colin homiski
Courtesy of Tony Ford Photography

Colin J.P. Homiski began his musical activities at age 5 in rural Connecticut not far from the birthplace and kindred spiritual home of the iconoclastic composer, Charles Ives, studying piano for nearly 20 years in the studios of Evanira Birdman, Sylvia Zeidenbergs, Kathleen Supové and Geoffrey Burleson.  He won the top prize at the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association (CSMTA) 5 years consecutively as well as prizes in other piano competitions over the years performing as piano soloist with orchestra and with jazz bands.  Gifted with perfect pitch he used to accompany songs on the piano he heard on the radio. Studying both medicine and music at university (College of the Holy Cross), he began to study composition formally and in his senior year conducted his first orchestra and led as Drum Major the College’s Marching Band in his composition Armada.  Whilst at Holy Cross he was awarded the Beethoven Prize, the University’s most prestigious music honour given to a graduating senior.  He then attended the New England Conservatory where he was in the composition studios of Robert Cogan, Lee Hyla and John Heiss, earning a Masters of Music with joint honours in academics and performance, conducting the NEC Contemporary Ensemble, Boston Sinfonia and other ensembles in works from Mozart to his own. He was the first composer to be awarded a Presidential Scholarship to attend NEC’s doctoral programme.  He has also earned a post-graduate qualification in Library and Information Science from Robert Gordon University and a CertTESOL (Teaching English as a foreign language) from Trinity College London.

Praised for his “complex storytelling” (El Vocero-Puerto Rico) and his “vibrant musical imagination,” (Washington Post) his compositions seduce and challenge not only critics and the audience but performer as well. His music has also been noted for its “dramatic intensity” (Boston Herald), its “chilling suspense,” (Baltimore Sun) and its “powerful impact” (Buffalo News.) Like a musical alchemist, he conjures fragments (music of the past, folk music from his Filipino-Polish heritage, as well as pop, club and house music) to create larger gestures which sometimes disintegrate or transform into something altogether different. His influences span the Apollonian to the Dionysian: Stravinsky, Lutoslawski, Björk, the Black Eyed Peas and Missy Elliot.

His work has consistently won national and international recognition including the:

  • 2001 Duo Scarbó (Hammel-Sanchez) Commission for The Exploding Music Box for piano four-hands.
  • 2000 New York Flute Club Commission for Wilde Mutterings for flute/piccolo and piano with assorted toy whistles.
  • 1999 International Horn Society Composition Competition for White Hammer: Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra.
  • 1998 Debussy Trio International Foundation Prize for Igor’s Firecracker for flute, viola, and harp.
  • 1997 Washington International Quartet Competition for In Stonelight Effigy for string quartet.
  • 1996 Tindall Hutchinson National Composers Prize for Dance of the Broken Puppet for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
  • 1995 New England Conservatory Honors Piano Trio Competition for Maelstrom for violin, cello and piano.

He has received two prestigious Morton Gould Young Composer Grants from the ASCAP Foundation as well as grants from the Botolph, Rabb and Richardson Foundations. Some of the composers he has worked with include Sebastian Currier, George Crumb, Michael Finnissy, Osvaldo Golijov, Shirish Korde, Frederic Rzewski, and Bright Sheng. He was an Associate Fellow (2014-16) at the Institute of Musical Research (IMR) at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.

His music has been programmed at festivals and institutions including the Festival Interamericanao de las Artes (Puerto Rico), June in Buffalo, New Music Miami, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Cincinnati New Music 97, the Oregon Festival of American Music, University of New Hampshire American Music Week, the World Saxophone Congress (Montreal), New England Saxophone Symposium, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), George Washington University, Harvard University, New England Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, University of Hartford-Hartt School of Music, University of California-San Diego, The Juilliard School, College of the Holy Cross, University of Texas-El Paso, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Conservatoire de Paris.

Compositions in the noughties include Stonelight Soliloquy, a commission for and premiered by Stephanie Schweigart for violin solo with prerecorded text at the University of Texas at El Paso.  Other pieces include whispers of a September morning for saxophonist Randall Hall and From Calamus to Atlantis, a commission for guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan’s New Lullaby Project. For the past decade he has stopped composition, facilitating the work of other artists and composers, hosting their performances in his Illumination Series  (2015), Salon Voltaire (2016) and other events.

Colin is currently Research Librarian at the Senate House Library, University of London.  His portfolio includes subjects covering the Visual and Performing Arts and Philosophy. Prior to that he worked for the MIT Libraries and the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology’s Burndy Library. As a technologist he advocates and writes on the use of new technologies to enhance learning and research across the humanities and sciences. He also has research interests in folk music and its inflections in 20th and 21st century composition, the transformative role of popular music in the last century with its polar opposite in the avant-garde, the role of spectrographic analysis as a tool in the analytical and musicological canon and the (im)-materiality of sound.  He and husband, Guido Giglioni, reside in London.

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