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Chris Arrell

Music Department

Associate Professor

D.M.A., Cornell University

Fields: Theory, Composition, Computer Music

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Office Phone: 508-793-3339
Office: Brooks 144
PO Box: 15


Chris Arrell (b. 1970, Stumptown) writes music for voices, instruments, and electronics. Praised for their unconventional beauty by The Boston Music Intelligencer and hailed as "sensuous" and "highly nuanced" by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, his compositions blur conventional boundaries between color, line, harmony, and pulse.

Performances of Arrell's music include those given by the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo, the Boston Musica Viva, the Boston New Music Initiative, Brave New Works, Sonic Generator, Sospeso, Thamyris, Bent Frequency and newEar, among others, at venues across the US and in Canada, South America, Europe, and Australia. He has fulfilled commissions for a number of prestigious ensembles and institutions including the Boston Musica Viva (2010), Music at the Anthology (2005), Spivey Hall (2003), Cornell University (2003), and the Fromm Foundation of Harvard University (2001). Awards for Arrell's music include the Ossia International Music Prize (2010), the League of Composers/International Society for Contemporary Music (2008), the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award (2007), Cornell University (2001), the Society of Composers (1998) and ASCAP (1998, 1997).

In 2013, Arrell's Fromm commission, all fall down, for voice and chamber ensemble, was featured alongside Arnold Schoenberg's seminal work Pierrot Lunaire as the winning entry for the inaugural Cape Fear New Music Festival International Call-for-Scores. 2013 also saw the release of Diptych, a portrait CD on the Beauport Classical label featuring five works by Arrell and the talents of Boston Musica Viva, the Clayton State Chorale, Sonic Generator, Jacob Greenberg, Lisa Leong & Amy Williams. Additional publications of Arrell's music are available from Electroshock Records, Beauport Classical Records, Parma Recordings (forthcoming), and Trevco Music.

Arrell's research grants include residencies at the MacDowell Colony (2005) and the Atlantic Center for the Arts (1997) as well as a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to Argentina and Chile (2004). A scholar of the music of GĂ©rard Grisey, Arrell's analysis of Grisey's Partiels, appearing in the Proceedings of the International Spectral Music Conference, is described by Nicholas Deyoe in Notes, the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association, as "the most interesting writing about Grisey's Partiels that I have read."

Arrell is Assistant Professor of Music at College of the Holy Cross and taught previously at Clayton State University in suburban Atlanta. He holds degrees from Cornell University (DMA), the University of Texas (MM), and the University of Oregon (BM), and participated in the Cornell-Columbia Exchange Scholar Program. His composition teachers include Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, Tristan Murail, Dan Welcher, and Robert Kyr.