MFA in Music Composition

Roger Zahab / Faculty

Roger Zahab, VCFA Music Composition Program

Roger Zahab instigates complex relationships through his activities as composer, violinist, conductor, teacher, and writer. He has written chamber, vocal, and orchestral music in addition to work in dance, theater, and video.

In 2007, Zahab’s "Ohio Entelechron", a multi-media performance work providing continuous service in all dimensions, was performed by the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble at City Theatre on Pittsburgh's South Side. Other recent works include "Ohio transparence" for piano trio, "ardent life" for trumpet and orchestra, "Venus" transported for string quartet, "vioentelechron" for violin and orchestra, "a path hidden by leaves" for 12-string kayagum, "Evening Out" for tenor voice and piano, and "blue emotion sensor" for violin and vibraphone.

As a violinist, Zahab has premiered more than a hundred works by such composers as John Cage, Daron Hagen, Gilda Lyons, Steven Mackey, Ursula Mamlok, Eric Moe, J.N. Kwabena Nketia, Dennis Riley, Tison Street, Orianna Webb, and Christian Wolff. Recordings of Zahab both as violinist and composer are available on the Truemedia, Albany, and Koch International Classics labels. His version of John Cage's "Thirteen Harmonies" for violin and keyboard instrument is published by C.F.Peters Corporation.

His conducting repertoire encompasses the history of ensemble music from Guillaume de Machaut to the present. As conductor of both the Music on the Edge Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra at the University of Pittsburgh, Zahab explores the increasingly porous boundaries of ensemble music through performances of work by John Cage, Elliott Carter, David Del Tredici, Oliver Knussen, György Ligeti, Gustav Mahler, Carl Nielsen, Mathew Rosenblum, Tison Street, Claude Vivier, and Judith Weir.

Zahab was awarded the first Louis Lane Scholarship given by the Akron Symphony Orchestra in 1978 and received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in 1995 and an Individual Artist Fellowship in 2005. He has been Director of the Orchestra and instructor at the University of Pittsburgh since 1993, and became a full-time Lecturer in 1999. At home in Akron, Ohio, he helps foster the ideal of communal music-making with the Highland Square Philharmonic, and can be found anywhere in the Ohio Entelechron.

Recently, recordings on Albany Records have been made of Zahab’s levitation of pianos during a waltz played by pianist Eric Moe, as well as Earth's "Jig and Silence Orchids" played by pianist Bennett Lerner.

To listen to more of Roger Zahab's music, visit his sound gallery here.