Composer


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Preston Stahly
grew up in Indiana where he started piano lessons at age seven. In his early teens he was performing and arranging music in soul, R&B, and rock bands on the midwest college circuit and in the Chicago/Milwaukee area, and as a studio musician at Chess Records in Chicago. He pursued academic training at Indiana University where he studied composition with Barton McLane, and then transferred to the University of Michigan where he received a bachelor’s degree in composition with a minor in philosophy, followed by a master’s degrees in composition. His principal teachers at Michigan included William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Ross Lee Finney, Eugene Kurtz, and George B. Wilson. 
As a freelance composer he has written chamber, vocal, and symphonic works, and has also written music for film (Robert Altman’s Secret Honor) and television (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Children’s Television Workshop).
Recent and current commissioned projects include
Sapphire for violin and electronic track (2010) for violinist Mary Rowell; Burn Rate for piano and electronic track (2012) for pianist Geoffrey Burleson; Pleiades for violin and electronics for violinist Zach Brock, Igneous Rex (a full-dome animated project) for I-Max and orchestral score to be premiered at the Reuben Fleet Science Center in San Diego on March 23, 2014; Cover Charge for six string electric violinist Tracy Silverman and violinist Mary Rowell to be premiered May 17, 2014 in NYC; and Medusa’s Bow (a new trio for pianist Kathleen Supové, violinist Jennifer Choi, and cellist Wendy Law) to be premiered in 2015 at The Cell theater in NYC.
As a co-creator of the Tribeca New Music Festival in 2001 he spearheaded the Avant Pop movement in NYC, focusing on a new classical music infused with pop culture. The press has praised the series saying, “The success of the Tribeca New Music Festival no doubt stems both from high-quality performances and from its eclectic, anti-elitist ‘avant pop’ programming ethos.”--
New York Times, and The reigning aesthetic, dubbed ‘the emerging avant pop’ by artistic director Preston Stahly, welcomes a wide variety of composers, united by creative engagement with popular culture.” --Steve Smith, TimeOut NY.
In 2004 he became and is currently the artistic and executive director of
Tribeca New Music in NYC.