Scott Ordway

Composition, Music Theory

Scott Ordway (1984, Santa Cruz, CA) is a composer, conductor, and an assistant professor of Composition and Theory at Rutgers University. From 2017–19, he will be a fellow at American Opera Projects in New York City. His work is multidisciplinary, fusing instrumental and vocal music with original text, video, digital soundscape, and experimental theater to explore a diverse array of contemporary themes including natural landscape, protest and revolution, and the lives of cities.

Over the past decade, Ordway has composed a series of large-scale works that bring together multiple artistic disciplines and humanistic subjects. Many of these explore the intersection of music and literature and, working in English, French, Spanish, and German, he has created numerous adaptations, collages, translations, and original texts for music. As an interdisciplinary scholar, he has published pieces on the relationship between text and musical form in The James Joyce Quarterly.

Ordway’s work has been called “exquisite” by The New York Times, “a marvel” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and “an American response to Sibelius” by The Boston Globe. He has collaborated with leading orchestras, ensembles, and soloists, including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood New Fromm Players, Lorelei Ensemble, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and the Momenta, Daedalus, and Arneis String Quartets, among many others.

Recent international collaborations include: a staged production of the tone poem Detroit at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler (Berlin); a commercial recording for NAXOS Records with the Hong Kong Philharmonic; performances at the Beijing Modern Music Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival; and an in-progress opera on the Arab Spring, with an original libretto by the Algerian author, scholar, and journalist Meryem Belkaïd.

In addition to grants and awards from ASCAP, NewMusicUSA, and the American Composers Forum, Ordway’s work has been supported by residencies and fellowships at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, June in Buffalo, and the chamber music festivals of Carolina, Portland (Maine), and Newburyport (Massachusetts). 

He earned his PhD in 2013 from the University of Pennsylvania. He also trained at the University of Oregon, University of Puget Sound, and in Europe at the Freie Universität Berlin and Accademia Chigiana (Siena). His composition teachers included Robert Kyr, Jay Reise, James Primosch, Samuel Adler, and Veljo Tormis. From 2014–17, Ordway was a member of the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.