Harold Meltzer is inspired by a wide variety of stimuli, from architectural spaces to postmodern fairy tales and messages inscribed in fortune cookies. In Fanfare Magazine, Robert Carl commented that he “seems to write pieces of scrupulous craft and exceptional freshness, which makes each seem like an important contribution.” The first recording devoted to his music, released in 2010 by Naxos on its American Classics label, was named one of the CDs of the year in The New York Times; soon there will be new recordings on the Bridge Records and BMOP/Sound labels. A busy 2016 includes performances at Tanglewood during Contemporary Music Week and by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, premieres in March by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and by the Boston Chamber Music Society at Sanders Theatre at Harvard, in May by guitarist Eliot Fisk in Connecticut and by pianist Nadia Shpachenko at Piano Spheres in Los Angeles, and in October by tenor Paul Appleby with pianist Natalia Katyukova and by Music from China with the Talujon Percussion Quartet.
A Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2009 for his sextet Brion, Meltzer has been awarded the Rome Prize, the Barlow Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and both the Arts and Letters Award in Music and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Commissions in recent years have issued from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Music Foundations, New Music USA, Library of Congress, Boston Chamber Music Society, Concert Artists Guild, and the ASCAP Foundation for the New York Festival of Song. Founder and co-director for fifteen years of the new music ensemble Sequitur, Meltzer lives with his family in the East Village of Manhattan. He studied at Amherst College, the Yale School of Music, Columbia Law School, and King’s College, Cambridge, and has taught at Amherst and Vassar. In spare moments he coaches baseball, is learning to speak Mandarin and trying to build glass harmonicas.