Described by National Public Radio's Sacred Classics as "part of the next generation of exciting composers," Andrew Bleckner studied composition with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a Ph.D. in composition in 1995. With an eclectic approach to composition his concert music is inspired by sacred texts and African drumming.
Recognized as an important voice in the composition of new music, Mr. Bleckner has received composition awards, grants, and fellowships from ASCAP, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the University of Pennsylvania, and the MacDowell Colony. Bleckner has also received commissions from the Singing City, The Commonwelath Youthchoirs, Dale Warland Singers (1999 Choral Ventures Program), Westminster Choir College, the Virginia Beach Symphony, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Voces Novae et Antiquae. In addition to his choral works, Bleckner's music has been performed by ensembles such as the American Composers Orchestra (1996 Whitacre Readings) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, Alliance Music, Transcontinental Music Publications, and Southern Percussion
Bleckner's work in musical theater has won him recent acclaim. The Pigeon Boys
, a musical about Pigeoneers in WWII, composed by Bleckner and with lyrics by Anne Berlin,premiered at the 2011 New York Music Theater Festival to excellent reviews. Howling Hilda and the Brooklyn Dodgers
, also by Bleckner and Berlin, received a developmental reading at the 2011 Planet Connections Theater Festivity with acclaimed Broadway star Mary Testa in the lead role, and Testa won best for best performance by an actress in a reading, and the work was nominated for best reading at the festival.
Currently, Mr. Bleckner serves as Resident Composer for the Philadelphia chorus Singing City. He mentors the young composers who are the winners of the annual Singing City composition prize, and leads music creativity workshops in area schools. As a result of this role, he has created a large body of children's songs for accompanied choir and/or solo voice.