Judd Greenstein is a composer and advocate for the independent new music community in the US and around the world.
Judd's works for standout groups such as Roomful of Teeth, NOW Ensemble, and yMusic have reached global audiences and received widespread critical acclaim. As a founder of New Amsterdam Records and the Ecstatic Music Festival, Judd has been a leading figure in the development of a genre-fluid musical landscape, and has endeavored to increase diversity and representation in contemporary music through the development of a new, progressive musical infrastructure.
Judd’s music teaches its language as it tells a story, with clear musical ideas coalescing into rich structures and tapestries of sound. Much of Judd’s work is built on contrasts and juxtapositions between the active, competing pulses of the New York City streets where he grew up and the placid landscapes of the rural farmland he now calls home. The result is a body of work that is “at once beautiful and thought-provoking” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “sings without words of our highest possible ideals.” (A Closer Listen) He has been commissioned by major institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the Lucerne Festival, and the Minnesota Orchestra, but most of his music is written for small ensembles and self-generated projects that allow for close work with carefully-chosen performers who are given wide latitude in interpreting Judd’s scores.
Judd’s practice embraces interdisciplinary collaboration. His work has been commissioned and choreographed by groups such as New York City Ballet, Constella Ballet, BalletCollective, Malashock Dance, Nimbus Dance and Ballet Sun Valley, where he worked with choreographer Gemma Bond and ballerina Isabella Boylston. He has scored numerous films, including The Mend (co-composed with Michi Wiancko), and has collaborated on a wide range of projects, from an audiobook score for Kobe Bryant to an installation with photography collective New Catalogue at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Judd’s first opera, A MARVELOUS ORDER, is a collaboration with animator Joshua Frankel and poet Tracy K. Smith. It tells the story of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses and their epic battle over the fate of mid-20th century New York, and premiered at Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts in October 2022.
Judd is currently producing an album by legendary pianist Awadagin Pratt, with A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth, featuring commissioned work by composers Jessie Montgomery, Paola Prestini, Alvin Singleton, Tyshawn Sorey, Pēteris Vasks, and himself. Other current and future projects include a series of electroacoustic recordings with Ambrose Akinmusire, Alex Sopp, Michi Wiancko, Titus Underwood, and Andrew Yee, a large community-based choral work for Classical Uprising in Portland, ME, a concerto for vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher, and the relaunch of The Yehudim, an ensemble of singers, percussionists, keyboards and guitars that explores Biblical subjects through a contemporary lens.
Judd is active as a promoter of new music in New York and around the world. He is co-director of New Amsterdam Records, curator of New York’s Ecstatic Music Series and Latvia’s Ecstatic Music Ventspils, and co-curator of the Apples & Olives festival in Zürich and Bern. He has been a visiting teacher at Williams College, a Mentor at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and has worked with students at the Antenna Cloud Farm Experimental Institute, the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy, the New Amsterdam Composer’s Lab, and numerous conservatories and music departments around the country.
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