Mark Kilstofte
Mark Kilstofte picture

Mark Kilstofte is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, and strong, dramatic gesture, . . . beautiful linear writing, expert text setting, and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event.  So reads a recent citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters describing his music -- qualities stemming, in part, from years of vocal study.  Winner of the 2002-03 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, Kilstofte holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Michigan where he studied with William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom and Eugene Kurtz, and served as assistant conductor of the Contemporary Directions Ensemble.  He is currently associate professor of composition and music theory at Furman University.

In addition to the Frederick A. Julliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize Fellowship, Kilstofte is also the recipient of the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Award.  In 2000-01 he was named Artist Fellow in Composition by the South Carolina Arts Commission.  His other honors include the Aaron Copland Award from Copland House, the University of Michigan Band Commission Prize, first place in the Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition, the Frances and William Schuman Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan, and the Composer's Award for String Quartet from the West Virginia Symphony and the Museum in the Community, as well as grants from the Knight Foundation, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Arts Council.

Mark's picture 2 Mr. Kilstofte's compositions have been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles and performing organizations including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, the Dale Warland Singers, the San Francisco Choral Artists, the Lutheran Choir of Chicago, the Amadeus Choir, Alea III, the Ambassador Duo, ModernWorks, the Aurora Brass, and the New Renaissance Chamber Artists, and have been featured at such venues as the XI World Saxophone Congress, the 6th International Festival of Brass, the Bowling Green New Music and Art Festival, the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival, the Florida State University Festival of New Music, the Crane Festival of New Music and the Imagine Festival at the University of Memphis.  His music is published by the Newmatic Press.

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Commissioned by Theodore Antoniou and Alea III 

You [unfolding] is a one movement work comprising three contrasting sections. It reflects, through form and process, the richness of discovery and understanding at deeper and deeper levels -- deliberately, yet imperceptibly -- as if through an extended correspondence.

The opening features a series of statements in expanding variations form in which each subsequent phrase can be heard as an elaboration and amplification of the former. In other words, each new phrase not only embellishes what has been played previously, but also introduces new stuctural material. In this way the variations increase in length and complexity, moving from the succinct to the sublime.

In contrast to the slow, improvisatory character of the first section, the central portion of the work is suddenly brisk and terse, replete with syncopation. Here the notion of unfolding is depicted by ever-widening intervallic wedges and ever-contracting rhythmic cells which propel the piece to an abrupt, but lingering climax. On the heels of this suspended caesura the piece reclaims the tempo and character of the beginning. Here, however, each statement is condensed or abridged (rather than elaborated on) as the work makes its way to what seems its inevitable conclusion.

You [unfolding] is dedicated to 'cellist Leslie Nash.

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