Richard Pressley

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Richard Pressley was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He got his start in music playing with punk and rock bands in his early teens. He began his formal musical training at the University of Indianapolis, where he was encouraged to pursue composition after the professor saw some of the pieces he had written for his music theory class. He transferred to Butler University to pursue formal composition lessons with Dr. Michael Schelle; graduating with his Bachelor's of Music in Theory and Composition two years later. He was then awarded the Davies Jackson Studentship to St. John's College, Cambridge. There, he continued his music studies with renowned composers and scholars, studying composition privately with Daniel Chua. After completing the Cambridge B.A., he attended the University of Minnesota for his Ph. D, studying with Dominick Argento, Judith Lang Zaimont, and Alex Lubet; also participating in masterclasses with Chen Yi and Philippe Manoury. While completing his thesis on a graduate school thesis fellowship, he moved to Karlsruhe, Germany, where he attended the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule as a guest-student, studying composition privately and in classes with Wolfgang Rihm and Sandeep Bhagwati. The same summer he attended the 2002 Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music where he had private sessions with Tristan Murail, Johannes Kalitzke, Toshio Hosokawa, Robert H. P. Platz, Bernhard Lang, Isabel Mundry, and Jennifer Walshe. He has enjoyed performances of his works -- a number of which have been contest winning and/or requested new works -- in the U.S. and Europe. From Fall 2006 to Spring of 2009, he was Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at The Master's College in Santa Clarita, California; from 2009-2010 he was Adjunct Professor of Music Theory at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana; and from 2010-2011 he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Currently, he lives in Charleston, South Carolina with his wife, Johanna, and is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Charleston Southern University.

**= commissioned piece
Orchestral and Large Ensemble
** Maranatha, violin and small orchestra; 2005-2006 (10’) [Commissioned by Jim Riccardo, Music Director of the Medical Sciences Orchestra] Symphony in five movements, Ph. D Thesis, full orchestra; 1996-2005 (85′) Nocturne: Jeremiah 13:15-17, full orchestra [Movement III of Symphony]; 2004 (8’) [Honorable Mention 2005 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute] Three Songs Without Words, full orchestra; 2003 (10′) “then they will look on Me, the one they pierced” (Zechariah 12:10), five movements for full orchestra; 1997-2001 (14′) A Meditation on the Blood of Jesus the Messiah (Sketch #1), chamber orchestra; 1997 (3′) “And they shall be called oaks of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:3): ‘Fugues’, chamber ensemble; 1995 (8′) Gislebertus’ Eve, mezzo-soprano soloist, chorus, and chamber ensemble; 1994-1995 (10′) ** “In All Their Affliction He Was Afflicted,” (Isaiah 63:9), chamber orchestra; 1995 (7′) [Commissioned by Christopher Hayward, (then) Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Cambridge (England)] The Beatitudes, chorus and orchestra (unscored); 1993-94 (18′)
ankáthi, flute, ‘cello, contrabass; 2013 (30”) Lekythos, viola and guitar; 2013 (6’) Three Fragments, Bb clarinet, soprano saxophone, violin, contrabass; 2012 (4’) Omoi yuki, Bb clarinet and piano; 2012 (1') "the fell of dark", flute, viola, contrabass; 2011 (1’) Exaleípsas, flute and marimba; 2011 (1') A Meditation in Time of War, treble voice and piano; 2010 (1') Seven Haiku, wind quintet; 2010 (3 1/2') Three Haiku, flute Bb clarinet, violin, 'cello; 2010 (2') Aphasia, tenor voice, flute, oboe, horn, trombone, marimba, piano, percussion; 2010 (5') Percussion Quartet, four percussionists; 2010 (5') Moonlight on Snow (Christmas Eve), handbell ensemble; 2009 (5') Three Haiku, string sextet; 2009 (3’) the flattery of fire, any combination of four performers; 2009 (7′) Movement for String Quartet; 2000-2001 (5′12″) Two Intermezzi, string quartet; 2001 (2′) ** A Meditation on the Goodness of Jesus, viola and harp; 2001 (3′) [Commissioned by Mike and Kristi Goslar for their June, 2001 wedding] Trio for Bb clarinet, trombone, and cello; 2001 (7 1/2′) Tenebrae, soprano and piano; 1995 (3′) A Dream Within a Dream, soprano and piano; 1995 (3′) Lament, soprano and piano; 1994 (4′) Of God, To God, viola, bassoon, Bb clarinet, and oboe; 1992 (8′)
**Christ the King, Unison Choir and organ; 2013 (3’) [Commissioned by Christ the King Lutheran Church and Organist Greg Stone to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Columbia, South Carolina] **Eulogetos, Women’s Choir (SSA); 2008 (4’) [Commissioned by Dr. Carolyn Simons, Music Director of The Master’s College Women’s Chamber Choir] Introit (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1), SATB chorus; 1994 (2′) Five Verses on Salvation, SSATB chorus; 1994 (4′) Psalm 46, SATB double chorus; 1993 (10′)
Solo Instrumental and Vocal
Five Brushstrokes, guitar solo; 2013 (7’) Hinaufziehen, cor anglais solo; 2012 (1’) Call, harp solo; 2012 (1’) Aspiration, piccolo solo; 2012 (1’) as sparks fly upward, oud solo; 2012 (1’) with singing, piano solo; 2011 (1’) Etude #1 ‘Spirals', piano solo; 2011 (5 1/2’) Susurration, solo guitar; 2011 (1’) Branches, solo violin; 2011 (1’) Ephemera, solo harp; 2011 (1’) Patina, solo glockenspiel; 2010 (5 1/2’) Three Medium Guitar Etudes, solo guitar; 2010 (variable 3’-6') **in memoriam (hommage a Chopin), piano solo; 2009 (5’) [Commissioned by Dr. Richard Ratliff, Professor of Music Theory and Piano, The University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN] ** “...through a glass darkly...” in memoriam Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, piano solo; 2008 (7’) [Commissioned by Dr. Katherine Kelly, Professor of Piano, The Master’s College, Santa Clarita, CA] Isaiah 40:6-8, solo viola; 2008 (10’) Needles, solo instrument or voice; 2008 (4′) deplori, solo trombone; 2006 (8′) ‘Patience, hard thing!, solo instrument or voice; 2005 (4’) ‘Thou art indeed just, Lord, solo instrument or voice; 2005 (4’) Three Meditations on Zechariah 12:10 “then they will look on Me, the one they pierced,” piano solo; 2005 (12’) Psalm 119: 17-24, low voice or contrabass solo; 2004 (9’) Until Christ is Formed, mezzo-soprano or any treble instrument solo; 2004 (5’) Two Verses, bass voice solo; 2004 (4’) Psalm Fragments, viola or low voice solo; 2004 (7’) Nocturne: Jeremiah 13:15-17, piano solo; 2000 (7′) Psalm 119:41-48, contrabass solo; 1998-1999 (7′) Psalm 119:41-48, soprano solo; 1999 (3′) Psalm 119:41-48, any solo instrument; 1999 (3′) TULIP, piano solo; 1996 (3′) Praises to My Lord and God Jesus Christ on a Cadence by Michael Schelle, guitar solo; 1994-1995 (5′) God Whose Name is Holy, piano solo; 1994 (7′) Psalm 30:6-7, trumpet solo; 1994 (4′) My Supplication unto the Lord, alto saxophone solo; 1993 (3′) May God Be Exalted, suite for piano solo; 1993 (13′)
What We Did in Texas, a short film by D. J. Kaufmann, 2007 (18’)


String Quartet #1
The work opens abruptly into a complex polyphonic dialogue among the instruments. As it proceeds, passages of rhythmic agreement quickly fragment, diverge into complex polyphony, and coalesce only to diverge once more. After a pause, an expressive melody emerges amid pulsing sixteenth notes that gets passed around the ensemble. Shortly thereafter, the rhythm attenuates and an almost static section consisting primarily of string harmonics follows. This “suppression” of the initial rhythmic impetus does not succeed, and fleet rhythmic fragments begin to emerge within the texture which gradually build and accelerate into another section of rhythmic convergence and divergence as before. After a time, the rhythm once again attenuates; this time coming to a complete stop. A sudden eruption of polyphony follows, but this accelerates into a section of complex unisons. One last outburst of polyphony concludes the piece.