Cover for MILLER: Aaron Jay Kernis. Click for larger image

Aaron Jay Kernis

by Leta E. Miller

The first full-length biography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer

Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Grawemeyer Award, Aaron Jay Kernis achieved recognition as one of the leading composers of his generation while still in his thirties. Since then his eloquent yet accessible style, emphasis on melody, and willingness to engage popular as well as classical forms has brought him widespread acclaim and admiring audiences.




Audio Examples

Aaron Jay Kernis, Ballad(e) Out of the Blues [Superstar Etude #3]
For piano solo (2007)

Aaron Jay Kernis, Symphony of Meditations (Symphony #3), movement 2
For orchestra, chorus, and soprano soloist

Aaron Jay Kernis, Goblin Market (1995), for narrator and chamber orchestra, excerpts
Text by Christina Rosetti

Aaron Jay Kernis, Pieces of Winter Sky
Sextet (2012)


Streaming Video and Audio Resources

Aaron Kernis recommends the following YouTube performances of his works:

Ecstatic Meditations, no. 1 ("Effortlessly Love Flows"; 1998)
      Performers: Ensemble vocal, Germany, Cornelius Trantow, conductor.

Ecstatic Meditations, no. 4 ("How God Answers the Soul"; 1998)
      Utah Valley University Chamber Choir, Reed Criddle, conductor

Lament and Prayer (1995)
      Performers: Francesco d'Orazio, violin; Aaron Jay Kernis, conducting.
      Part 1:
      Part 2:
      Part 3:

Musica celestis (version for string orchestra; 1990)
      Performers: City of Birmingham Orchestra, Hugh Wolff, conductor

Perpetual Chaconne
      Performers: Calder Quartet and John Bruce Yeh, clarinet

Still Movement with Hymn (in an arrangement with clarinet substituting for viola; 1993)
      Performers: Soli Chamber Ensemble: Ertan Torgul, David Mollenauer, Carolyn True, Stephanie Key

Superstar Etude #1 (1992)
      Performer: Gregory Brown, piano

Superstar Etude #2 (2002)
      Performer: Andrea Lam, piano

Trio in Red (2001)
      Performers: Soli Chamber Ensemble: Stephanie Key. David Mollenauer, Carolyn True

Playlist from Kernis's 50th Birthday Concert at Le Poisson Rouge, New York
      Air for violin and piano (1995): Tim Fain, violin, Peiyao Wang, piano
      The Blue Animals (1983): Robert Osborne, bass-baritone; Aaron Kernis, piano
      Two Movements with Bells (2007): James Ehnes, violin, Andrew Armstrong, piano
      Ballad for 8 Cellos (2004): Joshua Roman, live and recorded cellos
      Superstar Etude #3 (2004–7): Di Wu, piano



Jacob Druckman, "Music Since 1968: a New Romanticism?"
Essay published in a commemorative magazine produced by the New York Philharmonic as part of its Horizons '83 festival. Reproduced with kind permission of the New York Philharmonic.



Mr. Kernis has musical publishing arrangements through G. Schirmer / AMP.

Publication of this book was supported by a grant from the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund

Leta E. Miller is a professor of music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include Music and Politics in San Francisco: From the 1906 Quake to the Second World War (University of California Press, 2011), Lou Harrison (with Fredric Lieberman, American Composer series, University of Illinois Press, 2006), and Composing a World: Lou Harrison, Musical Wayfarer (OUP, 1998; paperback edition, revised and updated, UIP, 2004).

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