The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, Germany, and most recently in Romania and Bulgaria. Recent performances include works on programs by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Brentano String Quartet, Seraphim Singers, Ensemble Phoenix, Radius Ensemble, Laurel Trio, Now and Then Chamber Players, Aurelius Ensemble, Opera Longy, Ives Quartet, Arden Quartet, Lighthouse Chamber Players, Earplay, and Empyrean. His opera Our American Cousin was staged in 2008, featuring the Boston Modern Orchestra Project . His new opera, The Garden of Martyrs, received its premiere performance on September 20, 2013 with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. The opera was a third place winner for The American Prize, a national prize in opera composition.Among the judges’comments: “strong and grand…a stage-worthy descendant of Ward’s ‘The Crucible’” Sawyer is currently working on a third opera, The Scarlet Professor.
Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, a First Music commission from the New York Youth Symphony, and awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has held fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Harvard University. He appears frequently as a solo and chamber pianist, on programs by Empyrean, Lighthouse Chamber Players, and Composers in Red Sneakers, and is founding director of the critically acclaimed contemporary ensemble Longitude. He recently received a commission from the Ravinia Festival.
Following four years as Chair of Composition and Theory at the Longy School of Music, Mr. Sawyer joined the composition faculty of Amherst College in the fall of 2002. Previously, he has taught composition and theory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Wellesley College, and MIT. Mr. Sawyer received his undergraduate musical training at Harvard College, and completed his graduate studies at Columbia University and the University of California, Davis. His teachers have included Leon Kirchner, Ross Bauer, Tison Street, Andrew Imbrie, Thomas Benjamin, and George Edwards.