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Aaron Jay Kernis

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Aaron Jay Kernis
Professor Adjunct of Composition Yale School of Music
Artistic Director, New Music New Haven Yale School of Music
At YSM Since: 2003
Award(s): Grammy Award (2019), Nemmers Prize (2012), American Academy of Arts and Letters (2011), Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition (2002), Pulitzer Prize (1998), Grammy Nominations (1997, 1999), Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (1993), Rome Prize of the American Academy in Rome (1985), Guggenheim Fellowship (1984)

Aaron Jay Kernis

The music of Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis has been programmed by orchestras, chamber groups, and recitalists around the world. Kernis’ works have also been commissioned by many of America’s foremost performing artists and institutions. His music has been recorded and released by 11 different labels and is widely available on CD. 

At the Yale School of Music, Kernis teaches a studio of graduate-level composition students. His works are frequently featured on Yale’s New Music New Haven concert series. During the summer, he is a faculty member at the New Music Workshop at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale Summer School of Music. Kernis served as New Music Advisor to the Minnesota Orchestra for 10 years and as Chairman and Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. He currently serves as Chairman and Co-director of the Nashville Symphony's Composer Lab.

Kernis was born in Philadelphia and began his musical studies on the violin at a young age. At age 12, he began teaching himself piano and, the following year, composition. He attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and Yale School of Music, studying with such composers as John Adams, Charles Wuorinen, and Jacob Druckman.

Sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, guitarist Sharon Isbin, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Walt Disney Company, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum of Natural History in New York

Naxos Records, Decca Records, Koch Records, Dorian Recordings, Phoenix Records, Virgin Classics, New Albion, Cedille Records, Nonesuch Records, Arabesque Records, Innova Records