Thomas Schuttenhelm is an American composer and guitarist whose compositions have a strong conceptual component exhibiting an ‘intentional belatedness’ that gives expression to the post-historical conditions of the 21st century. His music uses embodied programs and celebrates in allusions to the musical, literary, poetic, visual, and theatrical influences that resonate throughout his compositions.
His compositions are commonly the result of collaborations with musicians, poets, actors and artists, and the music he writes is often as much ‘about’ the people he collaborates with as it is for them perform. For over a decade he has been performing with soprano Sarah (Hersh) Armstrong and has given collaborative concerts with poet Rafael Oses. Recently he has collaborated and composed works for the Duo Montagnard (Interspheres), Duo Orfeo, the La’ Ventus Saxophone Quartet, the Kaleidos World Music Duo, and the Leonard-Smith Duo. The Lexington Philharmonic will premiere an orchestral work of his in April 2015.
In addition to his collaborations, he often curates and performs solo recitals. He recently released a recording of all the guitar music of Tom Johnson (August 2012). His compositions can be heard on numerous recordings and have been performed throughout the country and abroad by such artists as: the Adaskin String Trio; Tempo del Fuoco (Sarah Larsen, violin; and Nick Cutroneo, guitar), the Alturas Duo (Scott Hill, guitar; and Carlos Boltes, viola), Yves Clement (guitar) and Roberto Aronico (viola); classical guitarists: Eliot Fisk, Jason Vieaux, Frank Wallace, Aaron Larget-Caplan, Yovianna Garcia and the Kaliedos Duo (with Taiwanese percussionist Sayung Chang), John Birt, Nick Cutroneo, Daniel Hartington, Alex Walker, Daniel Salazar and the Hartford Festival Orchestra; pianist Paul Bisaccia, the Goldspiel-Provost Classical Guitar Duo, bassist Robert Black (Bang on A Can All-Stars), Volkan Orhon, the Connecticut Trio, and the Connecticut Yankee Chorale. His piano music was featured on the PBS (WGBY- Springfield, WGBH-Boston) special "The Great American Piano." He has performed electric guitar with the FIREWORKS Ensemble, a contemporary music ensemble; collaborated with the Wellspring Dance Company, a performance art company based in New York; toured with Purple Rock Productions, a diverse theater group, performing on guitar and balalaika; and was a composer-performer member of the Boston Public Works Contemporary Music Series held at Harvard University. He is a member of the Restless Guitar Ensemble and the contemporary music ensemble Live Wires.
He has worked with numerous choreographers and directors on various productions, and was the music director for Shakespeare in Bushnell Park including productions of Comedy of Errors, Measure for Measure, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2014 he collaborated with actor/director Tom Schwans for a production of Much Ado About Nothing.
In addition to composing for some of America’s top soloists and ensembles, he is an experienced performer and scholar. He has given lectures at Yale University (New Haven, CT), Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), Howard University (Washington DC), Cardiff University (Wales, UK), University of Newcastle (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK), University of Sussex (UK), University of London (UK), and at the Mannheim Hochschule for Music. His publications include "The Selected Letters of Michael Tippett", published by Faber, and he is the contributing author to an edition on Fernando Sor. He has also authored numerous articles and reviews for the journal Soundboard. In addition, he has contributed to various BBC Radio programs. In 2007 he was the recipient of a prestigious Senior Scholar Fulbright Fellowship to the U.K. (London). In 2008 he was a British Music Studies fellow at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2011 he delivered a paper for the international conference in Lille (France) on Tracking the Creative Process in Music. He is a contributing author for the Tippett Cambridge Companion (CUP/2013) and his monograph, also for Cambridge University Press, on 'The Orchestral Music of Michael Tippett: Creative Development and the Compositional Process' was published in March 2014. He participated in the Britten at 100 at the University of Illinois in October 2013 delivering a talk on 'Young Apollos: Britten and Tippett' and delivered a paper on Tippett's Fifth String Quartet for the North American British Music Association in Las Vegas in August 2014.
His favorite hobby is creating and editing articles for Wikipedia. He currently divides his time between Washington DC and Hartford CT.