Martin Bresnick was born in New York City in 1946. He was educated at the High School of Music and Art, the University of Hartford (B.A. '67), Stanford University (M.A. '68, D.M.A. '72), and the Akademie für Musik, Vienna ('69-'70). His principal teachers of composition include György Ligeti, John Chowning, and Gottfried von Einem. Presently Professor of Composition and Coordinator of the Composition Department at the Yale School of Music, he has also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1971-72) and Stanford University (1972-75). He has served as the Valentine Professor of Music, Amherst College (1993), the Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music, Duke University (1998), the Cecil and Ida Green Visiting Professor of Composition, University of British Columbia (2000), Composer-in-Residence, Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp (2001 and 2004), International Bartok Seminar, Director of Composition (2001), Visiting Professor of Composition, Eastman School of Music (2002-2003), Visiting Professor, New College, Oxford (2004), Housewright Eminent Scholar and Featured Guest Composer, Florida State University (2005), Visiting Composer, Royal Academy of Music, London (2005), Visiting Composer, Harvard University, (2009), Visiting Composer, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea (2009), Macgeorge Fellow, Melbourne University (2010), Composer in Residence (2010-2011) Mannes College of Music. Master Artist, Atlantic Center for the Arts (2013), Composer in Residence, University of Michigan (2014), Composer in Residence, Royal Conservatoire, Glasgow, Scotland (2014), Institute of Advanced Studies Fellowship, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (2014).
Mr. Bresnick's compositions cover a wide range of instrumentation, from chamber music to symphonic compositions and computer music. His orchestral music has been performed by the National Symphony, Chicago Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Münster Philharmonic, Kiel Philharmonic, Orchestra of the Radio Televisione Italiana, Orchestra New England, City of London Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonika, and Izumi Sinfonietta Osaka. His chamber music has been performed in concert by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Sonor; Da Capo Chamber Players; Speculum Musicae; Bang on A Can All Stars; Nash Ensemble; MusicWorks!; Zeitgeist; Left Coast Ensemble; Musical Elements.
His music has been heard at numerous festivals: Tura New Music Festival, Perth (Australia), International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven), Sonic Boom, Bang on a Can, Adelaide, Israel, Prague Spring, South Bank's Meltdown, Almeida, Turin, Tanglewood, Banff, Norfolk, ISCM, New Music America, New Horizons. He has received commissions from: The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (1985), Orchestra New England (1986), Connecticut String Orchestra (1986), N.E.A. (consortium commission) (1987), Monticello Trio (1988), Koussevitzky Foundation (1989), Meet-the-Composer Reader's Digest commissioning program (1992), Greater Bridgeport Symphony (1992), National Endowment for the Arts (1992), Institute of Sacred Music (1993), Macon Arts Alliance (1994), Fromm Foundation (1995), Lincoln Center Chamber Players (1997), Sequitur (1997), Connecticut Commission on the Arts (1997), Meet-the-Composer (1998), Chamber Music America (1999).
He has received many prizes, among them: Fulbright Fellowship (1969-70), Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching at Stanford University (1973), three N.E.A. Composer Grants (1974, 1979, 1990); A.S.C.A.P. Awards (1975-present); Rome Prize Fellowship (1975-76), MacDowell Colony Fellowship (1977), Morse Fellowship from Yale University (1980-81), First Prize, Premio Ancona (1980), First Prize, International Sinfonia Musicale Competition (1982), Connecticut Commission on the Arts Grant, with Chamber Music America (1983), two First Prizes, Composers Inc. Competitions (1985, 1989), Semi-finalist, Friedheim Awards (1987), The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Elise L. Stoeger Prize for Chamber Music (1996), "Charles Ives Living" award, American Academy of Arts & Letters (1998), Composer-in Residence, American Academy In Rome (1999), the ASCAP Foundation's Aaron Copland Prize for teaching (2000), Berlin Prize Fellow, American Academy in Berlin (2001) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003), and elected to membership, American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006).
Mr. Bresnick has written music for films, two of which, Arthur & Lillie (1975) and The Day After Trinity (1981), were nominated for Academy Awards in the documentary category, (both with Jon Else, director). Mr. Bresnick's music has been recorded by Starkland Records, Cantaloupe Records, Composers Recordings Incorporated, Centaur, New World Records, Artifact Music and Albany Records and is published by Carl Fischer Music (NY), Bote and Bock, Berlin and CommonMuse Music Publishers, New Haven.