Composer, Artistic Director, National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble

The music of American composer Steve Antosca integrates instruments with computers for real-time processing and pre-recorded audio processing and spatialization. Through the realization of scores that juxtapose elements of non-determinacy with traditional notation, musicians craft a sonically rich performance environment. His concerts have been described by The Washington Post as “spectacular, wonderfully provocative”.

Steve Antosca is Artistic Director of the National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble, which he formed in 2010. Assembled from across the US and from Europe, its members possess virtuosic performance skills and the ability to comfortably perform with contemporary technology designed specifically for each of their concerts. Presenting modern music in the Gallery’s non-traditional spaces, NGA nme concerts live at the exciting intersection of music, art, technology and architecture. Presentations join innovative music with technology, and place an emphasis on unique architectural environments, aimed at enhancing the audience’s experience with contemporary music. The ensemble’s performances integrate the strategic placement of musicians across performance spaces, with sonic and visual enhancements created through real-time computer controlled transformations and the spatialization of sound.

Antosca, along with Karen Reynolds and Roger Reynolds, is a co-director of the 2012 John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC., which will take place throughout the Washington area September 4 - 10, 2012.

Two major works on the horizon are a recent commission from Chamber Music America and a new work celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. For the CMA commission, Antosca will compose my end is my beginning for the Pictures on Silence duo and the NGA nme, to be premiered on June 2, 2013 in the NGA East Building Auditorium. HABITAT, an evening-length percussion solo work with computer and video transformations, is being composed for Ross Karre and computer musician William Brent, with video by Karre. HABITAT will be premiered in the NGA East Building Atrium on November 10, 2013.

Antosca was named winner of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, awarded by the National Academy of Music. He has received numerous awards from the Maryland State Arts Council. Antosca was awarded NEA grants in 2007 and 2012 to present festivals of contemporary music in Washington.

Among his numerous commissions and awards are a McKim commission from the Library of Congress and a Fromm Fund commission from Harvard. For the McKim, he composed kairos ~ time outside of time for violin, harpsichord and computer in celebration of Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday. kairos was premiered on December 11, 2008, Mr. Carter’s birthday, at the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium. For the Fromm, he is composing elementsfive transfigurations for cello and computer. His work, chamber set ~ threads for ensemble and computer, was premiered at the new music festival June in Buffalo 2009. It was supported by a Subito grant, funded by the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund and the American Composers Forum.

Select commissions include a work for dance, computer-processed audio and text, premiered in September 2002 at the Kennedy Center as part of their Local Dance Commissioning Project (revised as such a pure force), commissions from the American Music Center, and a commission from the NO EXIT ensemble to compose EXIT for piano quartet and computer. A commission for pianist Laurie Hudicek for traces of spirit whispers, for piano and computer-processed audio, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in September 2003. In 2006, he was commissioned by the Johansen International Competition to create a work for young violin, viola and ‘cello virtuosi.

In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Antosca presented a concert in the Gallery Rotunda in March 2011. He premiered in every way I remember you for saxophone and computer, and echoic landscape for conducted electronics, percussion and computer. This pair of works is titled echo::MEMORY. The Washington Post wrote that the Rotunda of the Gallery was transformed into “an immense temple of sound, presenting a program of theatrical new works that married humans with computers, and ancient myths with contemporary aesthetics.”

One becomes Two, for violin and real-time computer processing, premiered by violinist Lina Bahn at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC in March 2007, was described by The Washington Post as being

             performed with knowing sensitivity by Bahn, her violin plugged into Antosca's laptop, her fiddle
             generating ambient electronically controlled responses that were repeated or transformed into
             vaporous, liquid reflections of her sound

One becomes Two
had its European premiere in Paris by Ms. Bahn at the Festival de musique Américaine in May 2007 and has been performed throughout the US, Europe, and in China. One becomes Two was performed in New York in 2009 by Mari Kimura as a featured recital at the first New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF) and in the Atrium of I. M. Pei’s National Gallery of Art East Building at the 2010 CHANGES:seasons concert. In 2009, One becomes Two was a selected winner in the "Electroacoustic Music with Instruments" category of the 36th Bourges International Competitions and was performed as part of the International ElectroAcoustic Music Festival in Rome. A graphic page from the score was published in Notations 21, an anthology of illustrated contemporary scores.

In March 2007 the National Gallery of Art presented a concert of Antosca’s music and John Cage’s in conjunction with the Gallery’s exhibit Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting 1955 - 1965. In January 2001, Antosca produced the Exploring the American Piano concert for the Smithsonian’s Piano 300 Exhibition, celebrating 300 years of the piano. He premiered his work invisible landscape for piano and conducted electronics, described byThe Washington Post as “the highlight of the evening”.

His music has been performed throughout Europe at festivals and concerts. His work such a pure force was presented at the first edition of the International Electroacoustic Music Festival of the Conservatory of St. Cecilia in Rome in November 2008. His compositions have been presented at subsequent EMUfest concerts. During the 2008-2009 season, Antosca was part of the Cleveland Contemporary Players concert series at Cleveland State University with VERGE ensemble. VERGE has appeared as an ensemble in residence at June in Buffalo 2009 and in 2011 at the University of Virginia. In New York, he has appeared at The Stone, the Issue Project Room, and le poisson rouge with VERGE ensemble.

Pursuing an interest in events that connect music with technology, architecture and the arts, Antosca has developed crossingPoint, a series of collaborative events which present the work of musicians who adapt traditional ideas and content to contemporary circumstances using computer technology, showcasing their efforts in a series of singular presentations that join innovative music, technological resources, and nontraditional spaces. Through collaborative connections, these presentations promote innovative work and enhance the experience of audiences for modern music. Projects have included producing Sanctuary by composer Roger Reynolds in the Atrium of I. M. Pei’s East Building Auditorium, the Washington area 3gen Festival, and CHANGES:seasons, a series of concerts, lectures and workshops.

Antosca has lectured on music and music technology trends at universities and cultural institutions throughout the United States, and in Mexico. As part of crossingPoint, Antosca received a Meet the Composer grant for his lectures on composition and performance with music technology at Peabody Conservatory, the University of Maryland, American University, the Library of Congress Whittall Pavilion, the University of California, Washington Center, and the National Gallery of Art.

Antosca has been a guest lecturer at the Escuela Superior de Música in Mexico City and has been a regular guest lecturer at the University of Maryland as part of their Take Five series, and the College Park Scholars Program, including a colloquium on his music in November 2008. He has presented lectures on his music at the University of Virginia, Cleveland State University, and presented a lecture on his McKim commission at the Library of Congress Whittall Pavilion. In 2011/2012 Antosca was a guest composer and lecturer at the UMBC LIVEWIRE2 Festival and the University of Richmond Third Practice Festival, and with NGA nme as part of the Andy Warhol Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. He appeared with composer Morton Subotnick at the University of Maryland on their Take Five series to discuss Subotnick’s landmark Silver Apples of the Moon. Antosca has been guest composer at the Southeastern Composer’s League 1997 Festival of New Music and at Radford University’s New Horizons 2002 and 2005 festivals and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Antosca has worked with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian to present landmark concerts of new music by Native American composers for their Classical Native festivals in 2006 and 2007.

He has lectured on contemporary music at the Hirshhorn Gallery and was among a select group of artists asked to participate in the Inspiration Gallery of the Sargent and the Sea exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His work shadowland is represented in the MIT publication The Csound Book, and Antosca has been the subject of interviews with New Music Studio and NewMusicBox.

From 2002 through 2012, Antosca was Artistic Director and composer member of the highly regarded VERGE ensemble, modern music ensemble in residence at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The Washington Post wrote, the ensemble puts “modern classical music in front of the public with more dedication and skill than any other group in Washington” and “a power hitter on Washington's modest contemporary music scene, … a national presence.”

Antosca has a Master’s degree in Computer Music Composition from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. He lives and teaches in the Washington, DC area. He has been on the faculty of George Mason University, where he was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition. He has received numerous grants for teaching technology, including a three year award from the US Department of Education for a music technology teacher education program and has been an Artist in residence at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.


Steve Antosca

Steve Antosca at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC

Photo image credit: Gianmarco Antosca