B i o g r a p h y
Garrett Byrnes composes a wide variety of concert music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, vocalists and instrumentalists. Byrnes’ music has been performed in many of the worlds leading concert halls, among them New York’s Carnegie Hall, The Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and Cité de la Musique in Paris. His music has been performed by orchestras and ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, CSUN Symphony Orchestra, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Anadolu Symphony String Orchestra, Peabody Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Chesapeake Youth Repertory Orchestra, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Boston New Music Initiative, Cleveland Chamber Collective, Tarab Cello Ensemble, Tonus Percussion Group and the Allemagnetti Duo, as well as renowned international soloists including French cellist Xavier Phillips, Dutch harpist Lavia Meijer, Israeli pianist David Greilsammer, and Turkish pianist Toros Can.
Byrnes’ large scale orchestral performances include Solace, premiered by conductor Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, La Chapelle d’Auguilhe: Concerto for Cello & Orchestra, premiered and featured on six concerts given by the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire conducted by Sascha Goetzel and featuring cellist Xavier Phillips, and Capriccio Tempestoso for harp and orchestra, premiered by harpist Emily Wren Colton and the Chicago Composers Orchestra conducted by Mathew Kasper. Prior to these performances, the CSUN Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Roscigno premiered Red Moon after the work received the Northridge Prize for Orchestral Composition, and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble conducted by David Dzubay and featuring pianist Jihye Chang premiered Concerto for Piano & Chamber Orchestra.
Several of his chamber works have seen recent premieres. Capriccio Improvviso for viola & piano was given its premiere at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music by Maggie Snyder and Timothy Lovelace, and subsequently released on the recording "Modern American Viola" (Arabesque Records), and Leeds Devil Nocturne for flute & piano was premiered by Mary Kay Fink and Nicolas Underhill at Cleveland State University. Before that, Devil in Moscow, commissioned for the Allemagnetti Duo (viola & harpsichord), received its premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall and was released on the duo's debut recording "Music for Viola & Harpsichord" (Arabesque Records), Mosaics for wind quintet was commissioned and premiered by the Alpha Lambda chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of Illinois Wesleyan University, and a set of four pieces inspired by rock and metal genres, Manic Aggressive, Zephyr, Schadenfreude & Voodoo Stomp, were given premieres by their commissioning ensemble, the Cleveland Chamber Collective.
Among Byrnes' most performed compositions are his works for harp. Valley of Butterflies was recently given its full premiere by Yumiko Endo Schlaffer at the American Harp Society in Dallas' 50th Anniversary concert. Villanelle for violin and harp was commissioned for the Dutch duo of Tjeerd Top and Lavinia Meijer, premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, has been performed by numerous duos, and will be released on an upcoming CD. Visions in Twilight (harp solo) continues to be a very popular work, and performed often by harpists in an array of countries. Meijer herself has given performances of the work in numerous cities across the globe, including Amsterdam, Athens, Birmingham, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, New York, Paris, and Vienna among others, and features the composition on her CD "Visions" (Channel Classics). The work is also featured on the recording "Ceren Necipoglu: Bir Kitap Gibi" (Kalan Müzik) along with another harp solo work by Byrnes, Amhrán Slán.
Garrett Byrnes has served as Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at Ball State University, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Composition at Illinois Wesleyan University, and as Associate Instructor of Composition at Indiana University. He received degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (DM), Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (MM), and The Boston Conservatory (BM), and has studied composition with Sven-David Sandström, Chen Yi, Don Freund, David Dzubay and Larry Bell. Awards include those from the American Music Center, National Association of Composers, American Art Song Competition, ASCAP, USA International Harp Composition Competition, Indiana University, California State University at Northridge, and The Boston Conservatory, and he has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and resided at the artist house of St. Mary's College of Maryland. He currently lives in southern New England and composes by the ocean when possible.