Composer Kristin Kuster “writes commandingly for the orchestra,” and her music “has an invitingly tart edge” (The New York Times). Kuster’s compositions take inspiration from architectural space, the weather, and mythology. Her orchestral music “unquestionably demonstrates her expertise in crafting unique timbres” (Steve Smith, Night after Night).
Kuster is based in Ann Arbor, where she is an associate professor and chair of composition at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Most recently, Kuster received an OPERA America Discovery Grant for female composers, made possible through The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. The grant supports Kuster’s work, Kept: a ghost story, a 75-minute chamber opera drawn from the haunting of northern Michigan’s Old Presque Isle Lighthouse. Featuring a libretto by poet Megan Levad, Kept was premiered at the Virginia Arts Festival with support from the John Duffy Institute for New Opera in May 2017.
Upcoming and recent premieres of Kuster’s music have included works for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the United States Air Force Heritage Brass Ensemble, Philadelphia-based Network for New Music, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, the Lisbon Summerfest Chamber Choir, multi-percussionist Joseph Gramley, and the Donald Sinta Quartet.
Kuster’s music has received support from such organizations as the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Charles Ives Fellowship), the Sons of Norway, American Composers Orchestra, League of American Orchestras, New Music USA, American Opera Projects, the Jerome Foundation, and the Jack L. Adams Foundation.
Born in 1973, Kuster grew up in Boulder, Colorado. She often misses the daily gazing at the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of her youth; yet she loves that Ann Arbor is blanketed in deciduous trees. When she is not writing or teaching, you can often find her hanging out with her son with special needs, or on her deck with her locally-brewed Sweetwaters and/or Comet coffee. Kuster loves camping, hiking, kayaking, and riding her mountain bike around town.
Kristin Kuster will be in residence for the West Coast premiere of Rain On It on Saturday, August 4, during After Dixieland.