Ted Hearne

Composer, singer and bandleader TED HEARNE draws on a wide breadth of influences ranging across music's full terrain, to create intense, personal and multi-dimensional works. The New York Times has praised Hearne for his "tough edge and wildness of spirit," and "topical, politically sharp-edged works." The Los Angeles Times said, "No single artist embodies the post-genre Brooklyn scene, but Hearne may be its most zealous auteur."

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Albums by Composer


Hearne's newest theatrical work, The Source, sets text from the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, along with words by Chelsea Manning (the US Army private who leaked those classified documents to Wikileaks), and was premiered to rave reviews in October 2014 at the BAM Next Wave Festival in Brooklyn, directed by Daniel Fish.The New York Times included The Source on its list of the best classical vocal performances of the year, noting that the work "offers a fresh model of how opera and musical theater can tackle contemporary issues: not with documentary realism - fim and television have that covered - but with ambiguity, obliquity, and even sheer confusion."

His piece Katrina Ballads, another modern-day oratorio with a primary-source libretto, was awarded the 2009 Gaudeamus Prize in composition and was named one of the best classical albums of 2010 by Time Out Chicago and The Washington Post.


Hearne performs/composes with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE, and their debut album (eponymous, New Focus Recordings) was called "eminently, if weirdly, danceable and utterly gripping."(Time Out Chicago). His work as a singer extends from the techniques explored in his own music to the music of his contemporaries, having recently performed songs by Timo Andres and Matt Marksand roles in avant-garde operas such as Jacob Cooper's Timberbrit and James Ilgenfritz's The Ticket that Exploded. Two new albums of Hearne's vocal music, The Source and Outlanders, will see released in 2015 on New Amsterdam Records.

Recent and upcoming commissions include orchestral works for the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharomic, New World Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and A Far Cry, chamber works for eighth blackbird, Living Earth Show, Yarn/Wire and the Flux Quartet, and vocal works for Volti, The Crossing, and Roomful of Teeth.


For eight years, Ted was the resident conductor of the Red Light Ensemble, and he has recently conducted the Wet Ink Ensemble, TILT Brass, Ensemble Pamplemousse, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He has served as music director for the world premiere of theatrical works by David Lang and Michael Gordon and conducted the American premieres of works by Beat Furrer, Simon Steen-Andersen and Enno Poppe.

Ted received the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2013, the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award in 2008 and 2012, and commissions from the Barlow Endowment and Fromm Foundation. He was twice an artist in residence at The MacDowell Colony and Chicago's High Concept Laboratories, and has collaborated with composer J.G. Thirlwell, jazz musician René Marie, harpist/composer Zeena Parkins and filmmaker Bill Morrison.


Ted comprises one-sixth of the composer collective Sleeping Giant.

Ted was awarded the 2014 New Voices Residency from Boosey and Hawkes, and recently joined the composition faculty at the University of Southern California. He attended Manhattan School of Music and Yale School of Music, and has studied with Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Ezra Laderman, David Lang, Nils Vigeland and Julia Wolfe.


“Barbara Bush 09.09.05″ from Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads: