Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, and she has championed new music throughout the world by building organizations, forming alliances, pioneering commissioning initiatives and supporting educational programs that reach new audiences. Chase joined the Harvard faculty in July, 2017.
Claire Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) in 2001, which has been extraordinarily successful in redefining the concept of a new-music group. ICE established musical innovation as central to the recipe not only for cultural survival, but also for popular success, with its flexible entrepreneurial structure and inclusive educational mission. Chase recently stepped down from the leadership of ICE to focus on her performing career and to make way for other long-term projects, including “Density 2036.” This project will result in the commission of a significant body of new music for the flute over the next two decades, culminating in the commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of Edgard Varèse’s iconic solo piece, “Density 21.5” of 1936. Additionally, Chase has begun performing excerpts of Pan, a new 90-minute work for solo flutist, live electronics, and a large ensemble of players from the community in which it is staged, which she will premiere in full in the fall.
Chase has won the Avery Fisher Prize, which recognizes musical excellence, vision, and leadership. In 2012, Chase was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship—the so-called “genius” award. Her other accolades include prizes for all aspects of her work: as a flutist, she was First Prize Winner of the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the National Young Artists Competition, and the Coleman National Chamber Music Competition; as an entrepreneur, she was awarded the Carlos Surinach BMI Award for Outstanding Commitment to American Music and the Champion of New Music Award from the American Composers Forum; and as a collaborator, she is a two-time winner of the Chamber Music America ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and winner of the Ensemble of the Year award from Musical America Worldwide. From 2014–2016 she served as Artist in Residence at the Institute for New Music at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and she has been appointed Co-Artistic Director of the Summer Classical Music Programs at the Banff Centre in Canada, starting with the 2017 summer season.