Scott Wheeler

Composer Scott Wheeler’s operas have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera. the Guggenheim Foundation and White Snake Projects. His music has been performed by violinist Gil Shaham, conductor Kent Nagano, and singers Renee Fleming, Sanford Sylvan, and Susanna Phillips.

Mr. Wheeler has appeared as conductor in New York, Berlin, Boston, and on several recordings, often with the Boston-based ensemble Dinosaur Annex, which he co-founded and directed for many years. He has also conducted many productions of opera and musical theatre works and has appeared as a pianist in a wide repertoire of classical, jazz, and cabaret.

Scott Wheeler studied at Amherst College, New England Conservatory, and Brandeis. His principal teachers were Lewis Spratlan, Arthur Berger and Virgil Thomson, along with studies at Dartington with Peter Maxwell Davies and Tanglewood with Olivier Messiaen. His many awards include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Bogliasco Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin and the Classical Recording Foundation. He is Senior Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches musical theatre and songwriting.

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A Midsummer Nights Dream
``...based on Don Nigro’s dark epilogue to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the opera packed one of the night’s richest scores, including crunchy harmonies for four female fairies.``
– The Boston Globe

  • Composer in Residence, Chamber Music Conference of the East 2019
  • Arts and Letters Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2018
  • Fellowship, Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University 2015
  • Hinrichsen Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2014
  • Frances and William Schuman Fellow of the MacDowell Colony 2014
  • Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship 2014
  • Yaddo Fellowship 2019
  • Mount Tremper Arts 2018
  • Distinguished Visitor, American Academy in Berlin, 2006-07
  • Roger Sessions Award, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship 2006
  • Benjamin Danks Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters 2006
  • Composer in Residence, Wellesley Composers Conference Guest Faculty, Guest Conductor
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council awards 2005, 2017; finalist 1989
  • Fromm Foundation Commissions 1993, 2004
  • Composer in Residence, Boston Cecilia 2007-08
  • Wellesley Composers Conference  
  • Stoeger Prize, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center 1999
  • Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, American Academy of Arts and Letters 1994
  • Koussevitzky Foundation orchestral commission 1987; chamber commission 2003
  • Composer in Residence, Youth Orchestra of the Americas 2013
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 1994
  • Tanglewood Fellowship Composer
  • Guggenheim Fellowship 1988-89
  • MacDowell Fellowship 2018
  • Virgil Thomson Foundation – Board of Directors, vice president
  • Mirror Visions Ensemble – Board of Directors
  • Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble – Founding Director
  • Harvard Musical Association – Chair of the Commission Committee
  • Boston Cecilia – Board of Overseers
  • Antilever Press – Board of Directors
  • Friends of Amherst College Music – Advisory Board
  • Sparks and Wiry Cries — Advisory Board
  • Calliope’s Call — Artistic Advisor
Portraits and Tributes
“Three selections from Scott Wheeler’s ever-expanding series “Portraits and Tributes” recalled Virgil Thomson’s elegant solo-piano portraits. These were the first performances of Mr. Wheeler’s “Island Lullaby” and his “Firefly Lullaby,” which has uneven, twinkling rhythms that are both unpredictable and serene. The two lullabies framed the “Cookie Galop With Waltz,” whose dotted rhythms start exuberant and then turn softly elegiac.”
– The New York Times

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