Grammy Award-winning composer to direct Music Dept.

bob AldridgeComposer Robert Livingston Aldridge has been named director of the Music Department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Aldridge will begin work on July 1, 2012.

“We are delighted with the appointment of Robert Livingston Aldridge as Director of the Music Department,” says George B. Stauffer, Dean of the Mason Gross School. “He is a distinguished composer, winner of a Grammy for Elmer Gantry, and recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, and other prestigious fellowships. He is an experienced administrator as well, having served as Chair of the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University for six years. And he brings to the Music Department a wealth of professional connections that will benefit our students and faculty alike. We are fortunate to have this elegant artist and leader join the Mason Gross team.”        

Aldridge has written more than 80 works for orchestra, opera, musical theater, voice, dance, string quartet, solo and chamber ensembles, including the critically praised opera Elmer Gantry, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis with a libretto by Herschel Garfein. Nashville Opera gave Elmer Gantry its fully staged world premiere in November 2007, and Aldridge received a Grammy Award in 2012 for best Contemporary Classical Composition for the Elmer Gantry recording.

“The Opera Institute at Rutgers was an important factor for me, that there’s a funded place for the production of opera,” Aldridge says, referring to the school’s recent expansion of its opera program as a result of a $6.6 million bequest to Mason Gross from the estate of 1977 University College alumna Victoria J. Mastrobuono. “I really want to move that forward.”

Aldridge also says he hopes to establish a musical-theater program, as he did along with other department chairs at Montclair State.

“I am very excited about working with the Theater and Dance departments to develop interdisciplinary programs,” he says. A musical-theater program “is something to be seriously considered and done.”

Other Aldridge works include: Leda and the Swan (2003); Clarinet Concerto (commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and premiered by David Singer in 2005; Naxos recording 2010). His music has been performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center and has recently been conducted by Keith Lockhart and performed by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. He was a founder of the Boston-based Composers in Red Sneakers, an internationally recognized composer consortium.

Aldridge, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in literature, also holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (MM, Composition) and the Yale University School of Music (MMA and DMA, Composition). He was the founding director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University from 2006 to 2009 and served as chair of the Music Department at Montclair State University from 2005 to 2011.

Media inquiries: Laurie Granieri, 848-932-5239

Posted April 2012