Claire Chase

Claire Chase, described by The New York Times recently as “the North Star of her instrument’s ever-expanding universe”, is a musician, interdisciplinary artist, and educator. Passionately dedicated to the creation of new ecosystems for the music of our time, Chase has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works by a new generation of artists. She was the first flutist to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012, and in 2017 was the first flutist to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize from Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Chase has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Curtis Institute of Music and The Cleveland Institute of Music.

In 2013, Chase launched the 24-year commissioning project “Density 2036”. “Density 2036” reimagines the solo flute literature over a quarter-century through commissions, performances, recordings, education, and an accessible archive at Each season until 2036, Chase premieres a new programme of commissioned music. At the conclusion of the project, she will play a 24-hour marathon of all of the repertory created in the project.

A deeply committed educator, Chase is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on contemporary music, interdisciplinary collaboration, nonprofit arts organizations, and community-building through the arts. From 2016 to 2019, she served as co-artistic director, with her longtime collaborator Steven Schick, of “Ensemble Evolution“, a hybrid summer intensive designed to foster a holistic understanding of the artist as a global citizen at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada. “Ensemble Evolution“ is now a project of the International Contemporary Ensemble in collaboration with The New School’s College of Performing Arts (CoPA) in New York City. From 2014 to 2018, Chase was a Fellow at Project&, a Chicago-based social justice organization founded by Jane M. Saks. Chase collaborated with Project&, the composer Marcos Balter and the director Douglas Fitch on the creation of “Pan”, an evening-length musical drama for flutist and an all-ages ensemble of community members, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “art as grassroots action.”

As an undergraduate at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Chase co-founded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001, described as the United States’ “foremost new-music ensemble” (The New Yorker). She served as the Ensemble’s artistic director until 2017 and as an ensemble member on performance and education projects on five continents, spearheading an artist-driven organizational model that earned the group the Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center in 2010 and the Ensemble of the Year Award in 2014 from Musical America Worldwide. George Lewis has recently been announced as the new artistic director of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Recent projects include performances of Felipe Lara’s new duo concerto for Chase and Esperanza Spalding with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic, conducted by Susanna Mälkki; a collaboration with the Ecuadorian anthropologist Eduardo Kohn and the Sapara Nation Forest Defender Manari Ushigua on Pauline Oliveros’ “The Witness”; and performances of Liza Lim’s “Sex Magic”, an evening-length solo for contrabass flute, electronics, and an installation of kinetic percussion at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Berlin’s Akademie der Künste. Chase is currently a Creative Associate at the Juilliard School and a Collaborative Partner with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony.

Chase grew up in Leucadia, CA with the childhood dream of becoming a professional baseball player before she discovered the flute. She lives in Brooklyn.

As of January 2023

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