Biography

The music of the American composer Gordon Getty has been widely performed in North America and Europe in such prestigious venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Vienna’s Brahmssaal, and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and Bolshoi Theatre, as well as at the Aspen, Spoleto, and Bad Kissingen Festivals.

Most recently, San Francisco Opera staged Getty’s Usher House (derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher) in December, 2015.  It was first seen at Welsh National Opera in June, 2014.  The following year, another of Getty’s Gothic-themed one-act operas, The Canterville Ghost (after Oscar Wilde’s tale), received its premiere at Leipzig Opera in May, 2015. Getty’s first opera, Plump Jack, was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 1984 and subsequently revived by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, and London Philharmonia, among others.  In 2011 the Munich Radio Orchestra performed a new concert version of Plump Jack which was simulcast on Bavarian Radio.

Getty, who studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, first garnered attention as a composer in the 1980s with The White Election, a much-performed song cycle on poems by Emily Dickinson that has been presented at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Hermitage Theatre in St. Petersburg, among many other venues. Joan and the Bells, a cantata portraying the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, has been performed widely since its 1998 premiere, notably in a 2004 revival in St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle under the baton of Mikhail Pletnev. 

Getty has composed no fewer than twenty choral pieces as well as works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and solo piano. Recent notable performances include the premiere of A Prayer for My Daughter, a choral setting of the Yeats poem, by the San Francisco Symphony in 2014; Four Traditional Pieces featuring Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra in 2012; and the premiere staging of the ballet Ancestor Suite by the Bolshoi Ballet (choreography by Vladimir Vasiliev) with the Russian National Orchestra in 2009.

PENTATONE has produced commercially-available recordings of most of Getty’s oeuvre, including Usher House, Plump Jack, Joan and the Bells, The White Election, and The Canterville Ghost (2016 release), as well as collections of his piano pieces (performed by Conrad Tao), orchestral works (Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields), and choral works (Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus).  Autumn of 2015 saw the release of two new recordings:  The Little Match Girl featuring new Getty choral works, and December Celebration, a collection of new holiday music by seven American composers. 

In 1986, Getty was recognized as an Outstanding American Composer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Other honors include the 2003 Gold Baton of the League of American Orchestras and an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Getty is the subject of the documentary Gordon Getty: There Will Be Music, which receives its public premiere in New York City in February, 2016.

Getty’s music is published by Rork Music.

Discography

Gordon Getty - Usher House

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Gordon Getty - Piano Pieces

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The Hours Begin to Sing

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Gordon Getty - Joan and the bells & Serge Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet

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Gordon Getty - Plump Jack

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Gordon Getty - Young America Choral Works

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The White Election / Song cycle

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And if the song be worth a smile

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Gordon Getty - Orchestral Music

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Getty - The Little Match Girl

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DECEMBER CELEBRATION New Carols by Seven American Composers

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OUT OF THE SHADOWS Rediscovered American Art Songs

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