Bimstein's compositions make me feel like I've taken a slow
drive through a western landscape, meeting along the way everyone
from Georgia O'Keeffe to Tony Hillerman, Mark Twain, Neal
Cassady, Raymond Scott, Kurt Weill, Aphex Twin, and some of those
grizzled geezers that populate the novels of Annie Proulx
- John Adams, composer
Alternative classical composer Phillip Bimstein lives in
Springdale, Utah, where he also served two terms as mayor. A
recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the
Arts, Meet The Composer, American Composers Forum and Austria's Prix
Ars Electronica, Bimstein's music has been performed at Carnegie Hall,
Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Bang on a Can Festival, the
Aspen Music Festival and London's Royal Opera House.
Ensembles who have performed Bimstein's works include Relache, Turtle
Island String Quartet, Modern Mandolin Quartet, Present Music,
Abramyan String Quartet, Sierra Winds, Equinox Chamber Players, the
California E.A.R. Unit and Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues.
A Starkland CD of
Garland Hirschi's Cows,
garnered rave reviews internationally in such publications as Stereo
Review, Wired, Fanfare, Stereophile, and this from Schwann Opus: "A
highly entertaining, populist-oriented collection of serious modern
music. Bimstein's compositions are a virtual breath of fresh air."
Starkland released a second CD of Bimstein's compositions,
Larkin Gifford's Harmonica in the autumn of 2006. In the New York Times review of the CD, Steve Smith wrote, "the irresistible charm of Mr. Bimstein’s music has less to do with technology than with his uncanny knack for finding the music of everyday life."
Bimstein was born in Chicago and is a graduate of Chicago Conservatory
of Music, where he majored in theory & composition. In the 1980's he
led the new wave band Phil 'n' the Blanks, whose three albums and six
videos were college radio and MTV hits. After further studies at UCLA
in composition, orchestration and conducting, Bimstein took a hiking
trip to southern Utah and never left.
Fascinated by language and the ability of music to tell a story, he
frequently incorporates text in his work. Refuge, his string quartet
based on the book by Utah naturalist Terry Tempest Williams, was
described as "sublime - elegant perfection" by the Deseret News.
In 1997 Bimstein was awarded Meet The Composer's largest grant, the
three-year New Residencies, during which he composed music that
celebrates and explores the intimate relationship between the
landscapes of the desert southwest and the many cultures that have
inhabited the area.
In 2000 Bimstein received a Continental Harmony grant from the
American Composers Forum, the National Endowment for the Arts and the
White House Millennium Council to write The Bushy Wushy Rag, a work
celebrating baseball and the city of St. Louis. It was featured in a
nationally broadcast PBS special in October 2001. Bimstein received a
second Continental Harmony grant in 2005 to compose
Red Rock Rondo,
a song cycle based on the historical and contemporary stories of the
communities near Zion National Park.
In 2005 Bimstein composed
a techno tone poem based on the sounds and voices of a youth crisis
center in southern Utah. In addition to public concerts, the work is
being presented as dialogue-promoting outreach in youth detention
facilities and prevention programs.
Bimstein also performs and writes for the chamber folk quartet
whose CD, heat beneath the sand, was called "fascinating, fresh and
engrossing" by Sing Out! Magazine.
Outside Magazine as "America's only all-natural politician-composer," Bimstein served
two terms as Springdale mayor. As mayor he was an outspoken advocate
for protection of the environment and he has testified twice before
Congress in support of Utah's wilderness. Due to his successful
efforts to bring harmony to his previously divided community, Parade
Magazine dubbed Bimstein, "The Man Who Brought Civility Back to Town."
Bimstein has served as chair of the Utah Humanities Council, chair of
the art and humanities residency center, The MESA, vice-president of
the American Music Center in New York, and is profiled in Who's Who in
America. He is a frequent guest speaker on creativity, community and