’s previous operas have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera and the Guggenheim Foundation. Other current and recent commissions include 200 Dreams from Captivity for baritone and orchestra on texts of Wang Dan, and works for Boston Cecilia, Rockport Music and the Barlow Foundation. In recent seasons, Scott’s works have been performed in Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Austria, Italy, Panama, Winnipeg, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Scott’s orchestral music can be heard on the new CD Crazy Weather, with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose and released by BMOP Sound. His songs for voice and piano and his operaThe Construction of Boston are available on Naxos; his chamber music for strings and piano is available on Newport Classic. Scott Wheeler is the 2014 winner of the Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches musical theatre at Emerson College in Boston; during the 2014-15 sabbatical year he has accepted fellowships at the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa and at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University.

Benjamin Hadley Danks Award – citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, May 17, 2006:

“Scott Wheeler, with his grace, elegance, discretion, refinement and unpretentious expressivity, stands out among his peers. As one contemplates the catalogue of his work, one is struck at once by its variety and versatility. Best known for his lively vocal and chamber music, he has dared to undertake several larger projects, including opera, the most recent of which –Democracy: An American Comedy – was successfully premiered in 2005 by the Washington National Opera. Altogether, Wheeler’s work shows steady growth in expressive impact and meticulous workmanship.”

There are two recordings of Scott Wheeler’s music on the Naxos American Classics series. The latest of these is a CD of songs for voice and piano, entitled Wasting the Night. The first Naxos disc is of the one-act opera The Construction of Boston. The Gramercy Trio and friends have recorded a disc of Scott’s music for strings and piano on Newport Classic. Other recordings are available on GM, New World, Bridge and other labels.

As a conductor, Scott Wheeler has appeared with Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin, the Chamber Ensemble of St. Luke’s in New York, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Dinosaur Annex. His conducting can be heard on the Bridge, CRI, Capstone and Newport Classic labels. At Emerson College, Wheeler has also conducted productions of the musical theatre works of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill, George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and many others.

Scott Wheeler studied at Amherst College, New England Conservatory and Brandeis University; his principal teachers were Lewis Spratlan and Arthur Berger. He pursued further study at the Tanglewood Music Center (with Olivier Messiaen), the Dartington School (with Peter Maxwell Davies) and privately with Virgil Thomson. He teaches at Emerson College in Boston, where he co-directs the BFA program in musical theatre. He is a founding member of the new-music ensemble Dinosaur Annex.

He has received awards and commissions from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Koussevitsky Foundation (2), the Fromm Foundation (2), Tanglewood, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (3), the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2), Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, as well as the Stoeger Prize for excellence in chamber music from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He was a Distinguished Visitor at the American Academy in Berlin in 2007. He is the 2010 recipient of the Composer of the Year Award from the Classical Recording Foundation.

Scott Wheeler is a member of the Board of Directors of the Virgil Thomson Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of the Bogliasco Foundation, a member of the Education Board of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, a director of Antilever Press, and Composer in Residence with Boston Cecilia.


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