Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, composer Jeffrey Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions.
Awards include the "Academy Award in Music" from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and an ASCAP Aaron Copland Scholarship. He was also the winner of the inaugural National Black Arts Festival/Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition.
Other grants have been awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, Meet the Composer, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music Inc. , the ASCAP Foundation, and the University of California.
Mumford's most notable commissions include those from the San Antonio Symphony, Washington Performing Arts, the Fulcrum Point New Music Project (through New Music USA), Duo Harpverk (Iceland), the Sphinx Consortium, the Cincinnati Symphony, the VERGE Ensemble /National Gallery of Art/Contemporary Music Forum, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Ole Bohn, the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt (Vienna), the Network for New Music, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a consortium of presenters consisting of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Chamber Music Columbus (OH.) and Omus Hirshbein, the Nancy Ruyle Dodge Charitable Trust, the Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA the National Symphony Orchestra (twice), Cincinnati radio station WGUC, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Fromm Music Foundation, and the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress.
His music has been performed extensively, by major orchestras, soloists, and ensembles, both in the United States and abroad, including London, Paris, Reykjavik, Vienna, & The Hague.
Recent and forthcoming performances include amid fleeting pockets of billowing radiance, by ‘cellist Christine Lamprea, in Jacksonville, Fl., and at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, three windows for soprano. ‘cello & harp, by Alyson Cambridge, Christine Lamprea and Ina Zdorovetchi, respectively at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in soft echoes . . . a world awaits, by Sound Energy, this season, in Boston, and by members of Ensemble 212, in New York, revisting variazioni elegiaci . . . once more by ‘cellist Deborah Pae, in New York and Elyria, OH, an expanding distance of multiple voices, by violinist Luosha Fang, in New York, undiluted days, by The Meadowlark Trio, in New York, eight musings . . . revisiting memories, by violinist Caroline Chin, in Toledo & Lorain OH., and a portrait concert of his music in Boston (funded by New Music USA). As well, noted Italian pianist, Pina Napolitano will include his two Elliott Carter tributes in her European concerts this and next season, with plans to record them as part of a disc of American piano music.
Current projects include, verdant cycles of deepening spring, a violin concerto for Caroline Chin, a new string quartet for an international consortium (including ensembles from London, Berlin, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Boston & New York, of radiances blossoming in expanding air, for ‘cello & chamber orchestra, for Deborah Pae,. unfolding waves, a piano concerto for Italian pianist Pina Napolitano and the SMASH Ensemble based in Spain, and the ongoing set of “rhapsodies” for ‘cello & strings.
His 2013 residency at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, included three concerts featuring his music as well as lectures at three area universities and his alma mater, the Sidwell Friends School. He was (2008) Composer-in Residence at the Alba (Italy) Music Festival and The Chamber Music Conference and Composers Forum of the East (Bennington, VT), and returned there in 2013. As well, his program notes (commissioned by the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood) for three works of Elliott Carter were published as part of a celebration of Mr. Carter’s music.
Mumford has taught at the Washington Conservatory of Music, served as Artist-in-Residence at Bowling Green State University, and served as assistant professor of composition and Composer-in-Residence at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. He is currently Distinguished Professor at Lorain County Community College in Northern Ohio.
Mr. Mumford is published by Theodore Presser Co. and Quicklight Music.
What the critics say:
" . . . filled with incredible imagination and beautiful orchestrational detail - really superb"
- JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony & Ulster Orchestra
”. . . has an unerring knack for fashioning rigorous works as changeable as cloudscapes, bursting with color, nuance and poetry”.
- Steve Smith, N.Y. Times
“ . . . a philosophy of music making that embraced both raw passion and a gentle imagistic poetry . . his pieces carry musical evocations of the effects he describes”
- Alan Kozinn, N.Y. Times
“ . . . a composer who makes something mesmerizing and beautiful out of harmonic ambiguity . . Compelling listening”
“. . . a coloristic glow created by the leisurely unfolding of layered lines . . . contemplative with gleaming touches evoking poetic sonic imagery”
- Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“ . . . a gracious use of instruments and a style of writing that is abstract yet attractively figurative”
- Joseph Dalton, Time Out New York
"The work depicts clouds in motion… Largely static, often pointillistic . . . skillfully exploits sonorities and moods, with reflective passages interrupted by threatening sounds."
- Derrick Henry, Atlanta Journal / Constitution
"The harmonies are dense but never impenetrable, the orchestral colors are downright prismatic, the dissonances are aggressive and angular yet brimming with poetry and nuance."
“ . . . a fine strong piece . . a near Medieval purity of line. . . “
- Tim Page, Washington Post
”The result is a piece that exults in frequent shifts of color and sharply delineated gestures, the violin unleashing silvery soprano-register lines that dovetail with shimmering pitched percussion and sostenuto brass and wind passages.”
- Christian Carey, Musical America
“ . . . complex and richly imaginative music in which an almost romantic sensibility seems to radiate through a thoroughly contemporary surface.”
- Stephen Brookes, Washington Post
“ . . . stretches the listeners’ ears and imaginations”
- Mary Hoffman, Columbus (OH) Dispatch
". . . this music...has a deeply thoughtful, even soulful integrity. . ."
“… Mumford is a composer to watch."
- Robert Carl, Fanfare
“Mumford is an astute craftsman who understands the different timbres and their subtlety”
- Sorab Modi, The STRAD