Claire Chase

Professor of the Practice (on leave 2022-23)
Music Building

Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, educator, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. She has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of composers, and she has championed new music internationally by forming organizations, cultivating intersectional alliances, founding commissioning initiatives and supporting community and education programs that reach new audiences. She was the first flutist to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012, and in 2017 was the first flutist to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Curtis Institute of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music.

In 2013 Chase launched Density 2036, a 24-year commissioning project to create an entirely new body of repertory for flute between 2013 and 2036, the centenary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo, Density 21.5. Each season as part of the project, Chase premieres a new program of commissioned music, with seven hours of new repertory created to date. She released the world premiere recordings of the first five years of the Density cycle in collaboration with the producer Matias Tarnopolsky at Meyer Sound Laboratories in Berkeley, CA in December 2020.

Chase joined the Harvard faculty in 2017. From 2016–2019, she served as co-artistic director of Ensemble Evolution, a three-week intensive workshop for emerging musicians at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada. From 2014–2018, Chase was a Fellow at Project&, a Chicago-based social justice organization founded by Jane M. Saks. Chase collaborated with Project&, the composer Marcos Balter and the director Douglas Fitch on the creation of Pan, an opera for solo flute and an all-ages ensemble of community members, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “art as grassroots action.”

Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, described as the United States’ “foremost new-music ensemble” (The New Yorker), and served as its artistic director until 2017 and as an ensemble member on performance and education projects on five continents.

Upcoming projects in the 2020–21 season include the world premiere of a new duo concerto by Felipe Lara for Chase and Esperanza Spalding, to be premiered by the Helsinki and Los Angeles Philharmonics and conducted by Susanna Mälkki; a collaboration with the Swiss director Julie Beauvais and the Ecuadorian anthropologist Eduardo Kohn on Pauline Oliveros’ The Witness; and the world premieres of newly commissioned solo works by Liza Lim, Matana Roberts, Wang Lu, Ann Cleare, and Craig Taborn.