The Kennedy Center

George Tsontakis


American composer George Tsontakis was born in New York. He received a doctoral degree from The Juilliard School where he studied composition with Hugo Weisgall and Roger Sessions from 1974 until 1978. He has been composer-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival since 1976 and from 1991 he has directed the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. He also was composer-in-residence in 1998 at the Oxford Philomusica. His work has been featured in concerts in Oxford and London. Three Sighs Three Variations premiered in the UK in 2001.

Fanfare for Six Horns and Tuba was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra in 1996 and premiered at the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy Center with Sian Edwards, conductor.

He twice was selected for Kennedy Center Awards: in 1989 for his composition, String Quartet No. 4, and in 1992 for the orchestral work, Perpetual Angelus. In 2005 Tsontakis was named recipient of Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. The $200,000 award presented annually by the University of Louisville was given for his Violin Concerto No 2. The work had its world premiere in 2003 by soloist Steven Copes and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, its highest award in composition, in 1995, and was named Vilar Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in 2002.
George Tsontakis


  • Miraloghia
  • Perpetual Angelus
  • Fanfare for Horns and Tuba