Combining athletic virtuosity and lyrical expressionism, Gregory Wanamaker’s music has been called “pure gold, shot through with tenderness and grace” (San Francisco Chronicle), “achingly beautiful” (Palm Beach Daily News), “compelling” (Audiophile Audition), “outstanding” (American Record Guide), and “a technical tour de force” (Fanfare).
Gregory’s earliest musical training began at age 6 in professional summer stock theater companies, and continued through both schooled and self-guided explorations through the American folk music of the 1960s, bebop and free jazz, and Western classical music of the late 20th century. He continues his study of sounds to those from around the world, to draw from a variety of musics to inform his continually evolving voice.
His music has been commissioned and performed all over the world by soloists and ensembles including PRISM Quartet, Akropolis Reed Quintet, Trujillo Symphony Orchestra, Capitol Quartet, Timothy McAllister, Robert Spring, Christopher Creviston, Oren Fader, Masato Kumoi Saxophone Quartet, The MAVerick Ensemble, Velocity2, The Donald Sinta Quartet, The Gregg Smith Singers, janus trio, Deborah Bish, The Three Reeds Duo, Lynn McGrath, and The Society for New Music.
Fluent in all musical media, Wanamaker’s best-known works are his chamber works that exploit unique timbral characteristics and technical extensions of wind instruments. To date, his virtuosic Duo Sonata for clarinet and saxophone has received over 300 performances world-wide and is featured on five commercial recordings. His Sonata deus sax machina was one of the required pieces for finalists of the 2014 Adolphe Sax International Competition in Dinant, Belgium.
Gregory Wanamaker’s multimedia collaboration with 2013 MacArthur Fellowship Award Winner Carrie Mae Weems, A Story Within a Story, was commissioned in 2011 by the Syracuse-based Society for New Music, and was supported in part by a National Endowment for the Arts 2011 Access to Artistic Excellence Grant. He also is the recipient of a 2012 Individual Artist Commission from The New York State Council on the Arts and 20 consecutive standard awards from ASCAP in addition to awards from the National Association of Composers/USA and Britten-On-The-Bay.
Gregory also collaborates with the British award-winning director and writer, Garth Bardsley, with whom he has composed several substantial works. Their Adirondack Songs for chorus and large wind ensemble is available on Mark Records. Their new work Laude! for choir and orchestra, was premiered in December 2016 at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY for broadcast on PBS affiliate stations.
Wanamaker currently serves as Professor of Composition at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where he has taught since 1997. He studied composition with William Averitt, Thomas Albert, Anthony Branker and Ladislav Kubík.
Gregory Wanamaker has several recorded works on several labels including Innova, Albany, Centaur, Blue Griffin, Mark Custom, White Pine, and Summit. He publishes his own music, which is available exclusively through this website.