Emerging as a composer with a unique, yet quintessentially American sound, Drew Hemenger's music has been heard all over the United States and Canada as well as parts of Europe and Asia. Described as "deceptively simple" (New Music Box); "perfectly crazy" (Sequenza 21); and "unlike anything I've heard before - in a good way!" (Ned Rorem), Hemenger's music has been performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to intimate churches in the Midwest. Although he now considers himself a New Yorker, Hemenger remains close to his Ohio roots.
His works have been commissioned by distinguished artists and institutions, both here and abroad. These include the Goldman Memorial Band (Manhattan Flourish), Chicago's Orion Ensemble (Which Way Home?), Chamber Music Yellow Springs (Three Inner Moments: String Quartet No. 2, for The Vogler Quartet), University of Texas at Austin (Sharks, for violinist Brian Lewis), Madrid's Jones & Maruri Cello/Guitar Duo (Songs From America), recorded on EMEC Discos; The Auros Ensemble (For Robin); Sweden's Duo Con Forza (Petit Duo), and pianists Pascal and Ami Rogé (Four Places in New York, piano 4-hands version).
Hemenger's latest stage project "An Evening in the Harlem Renaissance," is a one-act 'live documentary' inspired by the life of jazz-influenced Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Commissioned by The Lively Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "Evening" was recently performed by soprano and co-creator Adrienne Danrich throughout the United States including on the American Opera Projects' Opera Grows in Brooklyn series in New York, at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, and at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
Currently, Hemenger is working on a large-scale opera about a Filipina mail-order bride and her marriage to Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols. "Marife" is based on a novella by Filipino-American writer Marianna Villanueva, who is also writing the libretto.
Winner of Boston University's 1996 ALEA III International Composition Competition, Hemenger's residencies and fellowships include the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Banff Centre, Omi International Arts Center, and the Bowdoin and Aspen Music Festivals. He has also served as Composer-in-Residence for the New York-based dance company, RamosDance.
Hemenger earned a Bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance from Ohio Wesleyan University, after which he studied composition at The Juilliard School with Stanley Wolfe. His Master's and Doctoral degrees are from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied principally with Richard Danielpour. Other teachers and mentors include George Crumb, David Del Tredici, Sebastian Currier, and Robert Beaser.
Hemenger's music is published by Seemsa (Madrid), LK Drew Publishing, and Drew Hemenger Music.
October 15, 2012