Ian Evans Guthrie - The young emerging American composer-pianist

Ian Evans Guthrie also loves performing solo and collaboratively on the piano.

The music of composer, pianist, organist, and teacher Ian Evans Guthrie. I have included some of my latest works on this page; however, since I can only include a select few pieces, I also encourage you to visit my website at ianguthriecomposer.com for more information - like my CV, biography, list and recordings of compositions, and business!

Ian Evans Guthrie, an emerging composer, performer, researcher, and collaborator, has received 1st prize for the Mile High Freedom Band, Noosa-ISAM, and Arcady Composition competitions, 2nd prize for the American Prize, a nomination for a 2020 award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and other accolades for his compositions. Many of his works have been performed publicly around the world by fEARnoMUSIC, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Moore Philharmonic Orchestra, VIPA, highSCORE Music Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, and others. He has served on various committees, including the Society of Composers, Inc., where he served as the Region VI Student Representative from 2015 to 2017 before serving as Assistant Marketer (2018-20) and Marketer (since February 2020). His most recent works at the time of writing include Voices of the Earth for band, Shuksan Storm for orchestra, tracks for the permanent collection and a special exhibition at the Venvi Art Gallery, and the score for the story ballet The Queen of Nori. As a pianist, Guthrie has won awards from MTNA, the Great Composer Competition, and other organizations. Guthrie maintains an active solo and collaborative pianist, frequently performing his own works and those of other contemporary composers, including Dmitri Tymoczko. He is also an improviser, often combining hits in various genres with his compositional intuition, particularly with dancers and casual audiences. He began accompanying choirs and soloists at nine, and two years later made his first appearance on the Vancouver Seafarer’s Concert. Most recently, he has won and 2nd prize in the Great Composers Competition: Music of America and many other top prizes from GCC competitions. He has also won the 2013-14 Oregon MTNA young artist’s competition, the 2014 Brookings-Harbor Friends of Music scholarship, and 1st prize in the college-level OMTA scholarship competition in 2012. In September 2008, he and Mary Stone performed Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with Portland’s Columbia Symphony Orchestra. He also actively researches the music business historically and currently, as well as the relationship between harmony and rhythmic cells. He has also presented papers on The Business With Composers at many SCI conferences, and the article is published in the SCI Newsletter. He has presented his paper Rhythm as Function: Labeling the other progression across the United States and Canada. Guthrie received his Doctor of Music as a Graduate Teaching Assistant from Florida State University, where he studied composition with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Stephen Montague, Clifton Callender, Mark Wingate, and Ladislav Kubik, and piano with Heidi Louise Williams. He received his Master of Music in Composition/Theory as a Graduate Assistant at Texas Christian University, where he studied composition with Till MacIvor Meyn, Martin Blessinger, and Blaise Ferrandino, and piano with John Owings and Gloria Lin. He received his Bachelor of Music at Marylhurst University, where he studied composition with John F. Paul and piano with Renato Fabbro. He will serve as the accompanist, arranger, and composer for Staley High School beginning in August, 2021, and will also serve as a dance accompanist for the 2021 Interlochen Summer Camp. He has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford, and accompanied dance for Florida State University. For more information about Ian Guthrie and his music, please visit ianguthriecomposer.com.


Flight for Freedom (2020)
Flight for Freedom depicts transcendental soaring, a feeling that can only begin to be grasped in the high mountain peaks. Especially with the relentless COVID-19 pandemic, various cultures have had to face amplified forms of oppression and struggle, and this work is an attempt to depict the real and metaphorical mountains we need to overcome. This work was commissioned by the Mile High Freedom Band, and was proposed based on their planned 2021 program “Soaring,” which, at the time of the commission (and through most of the composition process) was perhaps the most ironic concert program for the times. Thus, I wanted to create a work that was incredibly accessible, challenging, engaging, and uplifting, one that could engage all orientations, excite the afflicted, educate the youth, and entertain the masses. Yet the hope we all desire is not one that always comes easily, but only through constant perseverance. Thus, the piece begins with many sighing motives, powerful attacks, languishing melodies, all leading to glorious rainbows of arched melodies declaring a final victory. This idea became the perfect fit for the Mile High Freedom Band. When the director informed me that they had nearly 100 players—including eight percussionists —I knew that the struggle for victory would be heard not only a mile high, but a mile away. The hope and triumph portrayed in this work is of the most rewarding kind, one that is to engage all people at the deepest level, a global message for a world far exceeding the hundred or so performers in the ensemble. With every day bringing new hopes and challenges, we need all available persons to exhort others to persevere, especially when they are not aware of these possibilities. The mission of this work, just like the mission of the Mile High Freedom Band, is “to engage, excite, educate, and entertain” a spirit of change, vocation, preservation, and transcendence in its audiences, and I hope it does exactly that for you.
Treacherous Tepuy (2019)
Sometimes, titles inspire my compositions; other times, my compositions inspire titles, as in the case of this piece. While composing for the amazing ensemble yMusic, material developed so organically, but I had no program attached to it. Therefore, I based the title of this composition on a question: What feels both treacherous and thrilling to me? I used to never fear heights, but that all changed when I had a near-death fall on a hike a few years ago. Thus, my favorite views often require me to overcome one of my phobia. A tepuy (meaning “house of the gods”) refers to a mesa in South America that rises thousands of feet above a jungle. Although I have not (yet) ascended one, I imagine they share some similarities with the snowclad peaks I have. Fun yet fatal, there is nothing quite like the rollercoaster thrills of climbing big peaks. However, since this piece began without a title, I encourage you to listen with an open mind to whatever storyline you hear. The piece begins with snippets of what is to come, and then it hits the ground running on a treacherous journey to its thrilling ending. What lies behind? That does not matter—enjoy the top first!
Where Dreams Come True (2019)
My song cycle of Dark Forest (2016) was not performed until November 2017 by Orion Canter. Sofia Scattarreggia, one of Orion’s friends, overheard his practice and performance of the work. Just under a year later, Sofia and I were both in the same class at Florida State University, when she commented on her liking for Dark Forest and then asked me to write her a song cycle. Thus the ideas for Where Dreams Come True were born. I became determined to compose a cycle evolving from what we think of metaphorical dreams (daydreams) to actual dreams, which are not always so idealistic. While I tried various poetry, much of it did not fit the overall storyline I envisioned. Finally, during my residency at Centrum (Port Townsend, WA) in December 2018, I finally decided on setting several public domain poems by Sara Teasedale. Although she wrote many poems dealing with dreams, the four I chose—April Song, Come, The Summer Storm, and Nightfall—never mention dreams verbatim; therefore, I routinely insert phrases such as “This is the place where dreams come true” throughout the cycle.
A Farewell Elegy (2017)
This is my most recent work for piano. As with many pieces, the title is actually more open-ended than it sounds, and you are free to come up with the most suitable image for you.