Aaron Jay Kernis

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Aaron Jay Kernis

Aaron Jay Kernis, born 1960 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the most highly-honored contemporary composers. He studied at the Manhattan School of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory, and Yale University, under John Adams, Jacob Druckman, Morton Subotnick and Charles Wuorinen.

Notable works include the New Era Dance, his second string quartet musica instrumentalis (which won the 1998 Pulitzer prize), Colored Field for English horn and orchestra, and Symphony in Waves.

He began his musical career studying the violin and then piano before deciding at age 13 to take up composition; this influence can be seen in his frequent and skillful use of strings in orchestral works and as solo instruments. His use of instrumental color in general is notable, as is his integration of a variety of musical, literary, and social influences into his work. Kernis is an active composer in high demand by such groups as the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony; he currently also serves as New Music Advisor for the Minnesota Orchestra.

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