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Scott-GendelScott Gendel (b. 1977) is a freelance composer and arranger, as well as a vocal coach and accompanist for singers and opera companies. Recently, he recorded his piece “At Last” with soprano Camille Zamora and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as part of “An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing For Hope,” a recording released on Naxos Records and GPR, benefiting amFAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In 2006, Scott won first prize in the ASCAP / Lotte Lehmann Foundation Song Cycle Competition. That award led to a large song cycle commission from ASCAP and the Lehmann Foundation, performance of that commissioned work in three major American cities by the Joy in Singing Foundation, and publication of the work by ECS. Scott is now emerging as a composer on the national and international scene.

Opera News has called Scott’s music “luminous, transcendently lyrical.” The NATS Journal of Singing calls Scott’s work “beautiful… unabashedly romantic in nature and style, though the harmonies contain just the right amount of dissonance to keep the dreamlike quality intact.” Composer Daron Hagen wrote for NewMusicBox, the web magazine of the American Composers Forum, that “Scott Gendel’s art songs combine superb craftsmanship, a sophisticated and well-honed sense of prosody, texts of excellent literary quality, and a sure heart.”

DSC_7600As a composer, his music has a wide-ranging scope, but Scott is particularly fond of all things vocal, having written sixteen song cycles, fifteen stand-alone songs and duets, five pieces for voices and orchestra, thirty-six choral works, two full-length musical theatre works, and two operas. Scott received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a minor in opera accompanying and vocal coaching. Just after finishing his studies at UW-Madison, Scott served on the faculty for two years, designing and teaching an undergraduate composition curriculum.

As a collaborative pianist, Scott has performed a wide range of repertoire, including performances with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in operatic productions, professional musical theatre performances with the Barter Theatre, a featured performance with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, and recitals with faculty members at various colleges. He has also been Music Director at Endstation Theatre Company and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Theatre. In addition to coaching many singers from around the country, Scott is the official staff pianist / vocal coach for Madison Opera, and has worked in that capacity for Opera North and the UW-Madison Opera program.

DSC_7514Some of Scott’s recent commissions include “All Souls,” a cantata for soprano, baritone, large choir, and orchestra, commissioned by All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington DC; “It Was My Father’s Custom,” commissioned by the Madison Symphony Orchestra and Madison Youth Choirs; “Advice to Those Like Me, With Hearts Like Kindling,” commissioned for the Carnegie Hall debut of soprano Melody Moore; and “Unearthed,” a full-length musical theatre work incorporating Appalachian folk music and operatic style into an American Musical Theatre context, commissioned by the Endstation Theatre Company.

Scott’s music is published by Classical Vocal Reprints, ECS Publishing, and the Tuba/Euphonium Press. His art songs have been recorded on Albany Records, GPR Records, and Naxos. When he’s not writing or playing music, he enjoys as many moments as he can find with his amazing wife Kelly and his two daughters, Lotte and Twyla.

photography by Katrin Talbot