Through more than a hundred published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is established as a major figure in contemporary music. His work Canti del Sole, premiered by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, won the1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His large orchestral suites Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Freidheim Award. Conductors including Barenboim, Boulez, Berio, Maderna, Marriner, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Rilling, Salonen, Sawallisch, Schiff, Schuller, Schwarz, Silverstein, Sinopoli, Slatkin, von Dohnanyi, and Zinman, among others, have programmed his music.
Composer-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra for seven years, from 1989 to 1995, as part of the Meet The Composer Residency Program for the first three years, with four years continued funding by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rands made a wonderful and dedicated contribution to the music of our time.
Rands' works are widely performed and frequently commercially recorded. His work Canti D'Amor, recorded by Chanticleer, won a Grammy Award in 2000.
Born in England in 1934, Rands emigrated to the United States in 1975, becoming an American Citizen in 1983. He has been honored by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; B.M.I.; the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet the Composer; the Barlow, Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, among many others.
Recent commissions have come from the Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; the New York Philharmonic; Carnegie Hall; the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the Cincinnati Symphony; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Philadelphia Orchestra; the B.B.C Symphony, London; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Internationale Bach Akademie, Stuttgart; the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Many chamber works have resulted from commissions from major ensembles and festivals around the world. His Chamber Opera Belladonna was commissioned and premiered by the Aspen Festival for its fiftieth anniversary in 1999. In 2003 the first act was performed as part of VOX 2003 of the New York City Opera.
Upcoming projects include commissions from The Institute for American Music to write a string quartet for the Ying String quartet; a Meet the Composer consortium commission to compose a guitar concerto for Eliot Fisk and three chamber orchestras; a solo piano work for Robert Levin.
Rands contiues his long term project of composing a full scale opera, entitled Vincent, based on the life and work of Van Gogh.
A dedicated and passionate teacher, Rands has been guest composer at many international festivals and Composer in Residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood festivals. Rands is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University where he teaches with distinction.
The originality and distinctive character of his music have been variously described as "plangent lyricism" with a "dramatic intensity" and a "musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery" — qualities developed from his studies with Dallapiccola and Berio.
Rands was elected and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.