2022 Runner Up
John Liberatore is a composer, pianist, and one of the world’s few glass harmonica players. Described by critics as “enchanting” and “truly magical” (Boston and New York Classical Review, respectively), his music seeks poignancy through levity, ambiguity through transparency, and complexity within simple textures—“to feel pulled along at varying speeds in multiple directions, but always forward.” (clevelandclassical.com )
Over the past several years, his music has received hundreds of performances in venues around the world. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, and other fellowships from Tanglewood, Yaddo, the Brush Creek Arts Foundation, the I-Park Artist’s Enclave, and the Millay Colony. Other notable distinctions include commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation and the American Opera Initiative, two ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, and the Brian Israel Prize. Through a 2012 Presser Music Award, he studied in Tokyo with Jo Kondo—a mentorship that made an indelible impression on his music.
In 2015, Liberatore commissioned glass blowers G. Finkenbeiner Inc. for a new glass harmonica, becoming one of the few exponents of this rare instrument in contemporary music. So far, he has collaborated as a composer and performer with Roomful of Teeth, percussionist Daniel Druckman, soprano Jamie Jordan, the Concert Choir of Old Saint Patrick’s, and as a soloist at the Third Practice Festival.
In 2018, Albany Records released “Line Drawings,” a portrait album of Liberatore’s chamber music. The album features Liberatore’s recording debut on the glass harmonica (alongside Druckman and Jordan), as well as pieces for The Mivos Quartet, pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, Bent Frequency, and Duo Damiana. Other recordings of his work are available on Centaur, Innova, and Ravello record labels.
He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (PhD, MM) and Syracuse University (BM, summa cum laude). He serves as Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 2015.