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photo credit: Elizabeth Bishop

I live in California's Central Valley region, where I compose, perform, and teach music. Much of my creative work is indebted to early-20th Century recordings of folk music from California's immigrant communities, which feel to me like serendipitous snapshots of unique and wonderful sonic moments whose spontaneity can seem to be incompatible with conventional ideas of what a composer does.

 

Two of my most recent projects, Field Reports (New Focus Recordings) and Song Collector (Bot Cave Records), seek to mediate between these various modes of music making. Another important recent project is a collaborative work, Site: Yizkor, which I created with the multidisciplinary artist Maya Ciarrocchi that investigates how and why people, cultures, and identities disappear, especially among marginalized communities.

 

In addition to my composing, I have toured throughout the United States and Europe as a guitarist and bassist with indie rock bands, bluegrass groups, and improvising ensembles. I received a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Recording for my work on The Hazel and Alice Sessions, by Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands.

 

I also think and write about music theory and composition pedagogy, and I teach at University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music, where I serve as Assistant Professor and Program Director of Composition and Music Theory.

Formal bio (short):

Andrew Conklin is a composer and performing musician who makes music that engages with American vernacular idioms and contemporary classical practices. His work has received recognition from the Bronx Museum of Art, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Pitchfork.com, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music on the Point, the Society for Music Theory, and the Center for Music Theory Pedagogy, the Society of Composers National Conference, the Lake George Music Festival, and the Florida State University Biennial New Music Festival. He is also a Grammy-nominated performer, having toured throughout the United States and Europe as a guitarist and bassist with indie rock bands, bluegrass groups, and improvising ensembles. Andrew’s music can be heard on New Focus Recordings and Bot Cave Records, and he serves as Program Director of Composition and Music Theory at University of the Pacific.

Former bio (long):

Andrew Conklin is a composer, songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist who makes music that engages both with American vernacular idioms and contemporary classical practices. He has appeared as a composer or performer throughout the United States and Europe, and his music has garnered recognition from diverse voices spanning the worlds of popular and classical music.

Andrew’s music is influenced by and indebted to the American folk musics that began to be documented in the early 20th century with the advent of newly accessible recording technology. In particular, his work draws inspiration from the recordings of these musics, which often feel like serendipitous snapshots of unique and wonderful sonic moments whose spontaneity can seem to be, on its face, incompatible with conventional ideas of what a composer does. Several of his recent projects, including Field Reports (New Focus Recordings, 2019) and Song Collector (Bot Cave Records, 2020), seek to mediate between these two modes of music making.

 

Andrew's work has received critical acclaim in blogs such as Pitchfork and The Line of Best Fit, and has been supported by grants from sources that include the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and Vox Novus. His first full-length album, If I Were More Like You, was praised in Filter Magazine as “one of the best collections of songs I’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to, ever”. Andrew's string quartet was a finalist for the 2017 Lake George Composition Competition and received performances at the 2017 Florida State University Biennial New Music Festival and the 2017 Society of Composers National Conference in Kalamazoo, MI. As a 2018 Millay Colony Fellow, Andrew worked on Song Collector, the second in a cycle of large-scale compositions that exist in dialog with Sidney Robertson Cowell’s field recordings of California folk songs from the late 1930s.

 

A versatile musical collaborator, Andrew earned a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Recording for his bass playing on The Hazel and Alice Sessions by Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands. His playing can be heard on record labels including Six Degrees, Spruce and Maple, Plug Research, City Slang, and Arhoolie, and he has recently contributed as a guitarist to recordings by Ben Goldberg, Meklit Hadero, and Michael Rocketship. He has also toured extensively in the United States and Europe as a guitarist and bassist with indie rock bands (Chris Cohen), bluegrass groups (Laurie Lewis), and improvising combos (Timosaurus). As a composer, Andrew has enjoyed fruitful partnerships with musicians from some of today’s most inquisitive new music ensembles, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, Ensemble Mise-En, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Connect, Tala Rasa Percussion, and the Calidore String Quartet.

 

Andrew has held teaching positions at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Stony Brook University, and has served as Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Theory at University of the Pacific since 2018.