Ricky Ian Gordon1956 -
Ricky Ian Gordon writes vocal music that spans arts songs, opera, and musical theater. In 2001, the New York Times said, “If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.”
Photo: Ricky Ian Gordon, Promotional Photo, from the Official Website of Ricky Ian Gordon
Ricky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, New York and raised on Long Island. After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City. In 2001, Bright Eyed Joy: The Music of Ricky Ian Gordon, was presented at Lincoln Center as part of the American Songbook Series, and the New York Times said, “A composer versed in the harmonic idiom of Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten, Mr. Gordon also has a knack for witty theatrical pastiche. Many of his lighter songs pluck vintage theatrical echoes from their 1920's and 30's niches and dress them up with bold chord changes that catapult them in new directions.”
Gordon’s works for voice include Green Sneakers, a theatrical song cycle for baritone, string quartet, and empty chair, with a libretto by the composer; and Orpheus and Euridice, an hour-long song cycle in two acts that includes choreography. Other song publications are A Horse With Wings, Genius Child, Only Heaven, Finding Home, Songs for Our Time, Late Afternoon, and Too Few the Mornings Be, a cycle of eleven settings of Emily Dickinson poems, written for Renée Fleming.
Operas include The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Autumn Valentine, The Grapes of Wrath, Morning Star, Only Heaven, and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Other theatre works include My Life with Albertine, written with Richard Nelson and based on Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, Dream True, and States of Independence, written with Tina Landau, and Only Heaven, based on the works of Langston Hughes. Gordon has also written extensively for chorus and piano.
The composer has taught master classes and composition classes across the country, and been the composer-in-residence at various festivals. Among his honors are the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie Mellon University, the Shen Family Foundation Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, the Constance Klinsky Award, and many awards from ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Music Center.