Louis Karchin (b. 8 September 1951, Philadelphia) began studying piano and writing short musical compositions at age 6. Over the course of a career now spanning four decades, he has amassed a portfolio of over 60 works, appeared as conductor with numerous performing ensembles, co-founded several musical organizations, including the Chamber Players of the League-ISCM, the Orchestra of the League of Composers, and the Harvard Group for New Music, and overseen the formation of a graduate program in Music Composition at New York University. His works have garnered distinguished honors, including three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and Koussevitzky, Barlow, and Fromm commissions. The citation of the Walter N. Hinrichsen Award, presented by the American Academy, praised his Songs of John Keats, as “a striking conception, in which the sonic properties of the poetry interact with musical material in unprecedented fusion.” Karchin Ïs chamber opera, Romulus, received a staged premiere in May 2007, at the Guggenheim Museum.
Mr. Karchin Ïs music has been presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Louisville Orchestra, Tanglewood, the Group for Contemporary Music, the New York New Music Ensemble, and the Da Capo Chamber Players, and has been championed by soloists such as Fred Sherry, Lucy Shelton and Marilyn Nonken. The British journal, Contemporary Music Review singled out Karchin as one of twenty-five of the most exciting American composers born in the decade of the 1950 Ïs, and Karchin was chosen as one of 52 composers selected to represent New York at the turn of the millennium in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Great Day in New York” Festival at Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Karchin has been an active conducting presence on the New York musical scene, appearing frequently to lead works of colleagues as well as his own music, often presenting world premiere performances. His regular conducting duties with the Chamber Players of the League-ISCM and the Washington Square Ensemble were augmented in 2009 with the formation of the Orchestra of the League of Composers .
Recordings of Karchin Ïs music have been issued on the New World, CRI and Albany labels, and most recently by Naxos (Romulus).
Mr. Karchin's music is published by C. F. Peters Corporation and the American Composers Alliance. He is Professor of Music at New York University.