Preston Stahly grew up in Indiana where in his early teens he began performing and arranging music in soul, R&B, and rock bands on the midwest college circuit, in the Chicago/Milwaukee area, and as a studio musician at Chess Records in Chicago. He pursued academic training at Indiana University where he studied composition with Barton McLane, and then transferred to the University of Michigan where he received a bachelor’s degree in composition with a minor in philosophy, followed by a master’s degrees in composition. His principal teachers at Michigan included William Albright, Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, Ross Lee Finney, Eugene Kurtz, and George B. Wilson.
As a freelance composer he has written chamber, vocal, and symphonic works, and has also written music for film (Robert Altman’s Secret Honor) and television (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Children’s Television Workshop).
Recent and current commissioned projects include Sapphire for violin and electronic track (2010) for violinist Mary Rowell; Burn Rate for piano and electronic track (2012) for pianist Geoffrey Burleson; Pleiades for violin and electronics for violinist Zach Brock, Igneous Rex (a full-dome animated project) for I-Max and orchestral score premiered at the Reuben Fleet Science Center, San Diego in 2014; and Taffrail (a duo for pianist Eleonor Sandresky and violinist Mary Rowell) premiered in 2016 at The Cell theater in NYC.
As a co-creator of the Tribeca New Music Festival from its inception in 2001 he spearheaded the Avant Pop movement in NYC, focusing on a new classical music infused with pop culture. The press has praised the series saying, “The success of the Tribeca New Music Festival no doubt stems both from high-quality performances and from its eclectic, anti-elitist ‘avant pop’ programming ethos.”--New York Times, and “The reigning aesthetic, dubbed ‘the emerging avant pop’ by executive and artistic director Preston Stahly, welcomes a wide variety of composers, united by creative engagement with popular culture.” --Steve Smith,TimeOut NY.
In 2004 he became and is currently the artistic and executive director of Tribeca New Music in NYC.
Considered by critics to be one of the most important and exciting performers on the contemporary scene today, violinist Mary Rowell is equally at ease on the stage of Lincoln Center and in grunge rock clubs. While working towards her BM and MM degrees from The Juilliard School, she developed her interest in contemporary music. At the same time she delved into the worlds of the alternative rock scene (as the violinist of the Silos), jazz and swing (as a member of String Fever), and tango and palm court (performing with the Tango Project). As a soloist, she has appeared with the National Symphony, Houston Symphony, New York Chamber Orchestra, and Warsaw Philharmonic, among others, on traditional and electric violin. She performs frequently as a soloist with the New York City Ballet, where she has stunned the dance world with her brilliant solo electric violin performances of Richard Einhorn’s Maxwell’s Demon. Mary has also performed and recorded with notables Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Paula Cole, Billy Joel, John Lurie, and Steve Coleman. She is featured on several Joe Jackson albums including Night Music, Heaven and Hell, Symphony #1, and most recently Night and Day II (Sony Classical). Mary Rowell is a founding member of the string quartet ETHEL (www.ethelcentral.com), and she is currently the Concertmaster of both the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Palm Beach Orchestra.
Geoffrey Burleson has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America, and is equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and jazz performer. The New York Times has hailed Mr. Burleson’s solo performances as “vibrant and compelling,” furthermore praising his “rhythmic brio, projection of rhapsodic qualities, appropriate sense of spontaneity, and rich colorings.” In 2008, New World Records released Mr. Burleson's second solo recording: Vincent Persichetti: Complete Piano Sonatas (New World Records), a 2-CD set on which all twelve of Persichetti's piano sonatas are united on one release for the first time. The Persichetti recording was accorded high acclaim from the BBC Music Magazine (“BBC Music Choice”; 5/5 stars), a laudatory feature review in Gramophone, and was listed among the best recordings released in 2008 by Fanfare and the American Record Guide. Another 2008 release is Odd Couple (Oxingale), a duo CD of American works with cellist Matt Haimovitz. Upcoming solo releases include Roy Harris: Complete Piano Works for Naxos (January 2011). Upcoming projects include Saint-Saëns: Complete Works for Solo Piano, on 4 CDs, for Naxos. Mr. Burleson is a core member of Tribeca New Music, the Boston Musica Viva, and The Pittsburgh Collective. He holds the DMA degree from SUNY-Stony Brook, where he studied with Gilbert Kalish. He teaches piano at Princeton University, and is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Piano Studies at Hunter College-City University of New York.
Board of Directors
Susan Stahly Koeneke
Artistic & Executive Director
Susan Stahly Koeneke
Johan de Meij
Bonnie B. Wright
Linda R. Mark