Reynold TharpAssistant Professor of Composition-Theory
B.M. (Composition), B.A. (History), Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Ph.D. (Composition), University of California-Berkeley. Student of Jorge Liderman, Richard Felciano, and Cindy Cox.
The music of Reynold Tharp has been described as “tone painting at its most adroit” evoked with “a prismatic palette” (Financial Times), and “gorgeous…a sensuous evocation of colors and atmospheres…. Not content to write textures that are merely interesting or surprising, Tharp concocts sounds that are also ravishing and intoxicating” (San Francisco Classical Voice). After a recent performance of his San Francisco Night at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the New York Times called his piece “a winner” and added, “Elegant, airy and weightless figurations for an octet of strings, winds, brasses, piano and percussion were a stylish and fitting homage to Ligeti. The music also made you eager to hear more from Mr. Tharp….”
Tharp’s music has been performed in the U.S. and Europe by groups such as the New Juilliard Ensemble, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, Ensemble Diffraction (Paris), Cal State Long Beach New Music Ensemble, Orchestre Lyrique de Region Avignon-Provence, Nieuw Ensemble (Amsterdam), and pianist Julie Steinberg. In 2006 his orchestral work Cold Horizon was performed at the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. Awards for his music include Columbia University’s Bearns Prize for his orchestra piece Drift, BMI’s William Schuman Prize, and Berkeley’s DeLorenzo prize. He has recently written pieces for the Allerton Music Barn Festival, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and Paris-based pianist Ivan Ilíc. Current projects include a duet for flute and harp for colleagues Jonathan Keeble and Ann Yeung, and a large ensemble piece for the New Juilliard Ensemble and conductor Joel Sachs.
Tharp was born in Indiana and grew up in southern California. After early training as a pianist, he studied history and composition at Oberlin College and Conservatory and later earned a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California, Berkeley, studying primarily with Richard Felciano and Jorge Liderman. As recipient of Berkeley’s Ladd Fellowship he spent two years in Paris studying composition with Philippe Leroux and orchestration with Marc-André Dalbavie, and was selected for the month-long intensive course in computer music at IRCAM. Currently assistant professor of composition and theory at UIUC, Tharp has previously taught at Northwestern University, U. C. Berkeley, and San Francisco State University. At Illinois, in addition to teaching composition and orchestration, he co-ordinates the undergraduate and graduate theory programs and teaches a wide variety of analysis classes.