Mischa Sarche Zupko

Mischa Sarche Zupko

Chicago-based composer Mischa Zupko writes music that is emotionally charged, physically engaging and continually seeks to involve participation on a variety of levels.

Having collaborated with a number of today's most exciting performers, he has created a body of work that is intensely virtuositic and speaks with clarity of vision. The New York Times  declared Zupko's Five Etudes for Piano as "...Liszt-like in their florid generosity." His orchestral music has also been praised by the Los Angeles Times as "Engaging" and by theOrange County Register as "powerful, rhythmic and declamatory."

Mr. Zupko’s honors include first place in the Pacific Symphony Orchestra's American Composer's Competition, the Lee Ettelson Composers Award from Composers Inc., co-winner of the USA International Harp Competition Composition Contest, three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, one of which was the first place Kaplan Award, the First Music Award from the New York Youth Symphony, the Ruth and Emil Beyer Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs, awards from the Bloomington Chapter of the National Society of Arts & Letters, the Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, Dean's Prizes from Indiana University and finalist in the Rome Prize Competition.

Mr. Zupko’s commissions include those from the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the St. Olaf Symphonic Band, the Barlow Endowment, the Fromm Foundation, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, the Music Institute of Chicago and the New York Youth Symphony.

In the spring of 2007, Mr. Zupko was involved in a joint project with Eighth Blackbird to create a work based on a "Sustainable City" theme for Chicago’s 2007 Green Festival. This work was performed live in conjunction with the festival and was recorded for promoting it and for use in the pavilion that housed many of the activities of the city-wide event. In the fall of 2002, he was invited to compose a work for the final event of the Rock Hotel Pianofest, which took place at the Society for Ethical Culture in New York City. In addition, he has collaborated closely with several virtuoso instrumentalists including pianists Winston Choi and Lori Simms, violinist Minghuan Xu, saxophonist Timothy McAllister, harpsichordist Bradley Brookshire, flutist Thomas Robertello, harpist Maria Luisa Rayan, cellist Thomas Lowenheim and organ/saxophone duo Doug Cleveland and Fred Hemke. In a more commercial venue, he has had the opportunity to work with Cortina Productions in scoring a short film exhibit that exists as a permanent installation at the new Indiana State Museum.

Mr. Zupko’s works have been performed by the orchestras mentioned above, the Aspen Sinfonia Orchestra, and such notable chamber ensembles as Eighth Blackbird, the Corigliano String Quartet, the Callisto Ensemble, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble and Duo Diorama. His works have been featured in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Weill Hall, Merkin Hall, Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall, Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Moscow Conservatory, the American Modern Ensemble concert series, the Music Institute of Chicago’s "Music for a While” series, many universities and festivals in the U.S. and abroad, several conferences and have also been included in live broadcasts on KMZT (Los Angeles), WFMT (Chicago) and WCLV (Cleveland).

In addition, his works have been performed in numerous solo instrumental competitions, including the USA International Harp Competition, the Israel International Harp Competition, the Gaudeamus Interpreter’s Competition, the 7th Annual Crane New Music Solo Performers Competition and the Grace Welsh piano competition. Several of Mr. Zupko’s works have been recorded and are available on the Crystal, Innova and ENF labels. Five Etudes for Piano comes out in the Fall of 2007 on a disc put out by the American Modern Ensemble of a concert in their series entitled "Powerhouse Pianists", featuring NY pianists Stephen Gosling and Blaire McMillen. A score of his work Ghost Variation, a contribution to a collective work entitled Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Goldberg, is available from Peters Publishing.

Mr. Zupko remains active as a performer. He has played as a guest pianist with the Kylix New Music Ensemble and has served as a pianist in the Indiana University New Music Ensemble in addition to playing many new works with other groups. He has also conducted several ensembles, including the well known Chicago Virtuosi.

Mr. Zupko received his early musical training and inspiration from his father, composer, Ramon Zupko, and pianist Phyllis Rappeport. He received his Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University studying under Emilio Del Rosario and David Kaiserman, and his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in composition from Indiana University studying with Eugene O’Brien, Don Freund, David Dzubay, Fredrick Fox and Augusta Read-Thomas. He also studied composition with Bernard Rands and John Harbison at the Aspen Music Festival.

In addition to working as a free-lance composer, he currently directs the music program at the Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Northfiled, IL and resides in Chicago with his wife Minkyoo Shin.

Commission Information

Canter Into Black
Commissioned for: 

Related Concert

February 25, 2001