Roger Joseph Zare

Roger Joseph Zare

2023 Competition Runner Up


Roger Zare has been praised for his “enviable grasp of orchestration” (New York Times) and for writing music with “formal clarity and an alluringly mercurial surface.” Often inspired by science, nature, and mythology, he seeks to create compositions that are vividly descriptive. His works have been performed across the United States and on six continents by such musicians and ensembles as the American Composers Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Sarasota Orchestra, the United States Air Force Band, Boston Musica Viva, the Akropolis Reed Quintet, the Sinta Quartet, h2 quartet, violinist Cho-Liang Lin, and clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein and Andy Hudson. Zare’s awards include the ASCAP Nissim Prize, three BMI Student Composer Awards, an ASCAP Morton Gould award, a New York Youth Symphony First Music Commission, the 2008 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Commission, a Copland House Residency Award, the 2023 International Clarinet Association Composition Competition, and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Always interested in interdisciplinary collaboration, Zare has worked with CERN to present music inspired by particle physics in Switzerland and Bulgaria in programs about the collision of music and physics, and teamed up with astrophysicist Elizabeth Hicks and choreographer Megan Rhyme to put on an evening-length program about the physics of turbulence titled “Far from Equilibrium” in 2016. Zare has more recently served as the 2023 Fermilab Composer in Residence.

Zare holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the Peabody Conservatory, and the University of Southern California. His teachers include Bright Sheng, Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, Kristin Kuster, Christopher Theofanidis, Derek Bermel, and Morten Lauridsen. His music is published by the Theodore Presser Company, Manhattan Beach Music, Murphy Music Press, and FJH Music, among others. Zare currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Appalachian State University and previously taught at Illinois State University, where he served as co-director of the RED NOTE new music festival. He maintains a website at and is a member of ASCAP and the Blue Dot Collective.

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