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Russell Platt

Adjunct Associate Professor of Music

Russell Platt holds a unique position in American music. As a composer, he is the winner of both the Charles Ives Scholarship and Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, a 2007 Copland House Fellowship, and several composer residencies at Yaddo. As a writer, he has been honored with a 2010 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, primarily in recognition of his work for The New Yorker, where he was the classical music editor and critic of Goings on About Town (and for newyorker.com) from 2000 to 2018. He joined the faculty of the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in August 2018.

Platt’s music is consistently performed by exceptional musicians, such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the conductor JoAnn Falletta, the Borromeo String Quartet, New York Festival of Song, the Knights, the Dale Warland Singers, the Metropolitan Opera tenor Paul Appleby, the bassoonists Peter Kolkay and George Sakakeeny, the violinist Frank Almond, and the conductor Alexander Platt with the Wisconsin Philharmonic and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.

Recent commissions include “Mountain Interval (String Quartet),” a work (inspired by poetry of Robert Frost) for the Borromeo String Quartet, which was written to celebrate the centenary of Woodstock’s legendary Maverick Concerts in 2016, and “Eurydice (a Serenade for Strings)” written for Switzerland’s Biel-Solothurn Symphony Orchestra (which was given its U.S. premiere in April of 2014 by the Buffalo Philharmonic). Current projects include Symphony: Clyfford Still for the Buffalo Philharmonic (to be premiered in spring 2020) and Trio by Night for pianist Bruce Levingston and Premiere Commission. George Sakakeeny’s recording of the Concerto for Bassoon and Strings (with Tim Weiss conducting the Oberlin Sinfonietta) was released in 2016 on the album Full Moon in the City.

An alumnus of Oberlin College, the Curtis Institute of Music, the University of Minnesota, and St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Platt’s principal teachers were Ned Rorem, Dominick Argento, Alexander Goehr, Robin Holloway, and Judith Lang Zaimont. His works for double reed instruments are published by TrevCo; his music can be heard on the Albany, Innova, and Oberlin Music labels.