Andrew Norman (born 1979) is a composer of chamber and orchestral music. A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Norman studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale. His teachers and mentors include Martha Ashleigh, Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Stewart Gordon, Aaron Kernis, Ingram Marshall, and Martin Bresnick.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, Norman writes music that is often inspired by forms and ideas he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of sounds and usually features some combination of bright colors, propulsive energy, a healthy dose of lyricism, and the fragmentation of musical ideas into little pieces.
Norman is a committed educator who enjoys helping people of all ages explore and create music. He has written several pieces to be performed by and for the young, and has held educational residencies with orchestras and festivals across the country, including recently finished two-year relationships with the schools of Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley and with Young Concert Artists in New York. Norman taught piano and composition at the Pasadena Conservatory and has given master classes at the Hoff-Barthelson Music School and the Des Moines Symphony Academy.
Norman is increasingly active as an orchestral composer. His symphonic works, often noted for their clarity and vigor, have been commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the New York Youth Symphony, among other ensembles.
Norman’s chamber music has been featured at numerous venues in recent seasons, including the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge, the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series. This spring the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble presented a concert featuring Norman’s music at Radialsystem V in Berlin.
Norman enjoys the company of creators of all kinds, and has spent much time recently in residencies. He has been a fellow at the American Academies in both Rome and Berlin, and has spent peaceful and productive months at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Copland House. After several years of the itinerant life, Norman is looking forward to settling in New York City. Upcoming commissions include a theremin concerto for the Heidelberg Philharmonic, orchestral pieces for the Aspen Music Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and a short work for the Calder Quartet.
Andrew Norman appears in the following:
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I have never been more stuck than I was in the winter of 2008. My writing came to a grinding halt in January and for a long time this piece languished on my desk, a mess of musical fragments that refused to cohere. It was not until the following May, when I saw a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and remembered one of its iconic sentences, that I had a breakthrough realization. The sentence was this: "Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time," and the realization was that the lack of coherence in my ideas was to be embraced and explored, not overcome.