Robert Convery

 

 

Background on the Composer

ROBERT CONVERY is among the handful of composers today writing effectively for the voice. His music is expressed in a distinctly personal voice of Iyricism, rhythmic vitality, a keen harmonic sense, and transparent textures. Mr. Convery has written four one-act operas, eighteen cantatas, MASS for choir and orchestra, choral works of every description, seven song cycles, and more than 150 songs for voice and piano. In the non-vocal repertory he has written VARIATIONS AND FUGUE for large orchestra, LYRIC ESSAY, ELEGY FOR STRINGS, ORGAN CONCERTO, a string quartet, various chamber works and piano solo works. His operas have had performances with Spoleto Festival USA, Festival Dei Due Mondi, Lake George Opera Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, Juilliard Opera Center, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, New World School of the Arts, The Catholic University of America, and The Curtis Institute of Music Opera Theater where Mr.Convery's one-act opera PYRAMUS AND THISBE was staged and conducted by Boris Goldovsky. Performances of other works have been with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro Verdi di Trieste, Santa Cruz Symphony, Richmond Symphony, New York Scandia Symphony, Musica Sacra, New York Festival of Song, Singing City of Philadelphia, and The New York Concert Singers. His music has been broadcast on Voice of America, National Public Radio's Performance Today, and numerous radio stations across the United States. In January 1989 the program A PORTRAIT OF THE COMPOSER ROBERT CONVERY was broadcast on WNYC and hosted by Lucy Sumner. Richard Westenburg and Musica Sacra premiered two new major works on a Britten-Convery concert at Alice Tully Hall on March 3, 1993. Mr. Convery's cantata SONGS OF CHILDREN, using poems by children who were interned at Terezin Concentration Camp, received its Washington D.C. premiere April 16, 1993 as part of the celebration of the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the cantata's entire performance was filmed by ABC Television for inclusion in a documentary on the Holocaust Museum. Mr. Convery recently completed the filming of Making Art, an award-winning documentary for PBS Television on the creation and performance of his Christmas cantata THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD, commissioned and performed by the Pro Arte Singers of Stamford, CT. THE PASSION OF LIZZIE BORDEN, Mr. Convery's fourth opera, was written for the National Music Theater Conference held in August 1994 at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. With commissions into 1998, Mr. Convery is currently working on his fifth opera, THE CALLING, which is in two acts and co-commissioned by Opera Ebony of New York and 651, an arts center at BAM Majestic Theatre. THE CALLING will premiere as part of a four-year multi-cultural arts festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Majestic Theater. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra has commissioned a cantata for choir and orchestra for its 1997-98 season, and Singing City of Philadelphia has commissioned for its fiftieth anniversary year what will be Mr. Convery's twentieth cantata.

Robert Convery holds degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College, and The Juilliard School where he received his doctorate. He has studied composition with Ned Rorem, David Diamond, and Vincent Persichetti. Mr. Convery has received commissioning grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Opera America and The Reader's Digest Fund. His awards include the Charles E. Ives Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Meet the Composer Awards, ASCAP Awards and the Samuel Barber Award. Mr.Convery has held artist residencies at YADDO, and has received composer residencies from Phillips Exeter Academy, Dickinson College, and The New York Concert Singers. He has given Master Classes on his songs at The Juilliard School, and a seminar on music and words at Columbia University. Mr. Convery's works are published with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. He is included in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, and will be included in the new edition of the 20-volume New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. His entire works are catalogued at Lincoln Center's New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Special Collections. He makes his home in Astoria, New York, where he is currently teaching and composing.

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