Claire Chase, music director

Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe,” is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists. She was the first flutist to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012, and in 2017 was the first flutist to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize for Classical Music from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase was the Richard and Barbara Debs Creative Chair at Carnegie Hall in the 2022-23 season, only the second time in that organization’s history that the position has been given to a performing artist.

Chase has performed as a soloist recently with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra, London Philharmonia, and San Francisco Symphony, where she is a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen. In the 2022-23 season, Chase premiered a new double concerto by Felipe Lara with the vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding and the conductor Susanna Mälkki, which was named one of the Best Classical Music Performances of the Year by The New York Times. Chase’s discography includes eight solo albums of world premiere recordings and dozens of collaborative recordings with ensembles, composers, and sound artists from a wide range of musical genres.

In 2013, Chase launched the 24-year commissioning project Density 2036. Now in its eleventh year, Density reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education, and a community-focused approach to cultural production. Central to the Density initiative is a commitment to supporting an international, multigenerational community of flutists who will take the Density repertoire in new interpretive directions. The Density Fellows program, launched in 2023 in celebration of the tenth anniversary, will provide ten exceptional emerging flutists annually with the resources to intensively study the Density repertoire with Chase and the Density composers. In 2023, Chase performed all ten Density programs to date in a weeklong series of events co-produced by The Kitchen and Carnegie Hall. Chase will premiere the newest Density installation, an evening-length work by the legendary composer Terry Riley, in May 2024, in collaboration with the JACK Quartet.

As an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory, Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble, a collective of musicians, digital media artists, producers, and educators committed to creating collaborations built on equity and cultural responsiveness. She served as the ensemble’s artistic director until 2017 and as an ensemble member on performance and educational projects on five continents, developing an artist-driven organizational model that resulted in the premieres of over 1,000 new works and earned the group multiple Chamber Music America/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, and the Ensemble of the Year Award from Musical America Worldwide.

A deeply committed educator, Chase is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on contemporary music, interdisciplinary collaboration, and cultural advocacy. Chase is also Creative Associate at The Juilliard School. Her Debs Creative Chair residency at Carnegie Hall encompassed programming for all ages, including a “Day of Listening” for children and families inspired by the listening philosophies of Pauline Oliveros. Chase will partner with the Getty Museum and PST ART x Science in Los Angeles to expand her Paulive Oliveros project as part of the “Art & Science Collide” festival in 2024-25.

Chase grew up in Leucadia, California, with the childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player before she discovered the flute. She now lives in Brooklyn.

Visit Claire Chase’s Website