Gregory Mertl

Born in 1969, Gregory Mertl has received commissions from the Phoenix Symphony, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Fairbanks Symphony, Richard Killmer, ASCAP/the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Festival of the East, the Tarab Cello Ensemble, and the Ostrava Oboe Festival. In 2000, the wind ensembles of the Big Ten Universities awarded him the Big Ten Band Commission and premiered it in April 2003. The score, entitled Love, Play On, won third prize in the 2004 Harelbeke International Wind Ensemble Composition Competition in Belgium. Other major awards include the Chicago Symphony’s First Hearing Award and a 1998 Tanglewood Composition Fellowship. At Tanglewood, he had the tremendous privilege of studying with Henri Dutilleux and Mauricio Kagel.

In recent years, his music has reached audiences at the Festival du Moulin d’Andé in France, Singapore and Taipei, Taiwan, and the France Musique radio station with a French premiere by cellist Xavier Phillips. In the States, his music has reached audiences at Weill Recital Hall in New York, Boston, Honolulu, Rochester, the 1999 International Double Reed Society Conference in Madison, WI, the University of Illinois, the University of Alaska, the Eastman School of Music, Colgate, Hamilton, Northwestern, Princeton and Yale Universities. Orchestras such as the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic (through ASCAP’s Millennium Commission in honor of the Aaron Copland Centenary) and the Phoenix Symphony have premiered his works. In addition, he has collaborated with choreographer Augusto Soledade and Brazz Dance Company resulting in dance premieres at Smith College and subsequently in Salvador, Brazil and in August 2001 was composer-in-residence at the Chamber Music Festival of the East at Bennington College in Vermont.

2005 winter concerts included four performances of Lover Calls in Florida and a Canadian premiere in January, a radio program on Vermont Public Radio on February 12th featuring several live performances of his work and, in March, a song cycle at Towson University in Baltimore. In May 2005, the Tainan Women’s College of Arts and Technology hosted a two-day conference featuring Mertl’s music and lectures and performances followed at several other Taiwanese universities as well as the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. In November, the Ostrava Oboe Festival opened with the Czech premiere of Pavane en forme de voûte for oboe and string orchestra and closed with the world premiere of A l’écoute for two oboes and harpsichord, which was commissioned for the festival. 2006 commissions include a work for guitarist Kenneth Meyer to be premiered in October and a cello concerto for the French cellist Xavier Phillips, which Mertl will begin in July as a resident of the I-Park Artists’ Enclave. One of his newest projects, “Open Gate”, of which he is co-artistic director and founder, will have its debut concerts in New York in January 2007 with an evening of Mertl’s solo and chamber music and its first summer music festival in July 2007 in Taiwan. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music composition from the Eastman School of Music.

Selected works by Gregory Mertl:
“Once when father (George Ives) was asked: 'How can you stand it to hear old John Bell (who was the best stonemason in town) bellow off-key the way he does at camp-meetings?' his answer was: 'Old John is a supreme musician. Look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Don't pay too much attention to the sounds. If you do, you may miss the music. You won't get a heroic ride to Heaven on pretty little sounds!'”
--Charles Ives