Amy Beth Kirsten

Composition / Performance

Amy Beth Kirsten, “…one of America’s most innovative and visionary composers” (BBC Music Magazine), is known primarily for her multi-year multimedia theatrical collaborations. She has cast herself in roles as varied as composer, poet, filmmaker, vocalist, and director. Her body of theatrical work spans the last eighteen years and often considers musicians’ instruments, bodies, and voices as equal vehicles of expression. A composer of non-theatrical concert works, she has also been recognized with awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2020), John S. Guggenheim Foundation (2010), and the Rockefeller Foundation (2009). Ms. Kirsten has created collaborative works for her ensemble HOWL, musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, Peak Performances, the multi-Grammy-winning eighth blackbird, and American Composers Orchestra, among many others. An original story written by Ms. Kirsten and Timothy Leopold (trumpet) is the catalyst for her current project, Jacob in Chains, an evening-length work for Alarm Will Sound. Jacob is a present-day Christmas ghost story inspired by ancient myth, spiritual texts, and the character Jacob Marley from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In addition to her faculty appointment at Curtis Institute of Music, she is director of the Artist Residency at Longy School of Music of Bard College. She is composer mentor for the Blueprint Fellowship at the Juilliard School and has held previous teaching posts at Oberlin College and Conservatory and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. The Toulmin Foundation, Chamber Music America, the MAP Fund, and many other generous patrons, foundations, and institutions support her work.

Dr. Kirsten joined the faculty in 2022.