Jazz great Doc Severinsen with Stephen Gryc at the 2016 Ellsworth-Smith International Trumpet Competition in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Composer Stephen Michael Gryc has always been fascinated by sounds and musical instruments. An intimate understanding of the technique of instruments and the imaginative use of instrumental color are hallmarks of his music. Stephen Gryc is Professor Emeritus of Music Composition and Theory at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford where he taught full-time for thirty-five years. His instrumental expertise has brought him commissions from some of the world's leading soloists including Barbara Harbach (organ), Bert Lucarelli (oboe), John Wion (flute), Carrie Koffman (saxophone), Philip Smith (trumpet), Joseph Alessi (trombone), and Leonid Sigal (violin).
Gryc has written for every type of western instrument and ensemble from duo to large orchestra. His works for flute and for trumpet have served as contest pieces for several international performance competitions. His music has been performed by a diverse group of ensembles such as the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, American Brass Quintet, Avalon String Quartet, Cascadian Chorale, United States Marine Band, and Minnesota Orchestra. His music has been heard in 46 states, 34 foreign countries and at 188 colleges and universities worldwide.
Another aspect of Stephen Michael Gryc's work as a composer is his interest in fostering a sense of community through his music. He wrote six pieces for the yearlong celebration of the three hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of his hometown of Farmington, Connecticut. The music was performed by the town's school choruses, church choirs, and municipal orchestra. He is also one of the few living composers who has written their university's alma mater and athletic fight song.
Stephen Michael Gryc teaching a young musician at the
Hartt School of the University of Hartford.
Stephen Michael Gryc was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1949. He earned four degrees in music, including the degree Doctor of Musical Arts, from the University of Michigan where he studied composition with Pulitzer Prize laureates Leslie Bassett and William Bolcom. His music is published by Alphonse Leduc, Boosey and Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Robert King, and others and is recorded on the Albany, Capstone, Centaur, Klavier, Navona, Naxos, Opus One, Parma and Summit labels. Among his many awards are the 1986 Rudolf Nissim Prize for orchestral music from the ASCAP Foundation and the James and Frances Bent Award for Artistic Achievement from the University of Hartford. Gryc’s music is licensed by ASCAP.
Stephen Gryc is married to Judith King, the daughter of music-for-brass publisher Robert King. When Steve was a high school student in California, he would send music orders to Robert King Music at an address in Massachusetts that was the home of his future wife. Judy is a retired reference librarian and expert gardener at their home in Farmington, Connecticut. The couple's son Will (a math professor at Muhlenberg College) and daughter-in-law Cary Leung (a biology professor at Widener University) raise their two children in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
Stephen Gryc talks about his life and work as a composer in an interview from 2014.