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David Schiff

David SchiffDAVID SCHIFF (1945 – ) was born in New York City and began composing as a child, but he elected to major in English literature during his undergraduate studies at Columbia College (Columbia University). He studied composition with John Corigliano and Ursula Mamlok at the Manhattan School of Music and with Elliott Carter at the Juilliard School, where he received his Doctorate of Musical Arts. He also has earned a master’s from Cambridge University.

Mr. Schiff’s major works include Sacred Service, for cantor, choir, organ and chamber orchestra and written for the 125th anniversary of Congregation Beth Israel of Portland, Oregon; the opera Gimpel the Fool, based on the short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer; Hallel, for cantor, choir and organ; Kedusha, for cantor, choir and organ; Havdalah Service, for cantor, flute and piano; and Vashti, or the Whole Megillah, a retelling of the Book of Esther for mezzo-soprano, clarinet and piano, commissioned by the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival.

Mr. Schiff’s music has been performed by major American orchestras and has been issued on recordings by the Delos, New World, Argo and Naxos labels. He continues to write, especially about 20th century music — but often in a wider historical context — and he contributes major articles frequently to The New York Times. He is also a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly, where his essays appear regularly.

Mr. Schiff has been a professor at Reed College in Portland since 1980, and he has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP (the Deems Taylor Award) and League of Composers / ISCM.

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