Richard Lavenda composes music that is sometimes boldly dramatic and sometimes poignantly lyrical, but always emotionally expressive and formally coherent. No matter what the piece, there are always clearly defined motives, an imaginative and personal use of instrumental color and melodic counterpoint, and strong rhythmic energy that comes as much from jazz and rock and roll as from his classical role models. His catalog of nearly seventy works ranges from music for solo flute to an opera, and includes numerous pieces for orchestra and music for a wide diversity of chamber ensembles.

Some of the ensembles that have commissioned, performed, and recorded Lavenda’s music are the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova/Tel Aviv, the Slovak Radio Orchestra, the Diotima, Chiara, Enso, T'Ang, and Sun String Quartets, the Oasis Saxophone Quartet, Project Trio, Deviant Septet, ZAWA!, the Concordia Trio, and the New Israeli Vocal Ensemble. A CD of his chamber music, Chiaroscuro, was released on Ravello Recordings 7881.

Lavenda has received commissions and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Arts Alliance, the Vaughn Family Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Da Camera, the Miazawa Flute Company, the National Opera Association, and Jade Presents + The Arts Partnership and the Lake Region Arts Council of Minnesota, among many others. He has been a featured composer on many concert series, festivals, and campuses across the United States, and his music has been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Finland, Slovenia, Israel, South Korea, and Australia.

A native of New Jersey, Lavenda received degrees from Dartmouth College, Rice University, and the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University in 1987, where he is Professor of Composition and Theory and Director of Graduate Studies.







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.