Frank J. Oteri

Frank J. Oteri is a composer, (ethno-)musicologist, music journalist, and educator based in New York City whose syncretic compositional style has been described as “distinctive” in The Grove Dictionary of American Music.

His compositions include: Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow, premiered by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Delta David Gier and subsequently performed with Gier by the Orchestra Metropolitana Bari in Italy; Fair and Balanced, a saxophone quartet in quartertones premiered and recorded by the PRISM Quartet; Imagined Overtures, for rock band in sixth-tones recorded by the Los Angeles Electric 8; Love Games, settings of poems by Elizabethan sonneteer Mary Wroth premiered at SubCulture by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City conducted by Francisco Núñez; and Versions of the Truth, a 12-song cycle based on the poetry of Stephen Crane for dual-voiced singer and piano commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation Charles Kingsford Fund and premiered by Phillip Cheah and Trudy Chan (The Cheah Chan Duo). MACHUNAS, the performance oratorio inspired by the life of Fluxus-founder George Maciunas which Oteri created in collaboration with Lucio Pozzi, premiered under the direction of Donatas Katkus during the Christopher Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2005.

Other interpreters of Oteri’s music include pianists Sarah Cahill and Maryanne Parker, harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, guitarists Dominic Frasca, Dan Lippel, and David Starobin, the Ray-Kallay Duo, Del Sol String Quartet, Pentasonic Winds, Sylvan Winds, the Locrian Chamber Players, Central City Chorus, and the vocal ensemble Ekmeles.

In addition to his compositional activities, Oteri is Assistant Professor of Musicology at The New School’s College of Performing Arts (which includes the Mannes School of Music) and a member of the residency faculty for the MFA program in music composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is also the Vice President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).

An outspoken crusader for new music and the breaking down of barriers between genres, he has written for numerous publications and is also a frequent radio guest and pre-concert speaker. For nearly a quarter of a century, Oteri was the Editor of the web magazine NewMusicBox (from its launch in May 1999 until August 2023), which was founded at the American Music Center (AMC) where he also served as Composer Advocate, roles he continued after AMC merged with Meet The Composer to become New Music USA in 2011. After serving as the United States delegate to the International Association of Music Centres (IAMIC) for over 20 years and a board member from 2019 to 2023, Oteri was unanimously voted an Honorary Member of IAMIC in September 2023.

Oteri is a graduate of New York City’s High School of Music and Art, a division of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts (subject of the MGM motion picture Fame in which he has a cameo) and holds a B.A. and an M.A. (in Ethnomusicology) from Columbia University where he also served as Classical Music Director and World Music Director for WKCR-FM. He was the recipient of ASCAP’s Victor Herbert Award in 2007 as well as several ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Awards. In 2018, he received the Composers Now Visionary Award and the MicroCosmos Microtonal Pedagogy Award for his 13-limit just intonation solo clarinet composition Spurl.

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Featured Works

Fair and Balanced, for saxophone quartet in quartertones
Already Yesterday Or Still Tomorrow, for full orchestra
MACHUNAS, performance oratorio
Versions of the Truth, for dual-voiced male singer (baritone and soprano) and piano

Mvt. IV Incremental Change from Frank J. Oteri’s Fair & Balanced. Pacific Saxophone Quartet.


Frank J. Oteri talks about Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow