Robert Kyr

Robert Kyr
Born 1952
Occupation(s) Composer, writer, filmmaker, and professor of music composition and theory.

Robert Kyr (born 1952) is an American composer, writer, filmmaker, and Philip H. Knight Professor of Music Composition and Theory.[1]

Kyr is one of the most prolific composers of his generation, having written 12 symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, numerous large works for orchestra, oratorios and other large-scale choral works, and a wide variety of chamber music.[2][3]

Luminous and sometimes ecstatic in effect, Kyr's work is basically tonal, and often harmonically and rhythmically complex, its sophistication deriving from its synthesis of both modern and ancient modes,[4][5] as well as Western and Asian musical traditions.[6] An engaged activist for world peace[7] and environmentalism,[5] Kyr has initiated a number of projects that bring together musicians from diverse cultures,[8] or combine music with other media,[9] and touch upon current or historical events.[10][11]

The concepts and titles of Robert Kyr's works often point to their spiritual and metaphysical dimensions: A Time For Life,[5] In Praise of Music,[12][13] On The Nature of Love (Violin Concerto No.1),[14] Unseen Rain,[15] Songs of The Shining Wind,[4] Into the Hour of New Life,[16] White Tigers,[17] and The Passion According to Four Evangelists.[18][19]

Kyr's music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Chanticleer (San Francisco), Cappella Romana (Portland), Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, New West Symphony (Los Angeles), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Yale Camerata, Oregon Repertory Singers, Cappella Nova (Scotland), Revalia (Estonia), Putni (Latvia), Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia), Ensemble Project Ars Nova, Back Bay Chorale (Boston), and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra among others.[2][20]

Three compact discs of Kyr's music are currently available through New Albion Records: Violin Concerto Trilogy;[21] Unseen Rain;[15] and The Passion According to Four Evangelists.[18] In addition, his music has been featured on several compilation discs including, Faces of a Woman,[22][23] Celestial Light: Music by Hildegard von Bingen and Robert Kyr,[23] The Fourth River: The Millennium Revealed,[23] and Strange Attractors: New American Music for Piano.[24]

Kyr has held teaching positions at Yale University, UCLA, the Longy School of Music and since 1990, has been Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Oregon,[1] which also includes David Crumb on the faculty. Kyr also directs the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium,[2] the University of Oregon Composers Forum, the Music Today Festival, and the Vanguard Concert and Workshop Series, as well as the Pacific Rim Gamelan.[1][25]

Kyr received his Bachelor's Degree from Yale University in 1974, followed by a Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, and a Ph.D from Harvard University in 1989, where previously, he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows.[26] He also studied at the Royal College of Music in London, England (1974–76).[27] His primary teachers included Donald Martino, Earl Kim, George Rochberg[28] and George Crumb.[29]


  1. 1 2 3 "Robert Kyr, University of Oregon Faculty Biography". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 "Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, 2009 Guest Artists". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  3. Campbell, Brett (July 17, 2006). "Portland: A Kyr for Insomnia". NewMusicBox. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  4. 1 2 Oestreich, James R. (October 26, 1991). "Classical Music in Review". The New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  5. 1 2 3 Kellerman, Michael (October 16, 2009). "Review - A Time For Life". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  6. Hawley, David (October 8, 2008). "'Ashes Into Light': a meditation on the Nagasaki bombing". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  7. Campbell, Brett (Spring 2006). "Peace and Music: a composer commemorates Nagasaki" (PDF). Oregon Humanities (magazine). Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  8. "Bridges - Ashes Into Light". Minnesota Chorale website. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  9. Johnson, Brett (April 12, 2007). "A master of music and a master photographer make unique art together". Ventura County Star. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  10. van Ryzin, Jeanne Claire (October 8, 2009). "Conspirare sings a green song". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  11. Buske, Jennifer (January 15, 2009). "A Lament, And Lesson, Made Real By Song". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  12. Dudley, Anna Carol (September 17, 2006). "A Chorus for Any Composer". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  13. Malone, Andrew Lindemann (November 1, 2006). "Chanticleer, Playing Tag With the Text". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  14. "Art of the States: Violin Concerto No. 1". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  15. 1 2 "New Albion Records-Ensemble Pan-Unseen Rain". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  16. Walton, Kenneth (December 17, 2001). "A time to remember". The Scotsman. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  17. "Art of the States: White Tigers". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  18. 1 2 "New Albion Records-The Passion According To Four Evangelists". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  19. Dyer, Richard (April 9, 1995). "The inner world of Robert Kyr's Passion". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  20. "Oregon Symphony 2009/10 Season Guest Speaker Bio, Robert Kyr". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  21. "New Albion Records-Violin Concerto Trilogy". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  22. "MDG Recording-Faces of a Woman". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  23. 1 2 3 "Tapestry vocal ensemble, List of recordings with listening samples". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  24. "Albany Records-Strange Attractions". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  25. "Pacific Rim Gamelan". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  26. "Current and Former Harvard Junior Fellows by Field". Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  27. International Who's Who in Classical Music 2003. London: Europa Publications. 2003. p. 439.
  28. Dixon, Joan DeVee (1992). George Rochberg: a bio-bibliographic guide to his life and works. Pendragon Press. p. 36.
  29. Holtz, Jackson (July 1, 2004: Paragraph 14). "Inspirational composer to be featured at Symposium". Oregon Bach Festival. Retrieved December 10, 2009. Check date values in: |date= (help)
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