Director of the Music Department, Professor of Composition
Grammy®-winning composer Robert Livingston Aldridge (1954, Richmond, VA) has written over 60 works for orchestra, opera, music-theater, dance, string quartet, solo and chamber ensembles. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has received numerous fellowships and awards for his music from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Massachusetts Artist’s Foundation, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Meet the Composer, the American Symphony Orchestra League, the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. His opera, Elmer Gantry, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, with a libretto by HerschelGarfein, was given its fully-staged world premiere by Nashville Opera in November 2007, and received very positive reviews in The New York Times (‘Behold! An Operatic Miracle’), The Wall Street Journal, and Opera News. Excerpts from Elmer Gantry were performed by New York City Opera on their 2007 VOX Festival. An orchestral suite from Elmer Gantry was commissioned by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and premiered on their opening season gala in September 2011, an event which received international coverage. The Naxos CD of Elmer Gantry was released in July 2011, and received two Grammy® Awards in 2012: for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, and for Best Engineered Classical Recording. Opera News ranked the Naxos recording of Elmer Gantry #1 in the Best Opera Recordings of the Year, 2011.
Aldridge was commissioned by Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to compose a clarinet concerto for David Singer, which premiered in April and May 2005 and was released on compact disc by Naxos Recordings in 2010 (deemed "a brilliant new concerto" by Gramophone). The world premiere of his 50-minute symphonic oratorio, Parables (also written with librettist HerschelGarfein), a work commissioned by the Topeka Symphony, took place in May 2010. Other highlights include continuing performances of Elmer Gantry in both regional professional and college/conservatory productions in Milwaukee, Houston and Minneapolis. His music has been conducted by Keith Lockhart and Jeffrey Kahane, as well as performed by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. Orchestral and operatic performances of his commissioned work include the Nashville Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra.
He has been composer-in-residence at the Brevard Music Festival since 2006. He was an American orchestral league/music alive composer-in-residence and has been a composer-in-residence at the American Dance Festival, the University of Minnesota, and Colorado University. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony on five occasions since 1987. In 1989, he was chosen to represent the New York Foundation for the Arts in a solo concert of his music at Lincoln Center. He was a founder of the Composers in Red Sneakers, a composer consortium which achieved international recognition in 1980’s. In 1991 he received a National Endowment Recording Grant for a compact-disc of his chamber music for saxophone. His compositions are exclusively published by Edition Peters (CF Peters Corporation).
Aldridge received a Doctorate in Composition from the Yale School of Music, a master’s degree in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was professor of composition at Montclair State University 2000-2012, director of the Cali School, 2006-2009 and chair of the music department, 2005-2011. Currently he is professor and director of the music department at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.