Harold Meltzer was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966, and grew up in Long Island. He graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, studying composition with Lewis Spratlan, and then with Alexander Goehr at King's College, Cambridge and with Martin Bresnick, Anthony Davis, and Jacob Druckman at the Yale School of Music. He also studied privately with Tobias Picker and Charles Wuorinen. In the midst of his music education he attended Columbia Law School and practiced law for several years. While in graduate school Harold co-founded the ensemble SEQUITUR, and he remains its co-Artistic Director.

Among his recent works is Privacy (2008), commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and pianist Ursula Oppens; Piano Sonata (2008), commissioned by Symphony Space for pianist Sara Laimon; Brion (2008), commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for the Cygnus Ensemble, and a Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize; and Doria Pamphili (2007), commissioned by the New Jersey Composers Guild for guitarist William Anderson. Other commissions have come from the American Composers Forum (Brothers Grimm, for pianist Sarah Cahill); the Argosy Foundation (an orchestral work for the Colonial Symphony); the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (Piano Concerto No. 2, with pianist Sara Laimon); Concert Artists Guild (Full Faith and Credit, a concerto for two bassoons and strings, for bassoonist Peter Kolkay, and co-commissioned by the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Westchester Philharmonic); Meet The Composer (Sindbad, for the Peabody Trio and actor Walter Van Dyk; and Toccatas, for harpsichordist Jory Vinikour); the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (Venetian Women, for violinist Michelle Makarski), and the National Flute Association (Giraffes, the required work for the association's 2004 performers competition).

The Barlow Endowment awarded to Harold its 2008 Barlow Prize, commissioning him to write a major new string quartet for the Avalon, Lydian, and Pacifica Quartets. Other support for his work includes the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. During the 2007-08 season Harold served as Music Alive composer-in-residence with the Colonial Symphony. He has also worked as resident composer with Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. In recent years he has begun again to perform, including as a harpsichord soloist with the American Composers Orchestra in his work Virginal at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. He teaches at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and lives with his wife and two children in the East Village of Manhattan.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | October 19, 2018
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 22, 2011
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | January 22, 2010

News and Press

[Concert Review] A double dose of BMOP

For classical music nerds, the term ‘Double Concerto’ might likely bring to mind Vivaldi’s many works for pairs of violins or other instruments, or for the more romantically-inclined, Brahms’ Double Concerto for violin and cello. But there are many examples in the 20th and 21st centuries as well, for all kinds of instrument combinations. Last Friday night, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project gave a diverse sampling of the genre entitled Double Trouble, featuring four works composed between 1938 and 2010.

Miss Music Nerd Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP tackles double concertos with trouble

The double concerto, pace Brahms, is a creature of the Baroque era, really a special version of the concerto grosso with a concertino of only a couple of players blending with and emerging from the ripieno. The restructuring of large-scale composition around sonata form deprived composers of the natural recurrences of melodic strands that fueled the concerto grosso, making solo concertos a more logical way to achieve timbral contrast within the continual-development process of the more modern forms; yet, some Classical-era composers could not let go.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP has no trouble with multiple double concerti

Virtuosity, in its traditional sense, is musical performance at its most outgoing; the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s Saturday concert — “Double Trouble,” a quartet of double concerti — revealed a plethora of extroverted strategies. The plurality of styles was a showcase for the flexibility of conductor Gil Rose’s group, switching channels with ease, burnished and rhythmically rigorous in a program marked by wide-ranging gregariousness.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Things that go BMOP in the night

If you attended a performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra last fall, chances are pretty good that you heard one or more of Beethoven’s symphonies. The BSO, widely recognized as one of the world’s most elite orchestras, presented a complete set of these vaunted works throughout October and November and has several additional performances scattered throughout their concert season. My hometown orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, dedicated this, their 116th season, to the theme “Beethoven and Beyond.” Their concerts are centered around a complete series of the nine symphonies.

Brandeis Hoot Full review
[Concert Review] Classical Music Review: BMOP's Band in Boston

Time was when Boston had a City Censor, and books and plays drummed up trade by having them “Banned in Boston.” The Boston Modern Orchestra Project, headed by conductor Gil Rose, came up with the deliciously punning title “Band in Boston” for its Jordan Hall concert on January 22. Indeed there was not a bowed string instrument to be seen on stage all evening – nothing but 36 wind players, plus five percussionists, a harpist, and three pianists.

The Arts Fuse Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP: Band in Boston

The BMOP continued its season last Friday with their Band in Boston concert, celebrating 20th and 21st century music for wind ensemble with two repertoire mainstays by Stravinsky and Percy Grainger, as well as some newer compositions by Harold Meltzer, Wayne Peterson, and Joseph Schwantner. Robert Kirzinger’s excellent program notes make the case that band music has lost some of its historical prestige because the bands (military, university, etc.) have themselves lost their prestige, despite their ability, popularity, and cultural and social significance.

Boston lowbrow Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP does band

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is known for exploring a wide variety of 20th- and 21st-century instrumental music. On January 22nd at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, under the baton of music director Gil Rose, the group forayed into wind ensemble territory with a program of varying styles and with mixed effectiveness.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] Mighty winds and brass!

If you saw sparks flying over Boston’s Back Bay last night, it might have been the result of the energy and excitement generated by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project during their performance in Jordan Hall. BMOP’s primary mission is to commission, perform and record new orchestral work. They also perform 20th-century “classics” with great gusto.

Miss Music Nerd Full review