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Ted Hearne


Composer, performer and bandleader TED HEARNE (b. 1982, Chicago) draws on a wide breadth of influences ranging across music’s full terrain, to create intense, personal and multi-dimensional works. The New York Times has praised Hearne for his “tough edge and wildness of spirit” and “topical, politically sharp-edged works.” and The Los Angeles Times has said “No single artist embodies the post-genre Brooklyn scene, but Hearne may be its most zealous auteur.”

Hearne’s newest theatrical work, The Source, sets text from the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, along with words by Chelsea Manning (the US Army private who leaked those classified documents to Wikileaks), and will be premiered in October 2014 at the BAM Next Wave Festival in Brooklyn. His piece Katrina Ballads, another modern-day oratorio with a primary source libretto, was awarded the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize in composition and was named one of the best classical albums of 2010 by Time Out Chicago and The Washington Post

Recent and upcoming commissions include orchestral works for the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and A Far Cry, chamber works for eighth blackbird, Yarn/Wire and the Flux Quartet, and vocal works for Volti, The Crossing and Roomful of Teeth.

Ted’s most recent collaboration paired him with hiphop/soul icon Erykah Badu, for whom he wrote an evening-length work fusing new compositions with arrangements of songs from her 2008 album New Amerykah: Part One. Premiered by Badu with Alan Pierson and the Brooklyn Philharmonic in two sold-out performances at BAM, the work was met with instant acclaim. The New York Times praised the “rich harmony and tonal range and pulsation” of the music, while The L Magazine called the show “a real triumph… together, it was a masterpiece of performance – a singer, orchestra and arranger not only at their bests but also perfectly fused.”

Active as a conductor of contemporary music, Ted served for eight years as resident conductor of Red Light Ensemble, and he has recently conducted the Wet Ink Ensemble, TILT Brass, Ensemble Pamplemousse, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). 

Hearne performs/composes with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE. Their debut album (eponymous, New Focus Recordings), was called “eminently, if weirdly, danceable and utterly gripping.” (Time Out Chicago).  He is also one-sixth of the composer collective Sleeping Giant, and his forthcoming album of songs, Outlanders, will see release on New Amsterdam Records in Fall 2015.

Ted Hearne attended Manhattan School of Music and Yale School of Music. He has received fellowships from the Barlow Endowment, the Fromm Music Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and ASCAP, and two residencies at The MacDowell Colony. He was awarded the 2014 New Voices Residency from Boosey and Hawkes, and recently joined the composition faculty at University of Southern California.