Biography

American composer Douglas Pew (b. 1980) is noted for his ability to strike at the root of the emotional world through his music “with a showman’s touch and a poet’s soul” (Jake Heggie). His music has been heralded as "real genius...pure magic" (DC Metro Theater Arts), “stunning” (Washington Times) and “sensual, other-worldly, expressive and showcasing a rich harmonic pallet, sure to connect with audiences, while saying something fresh, profound and meaningful” (The Pianist's Craft Vol. 2).

Douglas has received commissions for 2 one-act operas ('Penny' and 'A Game of Hearts') by Washington National Opera which were premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has received commissions and performances from the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Opera America, Polish Chamber Choir, Musica Sacra Poland, Salt Lake City Vocal and Choral Artists, Cincinnati Bach Ensemble, ASCAP, Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, Miami University Men's Glee Club, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and many others.

Douglas has received multiple awards including a Barlow Endowment commission, 1st prize in the 2009 SCI/ASCAP Student Composers Commission Competition, Musica Sacra International Choral Composition Competition in Poland, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Susan and For Schumann Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival, and the Tangeman Sacred Music Center.

Douglas holds Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of music as well as a post-graduate certificate from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland where he studied with internationally acclaimed composer Paweł Łukaszewski under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant. Douglas currently serves as composer-in-residence at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, OH and is active as a copyist, conductor, and vocalist. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, Schott Music, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Jackman Music Corporation, and Blue Shore Music.

 

Composer-in-residence, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, OH.

Penny’ simply works, not because we should like it, but because it has a story to tell. The different levels of musical characterization were far more than merely evocative, and they succeeded on a dramatic as well as a musical level.
— Anne Midgette, Washington Post
The engrossing drama ‘Penny’ [by Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg] is a thought-provoking musical feast. There are moments of real genius in this opera – where character, music, and song meet in a way that is pure magic.
— Jessica Vaughan, DC Metro Theater Arts
Douglas Pew and Dara Weinberg succeeded beautifully with a moving, touching, funny and meaningful piece called ‘A Game of Hearts’. Not only did the opera work as theater with Dara’s excellent libretto, Doug went to the root of the emotional world of the opera and wrote music that illuminated the characters and situation with a showman’s touch and poet’s soul. He let it take flight.
— Jake Heggie, composer
Mr. Pew’s score—mirabile dictu—soars into a beautiful, Romantic vocal triptych. It was a stunning, quality moment. Vocal composers today are still haunted by Puccini. They fear Puccini, fear his gift for melodies and arias, and are deathly afraid to be compared unfavorably to him. Mr. Pew and Ms. Weinberg evidently do not fear Puccini. Monday evening’s Terrace audience didn’t miss this magical moment during which this young team fully re-engaged with tradition.
— Washington Times, Terry Pinock covering the American Opera Initiative