summer 2015 update

An LA TIMES review of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s recent premiere of my piece, Finding Time.

Sean has been named Senior Lecturer of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Sean was the Keynote Speaker at the 2015 Eureka Graduate Student Conference at UC Santa Cruz, held on May 7, 2015.

Named faculty for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Next on Grand National Composers Intensive.

Exciting Things

There are many exciting commissions and performances I look forward to announcing in the coming months, including new works for orchestra, ensemble, and solo. Stay tuned!

Sean has received a Composers Assistance (CAP) Grant from the New Music USA in support of upcoming performances of a revised version of his junk car percussion concerto, Clunker Concerto.

New York-based Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble has received a MetLife Creative Connections Grant from New Music USA in support of my residency with them this season.

CMA/Present Music/UCLA/

Sean has been commissioned by Chamber Music America to write a 30-minute percussion quartet for Line C3 Percussion.

Commissioned by Milwaukee’s Present Music to compose a new work for large ensemble and electric guitar.

Sean is an invited composer at the La Pietra Forum for Contemporary Music in Florence, Italy, where he will work with the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble and Georg Friedrich Haas.

Sean will be the 2012-2013 Composer-In-Residence for the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble in New York.  They will perform several of his works throughout the season, culminating in the premiere of a new commissioned work for ensemble.

Sean will be a Visiting Lecturer in Music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music 2012-2013.

Year End Praise for “Awake”

Awake, featuring my piece, Velvet Hammer, is showing up on “Best Albums of 2011” lists all over the place, including: All Music, The Awl, Silent Ballet, CBC Radio Canada, Citta del Capo Radio Metropolitana, KALX Berkeley,Ted Gioia, Music in the Bubble, and this one. It was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered earlier this year, and reached the Top 10 in iTunes Classical and #2 in Amazon Classical.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find it on iTunes, Amazon, and most anywhere else. Lot’s of great reviews are posted on the PRESS page.


Interviewed for Yale University’s Oral History of American Music: Major Figures in American Music, an ambitious project that seeks to interview all those who have had an influence in American music, as well as younger up-and-comers.
A 3-hour (!!) interview (both audio and written transcription) between myself and Libby van Cleve is now available. HERE is the full list of musicians who have contributed to the project.

Fisher Award/Awake doing well!

Sean has won the 2012-2013 Renee B. Fisher Composer Award.  This commissions him to write a short piano work that a slew of talented young performers will learn and perform as part of the Renee B. Fisher Piano Competition.

NOW Ensemble’s Awake (featuring my piece, Velvet Hammer) is #1 in the Classical Chamber Music category in sales and #2 in all Classical (we can’t be expected to compete with the Royal Wedding Soundtrack, can we?)  We’re also #6 for all Classical albums on iTunes!  If you’ve been thinking about checking out the album, but haven’t yet, go for it!

We also got a great plug on NPR’s All Things Considered this weekend.  You can listen to it HERE.

2011 ASCAP Award and Rome Prize

Sean wins the 2011-2012 Rome Prize!

Here’s a feature on me from UCLA.  Here’s an article from NewMusicBox.

Sean wins his 4th ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for Velvet Hammer. VIEW PRESS RELEASE

NOW Ensemble’s Awake is out on iTunes, featuring a fantastic recording of my piece, Velvet Hammer!
Download it here!

Great press just keeps pouring in!

It’s New York’s Classical music radio station WQXR’s Album of the Week. They describe the album as “… a Whitman’s sampler of new music. And, lucky for us, everything in the box is a caramel.”  The call Velvet Hammer a “haunting whirlwind.”
Classical Review calls it, “scintillating”, “fresh and vibrant” and “rewarded by repeated listening”.
Silent Ballet says “Awake is truly a delightful experience from beginning to end.”
The Bangkok Post says of my Velvet Hammer, “… there is much to marvel at in the variety of timbres and moods [Sean Friar] gets from [repeated notes and chords], from woodpeckerish tappings to ringing peals to pounding attacks, all in six or so kaleidoscopic minutes.”  As for the album, they “recommend it strongly even to people who usually keep their distance from contemporary classical music.”

Finale/8bb/Darmstadt, Clunker vid 2/GAUDEAMUS

Here’s video #2 of 3 documenting my creation of Clunker Concerto!
Here’s video #3 of 3 documenting my creation of Clunker Concerto!

Sean will be featured at the GAUDEAMUS New Music Week this September in Utrecht, Netherlands, where his piece, Velvet Hammer, is nominated for the Gaudeamus Prize.  Watch a video about it HERE (which features Velvet Hammer quite prominently!)


Sean is a FINALIST for the Darmstadt Composition Prize “Soli fan tutti”!  His wind quintet, Lick Machine, will be recorded by Staatsorchester Darmstadt at Darling Records in Cologne, Germany, and performed at the Staatstheater in Darmstadt, Germany this May.  At the concert, the audience will vote the winners.


Sean received Honorable Mention in the Finale/Eighth Blackbird National Composition Contest. VIEW PRESS RELEASE