Through more than a hundred published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is established as a major figure in contemporary music. His work Canti del Sole, premiered by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, won the1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His large orchestral suites Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Freidheim Award. Conductors including Barenboim, Boulez, Berio, Maderna, Marriner, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Rilling, Salonen, Sawallisch, Schiff, Schuller, Schwarz, Silverstein, Sinopoli, Slatkin, von Dohnanyi, and Zinman, among others, have programmed his music.

Composer-in-Residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra for seven years, from 1989 to 1995, as part of the Meet The Composer Residency Program for the first three years, with four years continued funding by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rands made a wonderful and dedicated contribution to the music of our time.

Rands' works are widely performed and frequently commercially recorded. His work Canti D'Amor, recorded by Chanticleer, won a Grammy Award in 2000.

Born in England in 1934, Rands emigrated to the United States in 1975, becoming an American Citizen in 1983. He has been honored by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; B.M.I.; the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet the Composer; the Barlow, Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, among many others.

Recent commissions have come from the Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; the New York Philharmonic; Carnegie Hall; the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the Cincinnati Symphony; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Philadelphia Orchestra; the B.B.C Symphony, London; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Internationale Bach Akademie, Stuttgart; the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Many chamber works have resulted from commissions from major ensembles and festivals around the world. His Chamber Opera Belladonna was commissioned and premiered by the Aspen Festival for its fiftieth anniversary in 1999. In 2003 the first act was performed as part of VOX 2003 of the New York City Opera.

Upcoming projects include commissions from The Institute for American Music to write a string quartet for the Ying String quartet; a Meet the Composer consortium commission to compose a guitar concerto for Eliot Fisk and three chamber orchestras; a solo piano work for Robert Levin.

Rands contiues his long term project of composing a full scale opera, entitled Vincent, based on the life and work of Van Gogh.

A dedicated and passionate teacher, Rands has been guest composer at many international festivals and Composer in Residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood festivals. Rands is the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University where he teaches with distinction.

The originality and distinctive character of his music have been variously described as "plangent lyricism" with a "dramatic intensity" and a "musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery" — qualities developed from his studies with Dallapiccola and Berio.

Rands was elected and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.


Capistrano Hall at California State University, Sacramento | November 5, 2004
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall at Longy | October 29, 2004
Miller Theatre at Columbia University | March 23, 2000
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 16, 2000
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | October 24, 1997

News and Press

[CD Review] Bernard Rands: Canti Trilogy

About a year ago, Arsis put a big advertising push behind a CD called Songs of Love that featured the music of Bernard Rands (b. 1934) and that of his wife, Augusta Read Thomas. I kind of blew hot and cold over that disc, but not this time. This is the real deal, a three-part work made up of what amounts to three independent song cycles, one for each of the vocalists, accompanied by either orchestra or, as here, a large chamber ensemble that is one of the most striking works I can recall hearing and one that only grows in my estimation each time I listen to it.

Fanfare Full review
[Press Release] BMOP announces the Arsis Audio release of Bernard Rands's "Canti Trilogy"

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), under Artistic Director and Conductor Gil Rose, is pleased to announce the Arsis Audio release of the world premiere recording of the complete Canti Trilogy by renowned composer Bernard Rands. This is the eighth commercial recording BMOP has released in the last two years. The ensemble is one of the few professional orchestras in the country dedicated exclusively to performing and recording music of the 20th and 21st centuries.

BMOP Full review
[News Coverage] Poetry in songs reflecting sun and moon

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project—as represented by the 11 players who appeared at Miller Theater under the group’s founder and conductor, Gil Rose—is extremely able and musical. Performing Bernard Rands’s three astronomical Canti of the late 1980s and early ‘90s last Thurday, Mr. Rose and his team filled the music with rich, decisive ensemble colors and magnificent solos in scores whose dominant expressive position is one of rapture, these musicians were rapturous....

The New York Times Full review