Interview with Composer George Tsontakis


This interview for the journal ICONI,
taken by Dr. Edward Green, Professor
at the Manhattan School of Music, is
with one of the leading composers of the
United States, George Tsontakis. A professor
at Bard Conservatory of Music, he is the
recipient of numerous awards for his work,
including the prestigious Grawmeyer
Award for his Second Violin Concerto.
Professor Tsontakis’ work — nearly all of it
commissioned — is wide-ranging in terms
of genre, imaginative in its orchestrations,
and always strongly emotional. Included in
this interview are discussions of some of the
biographical background to a number of his
major pieces, including The Past, The Passion.
Among the subjects discussed is the meaning
of “concerto.” Several of his concertos and
concerto-like compositions are specifically
discussed in this interview, including Man
of Sorrows (piano), and Sonnets (English
Horn). The interview also touches upon
his relations with two important American
composers of earlier generation: George
Rochberg, and Roger Sessions — who had
been Tsontakis’ teacher of composition at

Contemporary Composer

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