Born in 1951 in Pasadena, California, Donald Crockett is dedicated to composing music inspired by the musicians who perform it. He has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Composer-in-Residence 1991-97), Pasadena Chamber Orchestra (Composer-in-Residence 1984-86), Kronos Quartet, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hilliard Ensemble, Stanford String Quartet, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Charlotte Symphony, Music from Angel Fire, the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East (Senior Composer-in-Residence 2002-), Pacific Serenades and the California EAR Unit, among many others. Recent projects include commissions from the San Francisco-based chamber choir, Volti, Composers Inc. for its 20th anniversary, a work for piano and orchestra commissioned by the University of Southern California for its 125th anniversary, and a chamber opera based on a novella in verse by poet David St. John. His music has also been widely performed by ensembles including the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Collage, Xtet and the Arditti Quartet, at the Tanglewood, Aspen and Piccolo Spoleto festivals, and by artists including violinists Ida Kavafian and Michelle Makarski, mezzo soprano Janice Felty, oboist Allan Vogel, pianist Vicki Ray, percussionist Lynn Vartan, and conductors Jorge Mester, JoAnn Falletta, Hugh Wolff, Sergiu Comissiona, Jeffrey Kahane and Christof Perick. Donald Crockett was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and has also received the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a commission from the Barlow Endowment, an Artist Fellowship from the California Arts Council, an Aaron Copland Award and the first Sylvia Goldstein Award from the Copland House, a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, as well as grants and awards from the American Music Center, BMI, Bogliasco Foundation (Aaron Copland Fellowship, 2007), Composers Inc., the Copland Fund, Meet the Composer and the National Endowment for the Arts. His music is published by MMB Music, St. Louis and Doberman/Yppan, Quebec, and recorded on the Albany, CRI, ECM, Laurel, Orion and Pro Arte/Fanfare labels.
Also active as a conductor of new music, Donald Crockett has presented many world, national and regional premieres with the Los Angeles-based new music ensemble Xtet, the USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble, and as a guest conductor with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Hilliard Ensemble, California EAR Unit and the USC Thornton Symphony. He has also been very active over the years as a composer and conductor with the venerable and famed Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles. His recordings as a conductor can be found on the ECM, New World and CRI labels.
After composition studies with American composers Robert Linn, Halsey Stevens and Edward Applebaum, and British composers Peter Racine Fricker and Humphrey Searle at the University of Southern California (BM Magna cum Laude 1974, MM 1976) and UC Santa Barbara (PhD 1981), he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music in 1981. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Composition Department and Director of the Contemporary Music Ensemble at Thornton, and Senior Composer-in-Residence with the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East.