UC San Diego's Department of Music

February 18, 2011

  Composer Rand Steiger, a member of U.C. San Diego's music faculty, has won the 2011 Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award is "for the publication of a work by a gifted American composer." It was established in 1984 by music publisher C.F. Peters Corporation, which will publish a new work to be written by Steiger.

While Steiger has not yet begun composing the new work , a 2009 review of his "Cryosphere" by New York Times critic Steve Smith gives an idea of the intertwining of instruments and technology in Steiger's music.

"In Rand Steiger's achingly lovely 'Cryosphere' Mr. Steiger and Miller Puckette [also a UCSD faculty member] used computers to manipulate sounds meant to evoke the formation and dissolution of glaciers and icebergs. Rolling cymbals stretched into enveloping hums that swirled around the hall. Clattering vibraslaps and brittle synthesizer notes ricocheted; long tones wobbled through microtonal inflections. The effect was like sitting in a huge, resonant Tibetan prayer bowl."

Steiger is currently composer-in-residence at UCSD's Calit2 (the California Insitute for Telecommunications and Information Technology) where he is at work on music for solo instruments and electronics for the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Growing up in New York, Steiger played drums in a rock band, as well as percussion in his high school's orchestra. As an undergraduate at the Manhattan School of Music, he switched his major from performance to composition and completed a bachelor's degree in music.

Steiger earned his master of fine arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (near Los Angeles), and served on the CalArts faculty from 1982 through 1987. He joined UCSD's music faculty in 1987 and was department chairman from 2007 to 2010.

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