Get to know our 2019 Composer-In-Residence, Theo Chandler!

Theo Chandler

Composer Theo Chandler’s relationship with MWF began when his Wind Octet won our 2016 Call for Scores and was performed and recorded during that year’s Maryland Wind Festival. In 2017 Theo wrote a second work for wind dectet called Prelude and Recitations for us to premiere at that summer’s festival. We are thrilled to have him as our 2019 composer-in-residence at the Maryland Wind Festival where we will premiere his new concerto for saxophone and winds, Trailing Wings. We have also programmed a reprise performance of Prelude and Recitations and plan to record both at the end of the Festival. Continue reading below to learn a little more about Theo!

When was your first encounter with music?

My first encounter with music was playing the recorder in 3rd grade. I could play a pretty good “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, but that is about as far as I got. I consider the official beginning of my musical life to be when I started playing clarinet in band in 6th grade.

When/How did you become interested in composing?

I was composing little tunes here and there when I was in high school. Once I got to Oberlin, I started taking composition lessons, so I finally had the motivation to finish pieces. From there I realized I enjoyed composing more than performing and gradually made the shift in my focus.

When did you decide you wanted to make it your career?

From early high school I had decided I wanted to be an orchestral clarinetist, and I was set on being a clarinetist when I started my undergrad. I changed path towards composition during my third year there. Essentially, I realized that I could compose for hours without getting bored, while practicing clarinet had become a bit more like work.

What are some of your favorite memories of a commission or performance of a piece?

I have been fortunate to have many rewarding experiences with my pieces. The most recent piece was The Elements for Les Delices, a Baroque group in Cleveland. The process of writing for period instruments was refreshing, because there was so much territory there I had not explored before. The players were wonderful to work with – I learned a lot from them and everyone was devoted to making the best possible performance.

What do you like to do outside of music?

I like to watch movies and go to art museums. My favorite movies are Ida by Paweł Pawlikowski and Playtime by Jacques Tati.

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