Meet Peter Knell, winner of COMPOSERS, INC’s 2017 Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composition Award


Peter Knell, winner of COMPOSERS, INC’s 2017 Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composition Award for his Intimate Voices for string quartet, lives and works in Los Angeles.  Peter holds degrees from Princeton University (BA), the Juilliard School (MM), and the University of Texas at Austin (DMA), and he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. His principal composition teachers have included Dan Welcher, Donald Grantham, and David Diamond.

He has received numerous awards in national and international competitions, including First Prizes in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 10th New Music Festival International Composers Competition, the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival/Louisville Orchestra Prize, and the Omaha Symphony Guild International New Music Competition.  Peter is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a BMI Student Composer Award, two ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, grants from the Paloheimo Foundation and Meet the Composer, and commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation/Ying Quartet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Utah Arts Festival, Pacific Serenades, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Dale Warland Singers, among others.  His orchestral work LINES/ANGLES was the American selection for the ISCM World Music Days 2009 and was performed in September 2009 by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

On winning the 2017 award from COMPOSERS, INC, Knell writes, “I am honored to receive the Lee Ettelson Award from Composers Inc.  Winning an award of this nature provides a little jolt of assurance that the laborious and intimate process developing a compositional voice and composing this work has been understood and appreciated.”

Intimate Voices is a stunning, beautiful work, and COMPOSERS, INC. is honored to present it at its November 16 concert, performed by San Francisco’s Amaranth Quartet.

Commissioned by the Lyris Quartet to be recorded with Janáček’s Intimate Letters and three other newly commissioned works (all inspired by the Janáček), it is available on the Ars Produktion label from iTunes, Amazon and others.

On his conception of the piece, Peter Knell writes,

Intimate Voices was commissioned by the Lyris Quartet to be recorded with Janáček’s Intimate Letters and three other newly commissioned works.  In conceiving the work, I was struck by how little Janáček’s work corresponded with my conception of intimacy; in my opinion, his work should more appropriately be called “Passionate” Letters.  In my work, I decided to explore my personal notion of intimacy.  I explore the gentle side of the string quartet, with ideas unfolding gradually and organically in a single formal arc.”

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