Described as possessing “an unconventional lyricism and a menacing beauty” and a “unique voice,” Oscar Bettison’s work demonstrates a willingness to work within and outside the confines of concert music. His music has been featured and reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and the British, Dutch, and Italian press, as well as having been played on radio throughout the U.S., Australia, Britain, The Netherlands, and Brazil, and on British and Dutch television. His latest work has been described as “pulsating with an irrepressible energy and vitality, as well as brilliant craftsmanship.”
Bettison has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, The New York Philharmonic (for a new work for solo viola for their innauguarl Biennial), musikFabrik, London Sinfonietta, Talea Ensemble, Tanglewood, Berkeley Symphony, Ensemble Klang, Slagwerk Den Haag, So Percussion, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Recent premieres include Pale Icons of Night, a violin concerto written for Courtney Orlando and Alarm Will Sound; and Presence of Absence for mezzo-soprano and ensemble, premiered by Ensemble Klang, Matangi Quartet, and soprano Michaela Reiner. Upcoming commissions include a new work for Oregon Symphony and an evening long work for Asko-Schoenberg Ensemble (Netherlands).
Bettison has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, A Fromm Commissioning Grant, a Johns Hopkins “Catalyst” Faculty Award, a Chamber Music America Commissioning Award, the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, and the first “BBC Young Composer of the Year” Prize. Additionally, he has also been awarded fellowships with both the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals.
Among numerous recordings of Bettison’s works is the 2010 album, O Death, which features his evening-length work of that name performed by Ensemble Klang; the recording was released to great acclaim in the Dutch and US media. Other recent recordings include B&E (with aggravated assault), performed by Newspeak and released on New Amsterdam Records; and Cadence, released by NMC Records.
Born in the UK, Bettison studied with Simon Bainbridge, Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, and at Princeton University where he completed his PhD with Steve Mackey as his advisor. He has served on the Composition Department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University since 2009.
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes