Andrew is an experienced arts professional who has been involved with programming in New York and Australia for more than two decades. From 2014 to 2018, he was Artistic Director of Symphony Space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and before that Director of Festivals at Carnegie Hall for eight years. He has also worked as a programmer, curator, producer, and music adviser at Chamber Made Opera (Melbourne), Synagogue Space Music Series (New York), Speculum Musicae (New York), Sony Classical Music (New York), and Annenberg Center Live (Philadelphia).
Andrew’s programming has ranged across many artistic fields. At Carnegie Hall, he directed annual multi-disciplinary festivals that explored such themes as Berlin today, the experimental American maverick tradition, the artistic legacy of Leonard Bernstein, twenty years of democracy in South Africa music, and more. Most recently, as Artistic Director of Symphony Space, he was responsible for all programming at this multi-disciplinary venue, which includes music, performing arts, family programming, film, and literature-in-performance events, as well as education programs for New York City school students.
Over his career, he has worked with such legendary figures as Jessye Norman, Steve Reich, Gilberto Gil, John Luther Adams, Bela Fleck, and others, and has commissioned and programmed first performances of new works by composers David Lang, Donnacha Dennehy, Kate Moore, William Brittelle, among others.
Born in Melbourne, Andrew attended La Trobe University, before moving to New York on a Fulbright Scholarship to study for a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University.
Andrew Byrne is a composer for film, dance, and the concert hall whose music has been described as “beautifully constructed and tautly focused“ (Fanfare Magazine), “a delirious swoon: somehow lush and minimal, soothing and ominous” (Studio 360, WNYC Radio) and “Imagine Ligeti’s Etudes having had a little too much to drink with Conlon Nancarrow as the designated driver” (Gramophone Magazine).
His work has been celebrated and performed in North American, Asia, Europe, and Australia by Brooklyn Rider (USA), Speculum Musicae (USA), Lark Quartet (USA), Either/Or Ensemble (USA), L’arsenale Ensemble (Italy), Elysian Quartet (England), Michael Kieran Harvey (Australia), Speak Percussion (Australia), Astra Music (Australia), among others. Leading venues around the world such as the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Lincoln Center (New York), the Kitchen (New York), Carriageworks (Sydney) have featured Andrew’s music.
Recent projects include a dance collaboration 3Body performed at the Vail Dance Festival (Colorado) and Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) with choreographers Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, the soundtrack for the award-winning HBO documentary There Will Be Chaos on the refugee situation in Europe, the world premiere of The Othersiders, (a Potter Foundation commission) by Astra Music, a portrait concert in Melbourne broadcast nationally on ABC radio featuring Whispers and Cries for choir and percussion quartet and Creeping Shadows for piano.
Over the last decade, Andrew has focused more and more on creating non-traditional performance pieces and sound installations in collaboration with visual artists, most notably been the Australian artist Tom Nicholson. Some recent projects include a sonic meditation on silenced voices of displaced Palestinians in Nine speakers for a Comparative Monument (Palestine) in Antwerp; a 127-day-long piece called Lines Towards Another Century in Shanghai; an open score for 60 brass players and singer with megaphone in 1917: The Great Strike in Sydney. Museums and galleries to have featured Andrew’s work include the Auckland Triennale, Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz; Museo Storico Nazionale dell’Arte Sanitaria in Rome; the Shanghai Biennale, China; Holburne Museum, Bath; Parco delle Rimembranze, Venice.
White Bone Country, a recording of Byrne’s music for piano and percussion, was released by New World Records in New York in 2009 to widespread critical praise. Other CDs featuring his music include Striking (featuring Either/Or Ensemble and Astra Music and Speak Percussion), Wildfire (Brake Drum Ensemble), Broadway Boogie (Move Records) by pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, and In These Great Times (the ByrneBand).
Andrew was born in Melbourne and educated at La Trobe University. A Fulbright grant took him to study at Columbia University and he remained in New York these almost 2 decades. There, he worked with composers Steve Reich, John Zorn, David Lang, John Luther Adams, Julia Wolfe, Donnacha Dennehy, whose music and outlook has had a profound impact on his own arts practice. In addition to composing, he has been involved with concert programming and has held the positions of Director of Festivals at Carnegie Hall and Artistic Director at Symphony Space. Andrew now lives in Melbourne and is a freelance composer.