Aaron Jay Kernis (born January 15, 1960) is an American composer and professor at the Yale School of Music.
Aaron Jay Kernis is Jewish, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory, and Yale University (under John Adams, Jacob Druckman, Morton Subotnick, and Charles Wuorinen).
Notable works include the New Era Dance, his second string quartet Musica Instrumentalis (which won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Music), Colored Field for English horn and orchestra (winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Music Composition, and later arranged for cello), Superstar Etude for piano, and Symphony in Waves.
He began his musical career studying the violin and then piano before deciding at age 13 to take up composition; this influence can be seen in his frequent and skillful use of strings in orchestral works and as solo instruments. At age 16 he won the first of three BMI Foundation Student Composer Awards, one of the most prestigious prizes for young composers. His use of instrumental color in general is notable, as is his integration of a variety of musical, literary, and social influences into his work. Kernis is an active composer in high demand by such groups as the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony; he currently also serves as Composer Institute Director for the Minnesota Orchestra and on the Artistic Advisory Panel of the BMI Foundation.
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Kernis is a Jewish American composer and professor at the Yale School of Music.
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