The music of American composer Steve Antosca integrates instruments with computers for real-time and pre-recorded audio processing and spatialization. Through the realization of scores that juxtapose elements of non-determinacy with traditional notation, musicians craft a sonically rich performance environment. His concerts have been described by the Washington Post as
“spectacular, wonderfully provocative” and “a shimmering, multilayered sea of sound, surging with power under a surface of delicate detail — a fascinating dance between the human players and their electronic ghosts.”
Steve Antosca is Artistic Director of the National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble, which he formed in 2010. He was named Composer-in-Residence at the NGA for the Fall of 2013.
NGA NME concerts live at the vibrant intersection of music, art, technology and architecture. Pursuing this interest, Antosca has developed events which present the work of musicians who adapt ideas and content to the contemporary environment using customized computer technology. The ensemble’s performances integrate the strategic placement of musicians across performance spaces, with sonic enhancements created through real-time computer controlled transformations and the spatialization of sound. Through collaborative connections, these performances promote innovative work aimed at enhancing the audience’s experience with modern music.
Recent works include a commission from Chamber Music America and Pictures on Silence and a collaborative work with Washington artist Charles Ritchie for the Georgetown University Orchestra under conductor Angel Gil-Ordóñez. For the CMA commission, Antosca composed my end is my beginning which premiered on September 29, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art. HABITAT, a solo percussion work with computer processing and video projections, premiered in the NGA East Building Atrium on November 10, 2013. Described as
"A fascinating and often compelling new work”, the Washington Post wrote that the HABITAT performance generated “a complex and wildly colorful palette of sound — the stuff that gongs and wood blocks dream of — that seemed to sweep in huge waves from every direction, as if [percussionist Ross] Karre were playing the atrium itself as a gigantic meta-instrument — and we, the audience, were inside."
Antosca was named winner of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011, awarded by the National Academy of Music. He has received numerous awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and was awarded National Endowment for the Arts grants in 2007 and 2012 to present festivals of contemporary music in Washington. He has received grants for teaching technology, including a three year award from the US Department of Education. He was a winner in the "Electroacoustic Music with Instruments" category of the 36th Bourges International Competitions. Among his commissions are a McKim from the Library of Congress and a Fromm from Harvard, a Subito grant, funded by the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund and the American Composers Forum, a Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project, and commissions from the American Music Center and No Exit Ensemble. He was commissioned by the Johansen International Competition to create a work for young violin, viola and ‘cello virtuosi.
Antosca’s works have been performed throughout America and Europe, and in China. In Washington, his work has been performed at the National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, La Maison Française, the Phillips Collection, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. In celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Antosca presented a concert in the Gallery Rotunda in 2011. The Washington Post wrote that the Rotunda was transformed into
“an immense temple of sound, presenting a program of theatrical new works that married humans with computers, and ancient myths with contemporary aesthetics.”
His work has been performed at the first New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF - 2009) and premiered at the new music festival June in Buffalo 2009. He has appeared at The Stone, the Issue Project Room, and le poisson rouge. His work was presented at the Third Practice Festival and the Livewire Festival in the US and the first edition of the International Electroacoustic Music Festival of the Conservatory of St. Cecilia in Rome in 2008, and has been presented at subsequent EMUfest concerts.
Antosca received a Meet the Composer grant for his lectures on composition and performance with music technology. He has lectured on music and music technology trends at universities and cultural institutions in Mexico and throughout the United States. From 2002 through 2012, Antosca was Artistic Director and composer member of the highly regarded VERGE ensemble. The Washington Post wrote, the ensemble puts
“modern classical music in front of the public with more dedication and skill than any other group in Washington” and is “a national presence.”
Antosca was a co-director of the 2012 John Cage Centennial Festival Washington, DC., which took place throughout the Washington area September 4 – 10, 2012. Regarding the Festival’s impact, the Washington Post wrote that for Washington
“where artistic life centers on museums and conservation” the Festival “could be seen as a gradual shift in Washington where Antosca, the National Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Maison Francaise and others have been working hard to cultivate a contemporary music audience.”