Meet the Music Director and Composer
CARYN BLOCK, COMPOSER is an accomplished flutist, conductor, music director and writer, whose music has been performed both regionally and nationally. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, commissions, fellowships and awards for her compositions, among them: New York State Council of the Arts “Meet the Composer” grant, the Alexander Gretchaninoff Prizes in Composition, and the Ada Arens Morawetz Prize in Composition. In the years 2000-2010 she was awarded ASCAP Standards Awards in Composition. In 2008, she was the recipient of a Meet the Composer Met Life Award for her trio “Arizona Views II ” scored for flute, cello and percussion and in the year 2000, she received a Meet the Composer Award for the premiere of her trio “Newport by the Sea”. Her music has been performed throughout the United States, including such venues as Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Riverside Church, Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, The American Landmarks Festival, The Women’s Interart Center, The Philadelphia Art Alliance, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Harold Prince Theatre, The Woodmere Art Museum, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Rutgers University, The Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, recital halls in Pittsburgh, the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C., Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, The James A. Michener Art Museum and on National Public Radio in Iowa, by outstanding chamber musicians, soloists and herself as flutist.
A full length gala concert featuring the chamber music of Caryn Block was presented at the Edith Wharton Society International Conference in 2000, held in Newport, Rhode Island. The highlight of the concert was the world premiere of her new song cycle "Lost Dreams and Other Views" for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute and Piano, the first time settings of Wharton's poetry were ever done by an American or European composer. Subsequently, in spring 2001, a special program devoted to the music of Caryn Block was filmed for Pennsylvania Cable TV "New Arts Alive" program and was broadcast for viewing in Reading, PA., Philadelphia and New York City. The program featured a variety of performances by the Encore Chamber Players.
Caryn Block has composed in every idiom-orchestra, chamber music, choral music, solo instrumental music, opera, music for dance, film, theater and electronic music. She has been commissioned to orchestral music, chamber music for new music series, vocal music for professional singers, scores for documentary films produced by such organizations RCA/GE, film shorts and sacred services by New York and Philadelphia area congregations and several private individuals, as well.
For fourteen years (1987-2001), Caryn Block served as the Music Director, Flutist and Composer-in-Residence of the stellar Encore Chamber Players of Philadelphia, the ensemble-in-residence at the historic Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. The ensemble was dedicated to presenting innovative concerts in diverse instrumental combinations, with a particular emphasis on music of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Since 2006, she has launched a new critically acclaimed chamber music series for the ensemble in Bucks County, PA. and the group has toured as guest ensemble at museums and historic venues, such as the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown. In 2011, the Encore Chamber Players will be presented in two concerts at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
Caryn Block has performed as a flutist with a diverse range of groups in Philadelphia and New York: orchestras, chamber groups, opera and theatre ensembles as well as touring as a solo recitalist in twentieth-century flute music. Dr. Block studied conducting at Manhattan School of Music, Juilliard, and Westminster Choir College and has conducted orchestras, opera companies, choral groups, and chamber ensembles.
Dr. Block holds a Master of Music Degree in Composition with a Secondary Major in Flute from the Juilliard School and received the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Composition from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In both 1982 and 1983, she was awarded the Alexandre Gretchaninoff Prizes in Composition while at The Juilliard School and in 1995, she was the recipient of the Ada Arens Morawetz Award in Composition from the Peabody Conservatory. She held a Teaching Fellowship in Literature and Materials of Music at The Juilliard School from 1982-83, served as a Teaching Assistant in Music Theory at the Peabody Conservatory from 1993-95.
Active as an educator and lecturer in twentieth-century music, she has taught at such institutions as the College of General Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Juilliard School and the West Chester University School of Music.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, Block presented papers on twentieth-century musical settings of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton at three national/international literary conferences from 1998-2000: “The Sounds of the Gilded Age: Music in the Time of Edith Wharton”, International Conference of the Edith Wharton Society, Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island, “Emily Dickinson Through Song: Conversations With Composer Caryn Block”, Rutgers University - Camden, NJ. , and “The Sounds of Whitman- A Composer’s View” National Conference on Walt Whitman- “The Many Cultures of Walt Whitman”, Rutgers University- Camden, New Jersey. The latter was published as “The Sounds of Whitman- A Composer’s View” in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, by the University of Iowa in Fall 1999.
Caryn Block’s trios for flute, percussion and cello, “Arizona Views II” and “INTERTWINED”, are now distributed by Steve Weiss Music. The trios were reviewed in the November 2009 issue
of Percussive Notes, the international journal of the Percussive Arts Society.
Since 2006, Caryn Block's biography has been included in “Who's Who In America”, and “Who’s Who in the World”. In 2010-2011, her biography will appear in “Who's Who of American Women”.