Caleb Burhans

Composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist

Composer, violinist/violist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Caleb Burhans (born 1980) is a native of Monterey, California, and has lived in New York with his wife, Martha Cluver, since 2003. He has been heralded by the New York Times as "animated and versatile" and a "sweet voiced countertenor." Burhans’s early musical influences were varied both musically and geographically, ranging from his father Ron (who in the 1960's and 1970's played guitar and bass with Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers and the Everly Brothers) to his training as a boy soprano in Houston, TX, to his early education in Janesville, WI, where he studied violin, piano, and music theory and composition while also trying his hand at viola, cello, bass, percussion, mandolin, guitar, electric bass, and conducting. He attended the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Eastman School of Music, where he received a bachelor's degree in viola performance and composition.

Besides violin and viola, Caleb's principal instruments are guitar and piano. He is also an active countertenor. He is a regular member of groups including Alarm Will Sound, Bleknlok, Escort, itsnotyouitsme, Newspeak and Signal. His compositions benefit from the synergy of writing for people he plays with, and his performances of other works draw on his insights as a composer. His works have often been commissioned and premiered by the ensembles with which he plays, including his setting of Psalm 118 for mixed choir, children's choir, brass, and organ, commissioned by Trinity Church, Wall Street for Easter 2008; his arrangement of John Adams's Coast from the album Hoodoo Zephyr, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and Alarm Will Sound and premiered by AWS at Carnegie Hall in 2006; and his oh ye of little faith... (do you know where your children are?), commissioned by Lincoln Center for the re-opening of Alice Tully Hall and premiered by Alan Pierson and Alarm Will Sound in 2009. Other compositions include An Advent Song, commissioned by Trinity Wall Street and premiered in 2008 by Robert Ridgell and the Trinity Wall Street Choristers; In a distant place, commissioned by the Bloomingdale School of Music and premiered in 2008 at Christ and St. Stephens Church by Clay Greenberg and students of the Bloomingdale School of Music; and Amidst Neptune, commissioned by Brad Lubman and premiered by Brad Lubman and Eastman's Musica Nova at Kilbourn Hall in 2003. Amidst Neptune was also performed at the Whitney Museum in 2006 by Alan Pierson and Alarm Will Sound as part of Steve Reich's 70th birthday celebration and at Carnegie's Zankel Hall by Alan Pierson and AWS in a concert curated by John Adams.

 Burhans has also received commissions from the Albany Symphony, clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, Dogs of Desire, the JACK Quartet, Janus, the King's Park High School String Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Abby Fischer, percussionist Payton MacDonald, Scalene, St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rochester, New York, the Tarab Cello Ensemble, trombonist James Hirschfeld, violinist Yuki Numata, violists John Graham, Eric Nowlin, and Nadia Sirota and the Westminster Choir College.

Caleb Burhans appears in the following:

Caleb Burhans

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Things Left Unsaid was commissioned by a cello octet called the Tarab Cello Ensemble in the summer of 2006. The piece explores the emotions of both the things left unsaid that bring people closer together and when the things we don’t say tear relationships apart. This piece is one of the first of my works directly influenced by my use of loops as a means of generating material. It’s also a continuation of one of my favorite techniques of making each instrument at resonate as possible, here in the form of hocket pizzicato.

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Introducing Caleb Burhans

Monday, January 25, 2010

This week, Q2's Composer Introduction Series features the music of Caleb Burhans. Sample pianist Danny Holt's Innova recording of Burhans In Time of Desperation and download it for free during this exclusive, week-long Q2 spotlight.

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