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Rosenblum, Mathewfree

(b New York, NY, 19 March 1954).
  • Don C. Gillespie
  •  and Alan Shockley

Composer. He studied at the New England Conservatory (BM 1977, MM 1979) and Princeton University (MFA 1981, PhD 1992), where his teachers included Milton Babbitt and Paul Lansky. In 1991, he joined the music department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he remains a professor and has served as department chair. Among his awards are grants from the Rockefeller Foundation (1980), the ACA (1987), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (1994), and commissions from the Fromm Foundation, Newband, the Stony Brook Contemporary Players, the Rascher Saxophone Quartet, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. In 1990, his microtonal work Continental Drift was performed at the ISCM World Music Days in Oslo. His multimedia chamber opera, RedDust, premiered at the Andy Warhol Museum as part of its “Off the Wall” series in May 2007. He is currently codirector of the University of Pittsburgh's Music on the Edge new music series.

A leading voice in American microtonal music, Rosenblum attempts a synthesis of elements from classical, jazz, rock, and world music in his works. His stated goal is “to explore ways in which seemingly separate musical voices and traditions may be woven together into a newly expressive whole.” Many compositions employ both a 12-note equal tempered system and a 19- or 21-note just intonation system designed to be used in conjunction with the equal tempered scale. Used in combination, these two systems provide a wide variety of intervallic and harmonic possibilities and permit strong harmonic and stylistic contrasts within each work.


(selective list)

Qt, fl + a fl, cl + b cl, va, hp, 1978

Cascades, vn, 1980

Le jon ra, 2 vc, 1981

Continental Drift, hn, perc, 2 kbd, 1988 [arr. for cl, hp, 2 perc, synth, 1990]

Circadian Rhythms, vc, perc, 2 kbd, 1989

Ancient Eyes, fl, cl, vc, perc, 2 kbd, 1990

Nü kuan tzu (Wen T’ing Yün, G. Apollinaire, A. Rimbaud), S, Mez, 10 players, 1996

Maggies, fl, cl, vn, vc, perc, pf + sampler, 1997

00Opinions, fl, cl, vn, perc, el bass, pf, live elecs, CD, 2000

Möbius Loop, sax qt, 2001

Under the Rainbow, fl, CD, 2003

RedDust (Stein, Barthelme, Lu Xun, Basara, others), chbr op.: 3 vox, 4 dancers, surr audio, video, chbr orch, 2007

Yonah's Dream, fl, Partch insts, 2008

The Big Rip, sax qt, vox ens, 2009

Double Concerto, bar sax, perc, orch, 2010

Throat, b cl, perc, 2010

Principal publisher: Peters


  • G. Read: 20th Century Microtonal Notation (New York, 1990)
  • E. Moe: “Beyond Right and Wrong Ways to Write Music: Tsontakis, Rosenblum and Diesendruck,” CMR, x (1994), 149–95
Contemporary Music Review