Heralded as “A new voice on our horizon” (Classical Modern Music Review) and praised by Gramophone magazine for music possessing “an eclectic unfolding of creativity,” composer Debra Kaye’s works range from lyrical to grooving, experimental to coloristic but above all, expressive and deeply felt.
The 2022-23 season celebrates the premiere of 6 new works including a commission from the accordion quartet Bachtopus, a new quintet for eGALitarian Brass, and a new jazz influenced work for string quintet and percussion. Kaye responds to our world situation through two pieces with text by Roger Aplon, Ukraine 2022 for narrator and piano and Donde Esta Mi Madre for mezzo soprano, soprano and baritone saxophones.
My Candle Burns for chamber orchestra, inspired by the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, premiered as part of the annual Village Trip Festival on a concert featuring Suzanne Vega, presented by Composers Concordance and Marsyas Productions.
Winner of 6 Global Music Awards, Kaye’s music has been performed by acclaimed artists such as the Lincoln Trio, Daedalus Quartet and Naumberg-winning clarinetist, Charles Neidich. Her solo violin work, Turning in Time, was described by New York Concert Review 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).
It’s been a busy season for Kaye with two new Navona Records releases – the May 26, 2023 releases of her solo portrait album, Ikarus Among the Stars, also with producer, Judith Sherman, and her pandemic-inspired orchestral work, Rising Up, which received its recording debut with the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava and received the Global Music Award for creativity and originality. It was selected for ASCAP’s New Music Friday Playlist on the day of its release and hailed as “a strong and vibrant piece” by conductor, JoAnn Falletta.
Other highlights include commissions from the Portland Youth Philharmonic, Howland Chamber Music Circle, Kyo-Shin-An Arts and Chicago’s Access Contemporary Music, premieres at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and the extended-run Off-Broadway production of The Ugly Duckling, produced by Literally Alive Family Theatre, which garnered enthusiastic notice in the New York Times in each of its three productions.
Selected media credits include interviews with Debra in HokToc Magazine, and in Adriano Bassi’s book, “A Guide to Women Composers” (Odoyo), on WMHT Radio (Albany); WRUU Radio (Savannah); and as a featured composer on “Music of our Mothers” (WFCF Radio of Flagler College). New Music USA’s New Music Box published a series of Kaye’s articles about the process and inspiration for her music (NewMusicBox/Debra Kaye). Her works have been heard on Chicago’s WFMT Radio, Classical Discoveries (WPRB, Princeton), Berkeley’s KALX Radio, WMBR, Cambridge and others.
Kaye is recognized with awards from ASCAP Plus, grants from Meet the Composer, Mannes College, New School University, the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Atlanta Music Teachers Association, and 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. Formerly, she served as President of the Howland Chamber Music Circle. A graduate of Mannes College and New York University, Kaye served on the faculty of the Mannes College Preparatory Division from 1991 to 2018. When not composing, Debra is an avid amateur photographer.
I love the creative spark between composer and performer in bringing new music to life, exchanging ideas, and getting to know the player’s perspective on the piece. Contact me about commissioning a new work, I welcome collaboration!