Released on October 29, 2013
Chamber Music by Richard Lavenda is a bright and engaging new album of some of composer Richard Lavenda's favorite chamber works-all written for personal friends. The title track refers to the visual art technique of a strong contrast between dark and light, and this motif aptly describes the listening experience.






Richard Lavenda’s music is sometimes boldly dramatic, sometimes poignantly lyrical, but always emotionally expressive and formally clear. No matter what the piece, there are always well defined motives, an imaginative and personal use of instrumental color and melodic counterpoint, and a strong rhythmic profile that owes some of its energy to both jazz and rock and roll. His compositions include an opera, Barricade, which won a First Prize Award from the National Opera Association, numerous pieces for orchestra, and a wide diversity of chamber music.

Lavenda’s music has been performed around the world by, among many others, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova/Tel Aviv, the Slovak Radio Orchestra, the Chiara, Enso, T'Ang, and Sun String Quartets, ZAWA!, the Concordia Trio, and the New Israeli Vocal Ensemble. He has been a featured composer on many campuses and concert series around the United States, at festivals and concerts in Israel, South Korea, Germany, the Czech Republic, Australia, Ukraine, Finland, and Slovenia, and on programs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Recent projects include Reaction Time, written for the Project Trio, What He Said for bassoon, tuba, cello, and double bass, commissioned through an Individual Artist Award from the Houston Arts Alliance and premiered by Benjamin Kamins, David Kirk, Desmond Hoebig, and Timothy Pitts, Thoughts Fly, premiered by the Chiara String Quartet and Norman Fischer and presented by Da Camera at the Menil Collection, Iconography, premiered by Larry Rachleff and the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, and Re-Illuminations, premiered by the Italian saxophone and piano duo of Mario Ciaccio and Simone Miotto.

A native of New Jersey, Lavenda has a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College, a Masters in composition from Rice University, and a DMA in composition from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice in 1987, and is now Professor of Composition and Theory and Director of Graduate Studies. In addition to composition, he teaches undergraduate theory, graduate analysis, aesthetics, pedagogy of theory, and a Practicum in Contemporary Music, where composers and performers collaborate on the creation of new works. He is the recipient of many grants and awards for innovative teaching and technology in the classroom initiatives.