Richard Sortomme Promotional Headshot Photo

After two decades of a successful chamber music career performing on violin and viola, and composing music for film, Richard composed his first concert work in 1997, Culmination 1 for Viola, Orchestra and Synthesizers. This work instantly demonstrated his talent for orchestrating and the diversity of his musical voice, combining electronics with the acoustic world. It received a Special Distinction citation from ASCAP’s annual Rudolph Nissim Prize in January 2007. He then burst onto center stage in 2004 with a New York Philharmonic commission for the orchestral version of his Androcles and the Lion, with narrator and 3 actors in Chinese shadow theater. It was his 2007 world premiere, Rhapsody for Viola and Orchestra commissioned by The Cleveland Orchestra, which catapulted his rising star even higher, performed with principal violist Robert Vernon and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst conducting. It premiered to rave reviews on 26 April 2007 in Severance Hall. His second commission by The Cleveland Orchestra, a concerto for two violas and orchestra was Premiered to standing ovations and rave reviews in November, 2015 in Severance Hall. Robert Vernon and Lynne Ramsey were the soloists with Maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi conducting. The February 20, 2020 World Premiere of his Piano Concerto performed by Pamela Mia Paul and the North Texas Wind Symphony, Daniel Cook conductor, was greeted with raves and a standing ovation. His Violin concerto, commissioned and written for Elmar Oliveira, has been performed on numerous occasions throughout the United States. His constantly probing musical mind has lead him to compose chamber works, solo piano works, symphonic tone poems, suites for string orchestra and even a work for high a school string orchestra. Presently he is re-orchestrating a number of his works for different ensembles.

Origin Story

The title of my first concert work from 1997, Culmination 1 for Viola, Orchestra & Synthesizers, is in many ways a metaphor that informs on my musical history and career. This work marks, yes, the culmination of my early high school days of composition while in the Juilliard Prep Division, my graduation from The Juilliard School as a concert violinist and post-graduation, my performing chamber music concerts on violin and viola and composing music for film. Each of these diverse and challenging disciplines gave me skills and knowledge that lead to combining them in Culmination 1: performance practice, original musical ideas, orchestration and the use of electronics through synthesizers and samplers. Since my New York Philharmonic commission in 2004, I have been blessed with one commission after the next in the concert world, for chamber works, orchestral works, concerti and most recently a Concerto for Piano and Wind Symphony in 2020. In my concert music I have a burning commitment to create an original musical voice, and to have it grow with each new commission. In my music for film it will become apparent that I compose with a defined classical voice, because of my rich musical education. I wake up every single day with inspiration in my musical heart and a mind that is dedicated to probing all possibilities of creativity. I run to my studio as quickly as I can, to begin the daily task of besting what I composed the day before!

Featured Selections

Below are 2 short excerpts from much larger works that are representative of my musical sensibilities and my love of composing for symphony orchestra!

To hear audio, read program notes or view or download perusal score click the title.

  • Piano Prelude #1
    Piano Prelude #1
    This first piano Prelude was inspired by a relatively unknown short story, The Mark, by Claudia Alberdi. Very metaphysical at its core it deals with past lives, past loves...
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