Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe,” is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists. She was the first flutist to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012, and in 2017 was the first flutist to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase was recently named the Debs Creative Chair at Carnegie Hall for the 2022-23 season.
In 2013, Chase launched the 24-year commissioning project Density 2036. Now in its tenth year, Density 2036 reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education, and an accessible archive at density2036.org. Chase premieres a new program of commissioned music, with ten programs of new repertory created to date. In May 2023, she will perform all ten programs over a week co-presented by Carnegie Hall and The Kitchen. Chase released the world premiere recordings of the first five years of the Density cycle in collaboration with Meyer Sound Laboratories in December 2020, and will release the 2019-2021 cycles on a triple-album in May 2023.
As an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory, Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble, a collective of musicians, digital media artists, producers, and educators committed to creating collaborations built on equity and cultural responsiveness. She served as the Ensemble’s artistic director until 2017 and as an ensemble member on performance and education projects on five continents, developing an artist-driven organizational model that earned the group the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center in 2010 and the Ensemble of the Year Award in 2014 from Musical America Worldwide.
A deeply committed educator, Chase is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on contemporary music, interdisciplinary collaboration, nonprofit arts organizations, and community-building through the arts. From 2016-2019, she served as co-artistic director, with her longtime collaborator Steven Schick, of Ensemble Evolution, a hybrid summer intensive designed to foster a holistic understanding of the artist as a global citizen at Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada. Ensemble Evolution is now a project of the International Contemporary Ensemble in collaboration with The New School’s College of Performing Arts in New York City.
Upcoming projects include performances of Felipe Lara’s new duo concerto for Chase and Esperanza Spalding with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, conducted by Susanna Mälkki; performances of the Saariaho Flute Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; a collaboration with the Ecuadorian anthropologist Eduardo Kohn and the Sapara Nation Forest Defender Manari Ushigua on a retrospective of the work of Pauline Oliveros; and performances of Liza Lim’s “Sex Magic,” an evening-length solo for contrabass flute, electronics, and an installation of kinetic percussion in London, Berlin, and New York. She is also a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, and a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School.
Claire Chase leads the Darmstadt Flute Studio for the second time in 2023.