“A new voice on our horizon is felt and heard with [composer] Debra Kaye” (Classical Modern Music Review). Her visceral music has been described as “an eclectic unfolding of creativity” (Gramophone), it ranges from lyrical to grooving, experimental to coloristic but above all, expressive and deeply felt. Kaye is a hybrid and her music reflects it. Born in Motown, currently living in New York City, she moved to an Atlanta of the deep south at an early age. Her life and music reflect a desire to feel, understand and to integrate opposites.
Winner of 6 Global Music Awards, her 2023 portrait disc IKARUS AMONG THE STARS (Navona Records), was singled out for particular acclaim – “…this album affirms Ms. Kaye’s stature as a singular voice for today’s Modern scene….Each work is a gem…” (Gregory Applegate Edwards). New York Concert Review describes her solo violin work, TURNING IN TIME as “a tour de force” as premiered by Kinga Augustyn on her album of the same name. Kaye’s debut album AND SO IT BEGINS (Ravello Records), produced by GRAMMY-winning Judith Sherman appeared on Ted Gioia’s list of top 100 CDs and was described as, “…inspirational, an album that will surely stand the test of time” (babysue.com).
Selected career highlights include premieres at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, commissions from the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Howland Chamber Music Circle, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Kyo- Shin-An Arts, Chicago’s Access Contemporary Music and the Off- Broadway production of The Ugly Duckling produced by Literally Alive Family Theatre which earned enthusiastic notice in the New York Times in each of its three extended runs.
The music of Debra Kaye has been heard on Chicago’s WFMT Radio, WPRB’s Classical Discoveries (Princeton), Berkeley’s KALX, WMBR, Cambridge and others. She has been a featured composer on “Music of our Mothers”, WFCF (Flagler College) and has been interviewed on WMHT (Albany); WRUU (Savannah), in HokToc Magazine, and in Adriano Bassi’s book, “A Guide to Women Composers” (Odoyo). New Music USA’s New Music Box published a series of Kaye’s articles about the process and inspiration for her music (NewMusicBox/DebraKaye). Her music has been recorded by acclaimed artists including Naumberg-winning clarinetist, Charles Neidich, the Daedalus Quartet and Lincoln Trio.
Ms. Kaye is recognized with grants and awards from Meet the Composer, ASCAP Plus, Mannes College, New School University and the Edward T. Cone Foundation. She has held composing residencies at the Millay Colony and Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. An advocate for new music, Debra serves on the board of the New York Women Composers and is an associate director with Composers Concordance.
A graduate of Mannes College of Music and New York University, she served on the faculty of the Mannes College Preparatory Division from 1991 to 2018. When not composing, she loves to read, is playful and enjoys the company of friends and nature. Debra is a life-long diarist and an avid amateur photographer.