Robert Kyr (b. 1952) has composed twelve symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concerti, and numerous works for vocal ensemble of all types, both unaccompanied and accompanied, including many large-scale works for which he wrote or co-wrote the text, including: A Time for Life (an environmental oratorio, 2007); The Passion according to Four Evangelists (1995); and three choral symphonies—From Creation Unfolding (No. 8, 1998), The Spirit of Time (No. 9, 2000), and Ah Nagasaki: Ashes into Light (No. 10, 2005).
Kyr’s music has been performed widely around the world and he has been commissioned by numerous ensembles, including Chanticleer (San Francisco), Cappella Romana (Portland), Cantus (Minneapolis), San Francisco Symphony Chorus, New England Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony, Yale Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, New West Symphony (Los Angeles), Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club, Radcliffe Choral Society, Yale Camerata, Oregon Repertory Singers, Cappella Nova (Scotland), Revalia (Estonia), Putni (Latvia), Moscow State Chamber Choir (Russia), Ensemble Project Ars Nova, Back Bay Chorale (Boston), and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra among others.
Several compact discs of Kyr’s music are currently available on New Albion Records: Unseen Rain (NA 075), a disc of vocal music commissioned and recorded by Ensemble PAN (Project Arts Nova); The Passion according to Four Evangelists (NA 098), commissioned and recorded by the Back Bay Chorale (Boston) under the direction of Beverly Taylor; and Violin Concerto Trilogy (NA 126) recorded by the Third Angle New Music Ensemble with Ron Blessinger and Denise Huizenga, and the composer conducting. In addition, his music has been featured on several compilation discs recorded by women’s vocal ensemble, Tapestry (Laurie Monahan, director): Celestial Light: Music by Hildegard von Bingen and Robert Kyr (Telarc CD 80456); Faces of a Woman (MDG 344-1468); and The Fourth River: The Millennium Revealed (Telarc CD 80534).
In 1974, Kyr graduated summa cum laude from Yale University (B. A. with exceptional distinction in Scholar of the House) and continued his education at the Royal College of Music (London), and at Dartington Summer School for the Arts, where he studied with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Kyr completed his M. A. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978, studying with George Rochberg and George Crumb. In 1989, he received his Ph. D. from Harvard University, where he studied with Donald Martino and Earl Kim. He has held teaching positions in composition and theory at Yale University, UCLA, Hartt School of Music, and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Aspen Music School, and the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Currently, Kyr is a professor of composition and theory at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, and chair of the composition department, where he has developed new models for teaching composition. The program at Oregon is presently one of the largest in the United States and in addition to teaching, Kyr directs the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the Music Today Festival, and the Vanguard Concert and Workshop Series, as well as the Pacific Rim Gamelan.