Gramophone reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS....
"Geoffrey Gordon has built up a substantial and wide-ranging catalogue over the last quarter of a century, with the three works featured here attesting to his imaginative outlook on the musical past.

Inspired by Doktor Faustus, Thomas Mann’s powerful if often fanciful take on the creative ego, the Cello Concerto (2013) falls into a Prologue, seven Episodes and Epilogue that play continuously for 24 minutes (paralleling those 24 years of creativity granted in the Faustian pact). Its trajectory from ‘innocence to madness’ might easily risk overkill but the Dutilleux-like finesse Gordon instils into the relationship of soloist and orchestra (cello only coming to the fore in two trenchant cadenza passages) helps to maintain expressive focus throughout.

The other pieces are hardly less arresting. Fathoms (2015) consists of five impressions after Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with a substantial Prologue representing the storm sequence; the six movements resulting in a cello sonata of a cohesion because of, rather than despite, these extramusical associations. Most distinctive are the final movements, a free-form fantasy that evokes the isle full of noises then a sustained leave-taking whose inexorable descent mirrors that of Prospero drowning his book. More concrete in its associations, Ode to a Nightingale (2018) sets all eight stanzas of Keats’s poem in writing – luminous and astringent by turns – that builds toward an ecstatic culmination with the cello wholly subsumed into the chorus, before those two sound-sources ineluctably move apart as does the poet from his inspiration.

It remains to add that performances are consistently excellent, Toke Møldrup equally at home in the three highly contrasted contexts, but the booklet notes seem more intent on selling than explaining these works. On this evidence, Gordon’s music is more than able to promote itself."

- Richard Whitehouse
Nes qu'on porroit premieres at Internationale Musikfestival Koblenz...
"It all started with a minimal program: cellist and IMUKO founder Benedict Kloeckner devotes himself to Bach's solo suites, interrupted by new cello miniatures that reflect a plague-shaped present in the mirror of the devastating past. The text of a ballad by Guillaume de Machaut inspired the American Geoffrey Gordon to write a work that alternates between deep lamentation and rioting: 'Nes quón porroit' refers to a separation during the plague in the 14th century."

-Allgemeine Zeitung
(translated from the German)
Thursday, July 16 , 2020
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS ...
GORDON: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (after Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus) BIS 2330
Copenhagen Phil/Lan Shui/Moldrup, cello

A shared interest in Thomas Mann’s novel Doktor Faustus led to the composition of Geoffrey Gordon’s Cello Concerto. In the novel, a bargain is struck between the fictitious composer Adrian Leverkühn and the Devil in which the composer is granted 24 years of genius (as reflected in the score’s 24 minutes of duration). The work is a Copenhagen Philharmonic commission for Toke Møldrup. The musical language seems uncompromising, but moments of magical (magickal) mystery are inevitably part of this mystical journey; the third movement, “Dürer’s Magic Square,” is simply beautiful in its frozen stasis. The ominous ascending lines in the orchestra of the fourth movement are separated from the “Magic Square” movement by a brilliantly delivered cadenza, and if anything, the second cadenza, between movements 4 and 5, is more impressive still in its expressive scope; there is not a note wasted in either of them. If one sees the movements as representatives of emotional states of the protagonist on his journey from innocence to madness, this presents a harrowing journey, with the Devil’s fiddle appearing as the solo violin in the final movement. An Epilogue offers hints of solace and peace, but with harp washes unsettled by bass rumblings and uncomfortable woodwind and wha-wha brass gestures. This is a magnificent concerto; one hopes it will join the repertoire. In terms of scope, one might perhaps make comparisons with Dutilleux’s Cello Concerto, “Tout un monde lointain …”; but Gordon’s voice is all his own.

Five stars: This is a magnificent offering; Gordon’s music lingers in the memory, it resonates on within us.

Colin Clarke
July/August edition
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS (continued)...
GORDON: Ode to a Nightingale (after the Keats poem) BIS 2330
Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir/Mogens Dahl/Moldrup, cello

The World Premiere (of Ode to a Nightingale) was broadcast live by Danish Radio; the performers were those on this disc. All credit is due to the Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir for its super diction in English, allowing us to relish the subtleties of Gordon’s writing, along with the more obvious word-paintings (“Lethe-wards had sunk” is a nice descent to the vocal, and cello, depths). The demands on the performers are many: The control of the sopranos at times is stunning, their lines always delivered with the utmost purity. (How well the high cello emerges from them in the sixth stanza!) Interactions between choir and cello are well considered, each having its own ruminative space, plus the cello acts as a connective inter-stanza thread, occasionally underlining the choir, as in the penultimate stanza. The choral setting enables an appreciation of Gordon’s harmonic world from a different sonic perspective: listen to the sheer sonic gold of the line “Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,” for example. This is a gorgeous setting of the Keats poem. The music resonates on within us after the sound has finished.

Expertly recorded in May 2018 at the Concert Hall of the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen by Viggo Mangor (who acted both as producer and as engineer), this is a magnificent offering. BIS’s recordings are notably consistent, but this one seems to go a touch further in its excellence; the clarity and warmth of the choir is especially notable. It is, though, Gordon’s music that lingers in the memory.

Five stars: This is a magnificent offering; Gordon’s music lingers in the memory, it resonates on within us.

Colin Clarke
July/August edition
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS (continued)...
GORDON: FATHOMS (after Shakespeare) for cello and piano BIS 2330
Toke Moldrup, cello; Steven Beck, piano

Subtitled “Five Impressions of Shakespeare’s The Tempest,” Fathoms for cello and piano in fact begins with “Prelude and Storm,” preceded by the quotation “A most auspicious star.” There’s no missing the grumblings of the storm in the low registers of both instruments. (Listen to the presence of the recording: The clear placement of both instruments and the sheer visceral intensity of the performance is especially awe-inspiring on headphones.) The sheer lyricism of “Ferdinand and Miranda” is the closest Gordon comes to a Minimalist-tinged sense of nostalgia while, of course, the higher registers are used for “Ariel and all his quality”; the quote here is “To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride / On the curl’d clouds.” Steven Beck is a superb pianist, and his evenness of delivery in the piano part to this particular movement is incredible. The next movement, “Caliban (and Sycorax)” takes us from the air to the earth, an elemental polar opposite. The cello lumbers brilliantly and evocatively, although as the music becomes more animated there is a sort of dance that is a kind of parody of the lightness of Ariel. Super-high harmonics, impeccably controlled, open “The Isle of Noises,” which aptly includes knockings as well as rumblings and half-voiced glissandos before “Prospero drowns his book,” a heady number that occasionally threatens to burst into dance before refinding its core of fiery energy. That energy itself seems to wind down in the music’s final moments, with groaning low cello glissandos moving ever deeper.

Five stars: This is a magnificent offering; Gordon’s music lingers in the memory, it resonates on within us.

Colin Clarke
July/August edition
Politiken reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS
"Toke Møldrup shows strength on a powerful album of music written specifically for the Danish cellist by the new American superman....

There are musicians who play together. And then there are musicians who get a permanent collaboration with a composer. The last is the Danish cellist Toke Møldrup, who after a number of years as concertmaster in Copenhagen Phil, has just decided to leave the symphony orchestra to focus on a solo career. This is understandable when you listen to Møldrup's new album, where he appears both as a virtuoso chamber musician and powerful soloist with his old orchestra. The collaboration, reflected on the album 'Cello Libris', was premiered six years ago - the concerto for cello and symphony orchestra that the American composer Geoffrey Gordon wrote for Møldrup. A cello concerto, which with its 24 minutes of high-intensity drama, is a reflection minute by minute of the 24 years of brilliant creative power awarded to the fictional composer Adrian Leverkühn by the Devil in Thomas Mann's novel 'Doctor Faustus'.

The music is highly tense and satanic in its juicy darkness. The ferocity ends in madness, while Toke Møldrup in Gordon's sonata 'Fathoms' for cello and piano "bites" effectively. Here is magic and drama drawn from Shakespeare's "The Tempest" which, through six movements, reveals the force of music superman Geoffrey Gordon as tone-master....

It is difficult to write colorfully intense music; however, Geoffrey Gordon is equal to the task. Møldrup premiered the sonata with pianist Steven Beck five years ago in New York, so they have been fully ready to make the now released recording....

That American Geoffrey Gordon can write music that competes with composers like British Thomas Adès's in the force of fascination, just in a more mainstream-like way, there's no doubt. Just as there is no doubt that Toke Møldrup is of course now going out to try to fly solo in the wide world."

Thomas Michelsen
(translated from the Danish)
Politiken: 12 May 2020
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS...
"With every contemporary composer I ask myself 'What is the entry point?' in the way that indigenous Russian folk singing lets us into Stravinsky’s Les noces or the rules of 12-tone composition let us into Schoenberg’s concept of the tone row. Geoffrey Gordon is a US/UK composer whose entry point on this collection of his music for cello is literary. The first work, his intensely dramatic Cello Concerto, grew out of a love of Thomas Mann. In 2013, Gordon and Toke Møldrup, first cellist of the Copenhagen Phil, discovered a mutual interest in Mann’s 1943 novel Doktor Faustus....

Gordon’s idiom is dense, kinetic, multi-layered, extremely colorful in using both the cello and the orchestra, and theatrical. Don’t expect the cello in its typical role as soulful singer. The last contemporary cello concertos that had a lasting impact were composed by Schnittke, Dutilleux, and Lutoslawski. They function as laboratories, if you will, for experimenting with the cello’s hidden capacities. Gordon mines the same vein, showing us that the cello can tremble, shudder, shriek, whine, keen, grow hysterical or menacing, etc. Here the cello is an agitated participant from the first... What Gordon presents, like (Robert) Schumann when he refers to the mad musician Kreisler, is a composer’s private transformation of his own literary response into musical notation...Gordon’s concerto reminded me instantly of Schoenberg’s 1929–30 Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, not as a direct influence but by dint of a musical imagination creating a cinema of the mind. Schoenberg’s score never reached the movie house; Gordon’s concerto is so dramatic that it would leap off the screen, blotting out the visuals. There’s a schrecklich air to Gordon’s concerto which befits Leverkühn’s dance with the Devil...Gordon’s Cello Concerto is a remarkable score of eye-opening dimensions for both cellist and listener. It deserves to be widely played and appreciated."

Huntley Dent
July/August edition
Fanfare reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS (continued)...
"The cello-and-piano suite Fathoms is inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as in “Full fathom five thy father lies,” and the work’s Prelude and five movements bring forward the familiar elements of the play: a storm at sea, the lovers Miranda and Ferdinand, the wizard Prospero, and the supernatural Ariel and Caliban. (I could have neatly made a comparison with Thomas Adès’s opera of The Tempest if Gordon had orchestrated Fathoms, but never mind. It’s enough to say that Gordon’s use of the orchestra in the concerto is just as ingenious and imaginative as Adès’s.) The same exploration of color, tone, and mood that characterizes the Cello Concerto is extended here —the piano’s possibilities are very extensively explored and beautifully conveyed by pianist Steven Beck.

Without an orchestra to compete with, Møldrup can dominate the sound picture, and his virtuosic playing is little short of amazing. There’s a lot of tempestuousness in this depiction of The Tempest, even if the only literal tempest is in the “Prelude and Storm.” The mysterious noises of Prospero’s island come through vividly, and Gordon applies a contemporary sense of melody to the two young lovers, in which the cello’s long lyric line is set against the piano’s evocation of the strangeness surrounding Ferdinand and Miranda. They find themselves in a realm where love, terror, dream, romance, and a wizard’s spells are indistinguishable."

Huntley Dent
July/August edition
MusicWeb International reviews Cello Libris: new CD on BIS
This generously filled new issue - its title translates as ‘Cello Book’- contains a trio of substantial works for the instrument; a sonata with piano inspired by Shakespeare’s Tempest, a setting of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale for choir with cello, and most impressive of all a full-scale cello concerto. One of the attractive features common to all three pieces is the elegance and symmetry of Gordon’s formal designs; the composer writes superbly for the orchestra while its delicately varied expressive content packs a lingering emotional punch. Gordon’s cello concerto impresses more with each hearing. It is fierce and uncompromising and superbly played by Møldrup and the Copenhagen Phil under Lan Shui.

The disc concludes with Gordon’s setting of John Keats’ immortal Ode to A Nightingale. The vocal writing seems incredibly challenging; the Danish choir copes splendidly both with the chromaticism of Gordon’s piquant harmonies and in terms of their projection of Keats’ singular language - there are flashes of vocal writing which recall Britten at his best.

It is high time listeners were presented with an extended opportunity to become acquainted with Geoffrey Gordon’s music and not for the first time we can be grateful to BIS for making this happen.

- Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International
Minnesota Orchestra gives 'Prometheus' concerto a fiery premiere
"What does a bass clarinet look and sound like? Even classical aficionados can be hard-pressed to answer that question. Hardly any concertos have been written for the instrument, buried deep in the underbelly of the orchestra.

One exception is "Prometheus" by American composer Geoffrey Gordon. First heard earlier this year in London, the work received its U.S. premiere Thursday morning at Orchestra Hall.

The soloist was Timothy Zavadil, Minnesota Orchestra's bass clarinetist. Stationed at a music stand, with his instrument perched on a spike (its saxophone-like bell jutting toward the audience), Zavadil gave a commanding performance.

Gordon's piece is based on a prose fragment by Franz Kafka, outlining four strands of the Prometheus story in classical mythology. In the first two, Zeus clamps Prometheus to a rock — his liver pecked at by circling eagles — as punishment for giving fire to humans.

Gordon found striking counterparts for these events in his fulminating, expressive orchestral writing. Spitting trumpets suggested the sharpened talons of raptors. Deep percussion rumbled with the dark psychology of predation and physical chastisement.

Zavadil's ripely rounded bass clarinet tone bestowed an element of dignity on the suffering Prometheus, tracking his gradual obliteration from public memory through a twisting solo cadenza to the unsettling memory-wipe of the piece's fade-to-black conclusion."

-Terry Blain
The Star Tribune: April 2019
BBC Music Magazine reviews Saint Blue...
"Geoffrey Gordon's Saint Blue is inspired by two Kandinsky paintings, All Saints I and In Blue and constructed as 'a sonic exploration of the sacred and profane,' with the trumpet deployed first as an instrument of heavenly summons, then as the bluesy soul of jazz in this complex, richly-satisfying work."

-Kate Wakeling
BBC Music Magazine: January 2018
English String Orchestra records Saint Blue.....
Geoffrey Gordon’s Saint Blue, inspired by two Kandinsky paintings ('All Saints 1' and 'In Blue', well worth a web search), is by far the best work on this engaging disc; a taut and exhilarating single movement concerto, wonderfully played by soloists Simon Desbruslais and Clare Hammond.

–Chris Achenbach
Classical Ear (UK): 30 April 2018
The Munich Philharmonic premieres Chase...
"Under the direction of the American conductor James Gaffigan, the Munich Philharmonic managed a gripping program that delivered tragic complexity. The program included Geoffrey Gordon's concerto for trumpet and orchestra, 'Chase', which the Philharmonic commissioned this year.

The sculptures of Picasso's companion Alberto Giacometti, which Gordon uses as a model for his trumpet concerto, are similar in that they are very dramatic in their proportions. A too small head rests on a scrawny, elongated body. Overall, the sculptures seem edgy and forbidding, a characteristic that can also be found in Gordon's work. 'Chase' is not a concerto that wants to indulge in virtuosity, but rather energetic expressiveness, which despite the modern language, is quite tangible and pursues a straightforward stringency. In general, the work seems to be permeated by a constant pressure that does not want to relent."

- David Renke
(translated from the German)
Bachtrack: 9 October 2017
CHASE premiere with the Munich Philharmonic
"The new trumpet concerto CHASE is from the pen of American composer Geoffrey Gordon.

Three sculptures by Alberto Giacometti served as inspiration, according to which the movements are named: 'The Walking Man,' 'The Standing Naked Woman,' and 'The Bust.' With much fantasy imagination, these models are brought sonically to life. In the first movement, this is done through repetitions and circling melodic movements, and most conclusively in the second movement, thanks to a sultry-erotic atmosphere, which is well-established by the dreamy-wreathed timbre of the Flügelhorn."

-Maximilian Maier
(translated from the German)
Münchner Merkur: 8 October 2017
FATHOMS world premiere at Carnegie Hall....
"The engaging and colorful 'Fathoms' links to the past with unabashedly programmatic, extroverted storytelling. Using a range of extended techniques and unusual textures, Mr. Gordon vividly sketches characters and scenes from 'The Tempest.' Caliban’s gruffness, Ariel’s quicksilver curiosity, the glowing romance between Ferdinand and Miranda all came alive in Mr. Moldrup and Mr. Beck’s intense playing. The final movement imagines Prospero drowning his book, with Mr. Moldrup gradually tuning the bottom string of his cello downward, creating the unnerving sensation of something sinking, slowly, to ever darker depths."
The New York Times: 18 December 2015
JACK Quartet and Anthony McGill premiere Gordon QUINTET:
".....the darkly seductive Clarinet Quintet by Geoffrey Gordon received its world premiere with the wonderful clarinetist Anthony McGill joining the JACK players.

Mr. Gordon’s Clarinet Quintet combines a similar zest for sonic experimentation with a four-movement structure built around thematic signposts — reiterations of an opening motif — that guide the listener through a colorful and atmospheric journey. That motif is built on accordion-like layered string chords from which the clarinet emerges almost coyly, with a veiled sound and sinewy flutter.

Across four movements, the interaction between clarinet and strings changes, with moments of bright commonality and others in which the warm, musky clarinet tone contrasts with the sharper and glossier one of the string quartet. In the third movement, small cells of players break away for a series of arresting duos and a trio that chart different interpersonal dynamics. The work ends softly on a languid low clarinet trill, which Mr. McGill played so quietly that the final notes were not so much heard as felt as gently pulsating airwaves."
The New York Times: 22 November 2015
World Premiere of Geoffrey Gordon's Duo Sonata for two horns and piano...
"Gordon opens this swashbuckling work with a fanfare of the sort that could signal a five-alarm fire. The two horns swoop upward again and again in arpeggios to plateau on intense trills in all three instruments. The three instruments chase one another upward in these passages before arriving in vibrating knots of harmony.

In the second movement especially but throughout the sonata, Gordon plays the master of suspense. He makes us feel that the music has a tonal center, but then he refuses to land on it -- maybe once in the last movement, and then not at the end. The relentless, subtle tension of that device is a big reason this music puts you on the edge of your seat.

So also do the many startling effects, the most striking being the machine-gun repetitions that Flint and Kimel miraculously energized with very little respite in the electrifying third movement. Or the way the piano seemed to tumble down a dark well at the outset of the fourth movement.

Flint, Kimel and Huang gave this music just the rip-roaring reading it needs. Exciting stuff."
Tom Strini Writes: 24 April 2014
Cellist Has a Fight with the Devil!
“Toke Møldrup was sharp and focused as a soloist in the new American cello concerto by composer Geoffrey Gordon, inspired by Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus”

Toke Møldrup and Copenhagen Philharmonic; Cond. : Rory MacDonald; Concert Hall of the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Friday, Jan. 31/2014

"It's online where people get together and often sweet music appears. And it takes place not only on various dating sites, but also on a serious social network like LinkedIn. It was here that the Danish cellist, Toke Møldrup, met the American composer, Geoffrey Gordon. The music that came out of this meeting can hardly be called “sweet,” but rather it was an intense experience, as it was performed at its premiere in the ”Galaxy” in Værløse on Thursday and again on Friday in the Academy Concert Hall .

Sweet music is also not exactly what one would expect from a work that has been created on the basis of the Danish musician’s and the American composer’s common fascination with one of world literature's truly heavy novels, Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus " ...

The novel's protagonist, Adrian Leverkühn, gets 24 years of genius in exchange for his soul. Therefore, it was exactly 24 minutes of dramatic music for cello and orchestra, given its world premiere by the Copenhagen Philharmonic—which began the work providing a mysterious, shiny backdrop through which the woodwinds rose up like bubbles in a chaotic, creative, primordial soup, before dramatic percussion eruptions and brass-crested waves stole the show."
Politiken: 2 February 2014
Cellist in the Hands of the Devil
"The Copenhagen Philharmonic's solo cellist, Toke Møldrup, gave the audiences goose bumps at the world premiere of Geoffrey Gordon's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, inspired by Thomas Mann's novel Doktor Faustus.

Magical Tone Threads:

With long, deep lines from the string section, Gordon gave the audience chills - a mysterious mood permeated the entire 24 minutes of this work. The cello spun magical threads of tone against the orchestra's crisp accompaniment, while gentle glimpses of harp, muted brass motifs and incisive, well-delivered percussion broke the liquid sounds characteristic of this new work. In the concerto’s two furious cadences, the 33 -year-old Toke Møldrup showed his dazzling talent. Concentrated, he turned his gaze inward - everything was played by heart! - and conjured, with hands and bow alone, the virtuoso passages demanded by the composer. It was also a delight to study the distinct technique of the young conductor, Rory MacDonald. He seemed to have an eye on every phrase and embraced the band with clear and meaningful cues....

Finally, it was the cello concerto’s haunting and understated terror which stayed in the body long after the evening's last notes had faded out.”

-Christine Christiansen
(translated from the Danish)
Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten, 1 February 2014
American Recorder Magazine reviews Stanza della Segnatura ...
"American composer Geoffrey Gordon (b. 1968) is composer in residence for the Xanthos Ensemble of Boston and has written works in many genres that have been widely performed and acclaimed by audience and press alike. I have found his music consistently impressive especially in its command of timbral and formal dimensions, and his work speaks with an authentic and substantial musical voice. Stanza della Segnatura (2004) is a quartet based on frescoes of Raphael located in the Vatican. The four movements of the work represent the humanist quadripartion (theology, poetry, justice, and philosophy) as well as the four elements (air, water, fire, earth). Each movement features one of the instruments as soloist (the second movement is actually for harpsichord alone, which does not play in the fourth movement). The writing throughout is colorful, dramatic, and idiomatically conceived. This is another strong work of substance and integrity from Gordon that is emblematic of the very best of contemporary composition for historical instruments that should be embraced by performers and listeners alike."

-Carson Cooman
American Recorder Magazine: Winter, 2013 Ed.
Wincenc Leads BPO in New Work for Flute ...
"The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra was in good form for Saturday's concert. Works by Sergei Rachmaninov and Emmanuel Chabrier bracketed the weekend's world premiere of a brand new score for flute and orchestra by Geoffrey Gordon. Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 3 received top billing, but Gordon's work generated most of the pre-concert excitement ... Gordon's work is a collection of contrasts that mesh into a whole. The flute is treated almost as an equal in the score, rising above the sound to make its presence known ... The music is active but not overly busy, filled with tensions but not congested. Sections of the orchestra are assigned roles that rise and fall within the context of the whole, sometimes climbing over each other in order to enter the fray and, at other times, cruising beneath the prevailing themes only to rise from beneath the surface to take their place alongside the other materials. In that regard, it was cinematic in the same way that a Bernard Herrmann--John Corigliano hybrid would be if it were drawn through that kind of lens and out of Gordon's pen."

- Garaud MacTaggart
April 8, 2013
The Buffalo News
International Trombone Association Journal: Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra ....
"This is a major work for the instrument, well crafted, interesting and musical. It is technically difficult for both the soloist and the orchestra but at the same time idiomatic. This concerto rightfully takes its place alongside other recent music for solo trombone and orchestra by major composers including works by Christopher Rouse, Luciano Berio, Jennifer Higdon, Carlos Chavez, Jan Sandstrom, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Toru Takemitsu."

-Karl Hinterbichler
International Trombone Association Journal: Winter 2013, vol. 41, no. 1
American Recorder Magazine reviews Echoes of Ferrara ...
“Echoes of Ferrara (2005) is a three movement piece of about 20 minutes in length for solo recorderist (outer movements for tenor; inner for alto) and harpsichord, inspired by the history of 15th century Ferrara. The particularly rich legacy of music and art of that period is the source material (including extensive musical quotations from Josquin, Ockeghem, and Compere), which Gordon blends into an imaginative fantasy. This is the first work of Gordon’s that I have encountered incorporating historical musical material into its discourse, and these modal/tonal elements are seamlessly combined with Gordon’s own freely atonal harmonic palate…. This piece would make a terrific inclusion at an early music conference or as a general recital offering, particularly in the context of a mixed program.”

Carson Cooman
May, 2012
American Recorder Magazine
Tiger Psalms Chosen as a Top Ten Performance of 2011!
Fulcrum Point: Speaking in Tongues

"Just by definition new-music concerts are often mixed, uneven affairs but in this March program Fulcrum Point managed to deliver one of the finest contemporary programs of recent seasons with three world premieres. Most notable were Vivian Fung’s engaging Yunan Folk Songs and Geoffrey Gordon’s unapologetically 12-tone Tiger Psalms, the latter given a sterling performance by Julia Bentley. With artful, non-distracting projections, all the varied works received tight, full-metal performances under Stephen Burns’ focused direction."
Chicago Classical Review
MSO: Geoffrey Gordon’s Trombone Concerto, Megumi Kanda a hit
“Geoffrey Gordon’s new concerto for Megumi Kanda, the MSO’s principal trombonist, was a big success at Friday night’s premiere with the Milwaukee Symphony. The charms of this 25-minute piece are abundant ...The first movement jingles, squawks, cries, shimmers, and groans ... The second movement pits jaw-dropping lyrical trombone themes against ringing cluster chords, laced with harp and metal percussion ... and an epic coda blows the doors off the place!”
Third Coast Digest
MSO concerto premiere a tour de force for trombone
“You just never know what you're going to hear when a new piece is premiered. In the case of Geoffrey Gordon's new trombone concerto, which Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra principal trombonist Megumi Kanda premiered with guest conductor James Gaffigan and the orchestra on Friday evening, listeners got a piece that ought to come with the postscript: 'That, ladies and gentlemen, is what the trombone can do!' ”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fulcrum Point premieres Geoffrey Gordon's Tiger Psalms at the Harris Theatre ...
“In an era of reflexive Neo-Romanticism and vacuous pop-influences, there are not many young composers today who dare to write uncompromising 12-tone music. Not only does Geoffrey Gordon adhere to a fairly tough and astringent serial style in his Tiger Psalms, but the composer also makes the music sing magnificently. Like Alban Berg, Gordon’s modified serialism brings an individual and communicative style to his tone rows. These three songs for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra, written to poems by Ted Hughes, are bracing and pungent stuff, scored with a striking ear for colors and unusual timbral contrasts and combinations... this is a very impressive and significant world premiere by a composer we should be hearing more from.”
Chicago Classical Review
Boston Modern Orchestra Project premieres Shock Diamonds ...
"The 1st composition on the program, Geoffrey Gordon’s Shock Diamonds, was an endlessly engaging, technically flawless, and a beautifully unique experience. The work begins in the percussion section with inconclusive material that spills seamlessly and unexpectedly over into other members of the ensemble. As harmonies progress, certain points of concentration emerge amongst divided subsets of individuals while varied and lyrical lines are announced by solo performers. The melodic writing had 12-tone inclinations, but no traditional serial techniques were pursued. The harmonies remained dense yet beautiful throughout, and the balance of anonymous webs of sound with focused arrivals on single notes resulted in a very effective dramatic energy. All in all, this piece was a wonder to listen to."
Classical Voice of New England
Boston Modern Orchestra Project Enlivens Audiences with Five World Premieres ...
“Inspired by the beauty of science, the mathematically elegant "Shock Diamonds" evoked a metallic, faceted light that jettisoned like a sonic comet across the night sky, shattered into debris then, disintegrated into stillness.”
Berkshire Fine Arts
Chicago's Fulcrum Point premieres lux solis aeterna ....
"Gordon's opus for 13 players -- the Latin title means "Eternal Light of the Sun" -- tries, and succeeds, to evoke cosmic beauty in a dozen minutes of acutely crafted music. The sun rises in iridescent shimmers and sprays of instrumental color, now quiet and glowing, now fierce and eruptive. There is a sacred subtext but the sonic evolution may be enjoyed as pure music, complete with a bebop interlude led by two saxophones."

John von Rhein
Chicago Tribune
Rarescale Gives UK Premiere of Bright White Smooth
“Utilising the trade-name of his chosen music-paper, Geoffrey Gordon's Bright White Smooth is a finely-integrated assembly of gestures that reflects its inspiration in a three-part 'sonatine' whose sections blend imperceptibly into each other.”
The Classical Source
Interiors of a Courtyard a Mesmerising Work ...
"This is dark, haunting and brooding atonal music and is ideally suited to invoke the imagery of Hammershøi's works. The artist usually worked with a limited palette of muted colors and Geoffrey Gordon has managed to capture this very well in this most interesting composition ... a fascinating and mesmerising journey!"

-Steve Marsh
Classical Guitar (UK)
Classical Guitar
Early Music Now Presents Gordon Premiere ...
"Unusually, there was a premiere on an EMN concert, by composer Geoffrey Gordon. His four-movement Stanza della Segnatura is an interpretation of Raphael's Vatican palace frescoes, with themes of theology, poetry, justice and philosophy ... throughout it revealed Gordon's elegant, deep intellect in a neo-Baroque palate. It is the best new piece heard here in recent years."
The Shepherd Express
In Honor of Andy Warhol, Pop Go the Composers ...
"The stunner was Geoffrey Gordon's Cool RED Cool, for flute, alto sax, trumpet, two percussion, piano and bass, which doled out its jazz in mostly brilliant little flashes deftly bursting and dissolving amid a light fog of dissonance. Its inspiration was the 1986 Self Portrait, though one long stretch of jazz was lifted straight out of a 1950s Village bebop club -- sophisticated, chromatic and cool."

-Peter Dobrin
Philadelphia Inquirer
Lorca Musica featured on Centaur CD ...
“Lorca Musica per cello solo is the absolute standout ... vigorous ... longing ... remarkable. ”

Gordon Chamber Works Impress ....
“Gordon writes wonderfully idiomatic music, while earmarking his scores with an individual voice. ”
Salt Lake City Tribune

Geoffrey Gordon Composer

Welcome to the website of composer Geoffrey Gordon, hailed by Le Monde as "a rising star in contemporary music!"
<June 2021>


Gordon: A Canticle in Shards
Gordon: Lux solis aeterna
Gordon: Bright White Smooth
Gordon: Fancywork
Gordon: La tristesse durera toujours
Gordon: Ink on Paper
Gordon: Shock Diamonds
Gordon: Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Cello
Gordon: Meditation and Allegro for Viola and Chamber Ensemble
Gordon: Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra
Gordon: Abaciscus (for string quartet)
Gordon: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (after Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus)
Gordon: Duo Sonata
Gordon: Winterleben
Gordon: FATHOMS: Five Impressions of Shakespeare's The Tempest (with Prelude) for cello and piano
Gordon: Crucifixus (for SSAATTBB and solo cello)
Gordon: PUCK - fleeing from the dawn
Gordon: Prometheus: a concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra after Kafka

Spotify Playlist

Harmonie - an Jenny

Twitter Highlight

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