Stephen Hartke was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1952, and grew up in Manhattan. Hailed by Paul Griffiths recently in the New York Times as one of America's "Young Lions," Hartke's music reflects the diversity of his musical background, from medieval and renaissance polyphony, of which he was
once quite an active performer, to very personal syntheses of diverse elements from non-Western and popular music. Since settling in California in the 80s, his music, both chamber and orchestral, has come to circulate widely. He has enjoyed commissions from such groups as the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Fromm Music Foundation, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music America, the Hilliard Ensemble, and a recent grant from the Institute for American Music (based at the Eastman School of Music) to compose a full-length opera for Glimmerglass Opera. Orchestral performances include those by the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic,the Moscow State Philharmonic, the Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Des Moines, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Memphis, New Jersey, Phoenix, St. Louis and Utah. Hartke has received awards from the American Academy in Rome, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the ASCAP Foundation, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Fulbright Senior Scholars Program, the Guggenheim Foundation, and Meet the Composer. Much of his music is available on CD on CRI, ECM New Series, EMI Classics, Naxos American Classics, and New World Records.
Stephen Hartke lives in Glendale, California, with his wife, Lisa Stidham, and young son, Sandy, and is Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California.