Evan Ware writes music of angular, bristling energy, with moments ranging from clamorous sublimity to reverent tenderness. His works are built on kinetic polyrhythmic textures, exploring processes of space, flux, and development while always maintaining an ear for melody and tonal relations.Through his music, Evan accesses overarching themes of alienation and longing for return, reconnection, reconciliation, compassion, and the recognition of innate beauty. His works have focused specifically on issues of mental illness (Leaving for clarinet, 2008 and Claire de lune intellectuel, 2009); violence, gender, and power (Luminous/Pitiless, 2011); and childhood trauma (The Quietest of Whispers, 2014). The qualities and sounds of Evan’s music are reflected in his love for trains: the liminality of transit between points, comfort in change, moving towards loved ones, moving through memory (of personal history, of national and local history). The routes, schedules and the rhythm of the tracks are at the core of his own obsession with rhythm, the rhythm of our transit through our lives.
To access these themes, he uses techniques derived from influences as far-reaching as Brahms and Sibelius to Ligeti, Luther Adams, and Xenakis; Medieval organum to American minimalism and micropolyphony; Brian Current’s slanted time meeting the metered pulses of Reich. Above all, the counterpoint and homogeneity of musical pulses provide the central tensions in Evan’s music. Multiple pulses exist and interact, sometimes together— creating relatively stable textures, much like the overlapping rhythms in Brahms’ late piano works—sometimes not, morphing and changing over the course of a piece, reflecting the way we experience life and our own inner dialogue, with its multiple, sometimes competing narratives and voice.
His study in rhythms was further deepened by the year he spent learning Noh theatre music in Japan (2011-2012) with the National Noh Theatre’s Yuichiro Hayashi. Also while in Japan, Evan furthered his studies in Zen Buddhism, particularly by practicing the art of Japanese swordsmanship, kendo. Through this discipline, its practice of stillness and no-mind, he learns to look for what is needed from within, a disposition he emphasizes as much in his teaching as in his learning. He has explored some of these ideas through a growing interest in miniatures, exemplified in his Haiku for alto flute (2009), in which each “haiku” contains only seventeen notes.
Evan’s music has been performed in the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand by the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, the Arraymusic Ensemble, members of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, the Donald Sinta Saxophone Quartet, the New Zealand Clarinet Quartet, the Musings Ensemble, cellist Paul Dwyer, cellist/dancer Anne Davison, and the University of Michigan Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, at such venues as the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Mad Air Project in New York City, the Music 08 Festival in Cincinnati, the Festival Musique Jusqu’aux Oreilles in Montreal, and on CBC Radio 2.
Evan maintains an active career as a music theorist, with interests in musical reinterpretations, especially cover songs, contrafacta, and standards. His work has been published in the volume Hard Core, Punk, and Other Junk (2014). He has presented at national, international, and regional conferences including the Society for Music Theory, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, Music Theory Midwest, and Music Theory Southeast. He maintains a strong secondary area in film and television music, having given conferences at Music and the Moving Image and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Along with Jessica Getman and Brooke McCorkle, Evan is working on a volume of collected essays on music and utopia in Star Trek, the first scholarly book to address music in the franchise.
A passionate advocate for contemporary music, Evan is the founder of ONMC-CMNO (Ottawa New Music Creators/Créateurs de musique nouvelle de l’Outaouais), a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing the development of a sustainable infrastructure for new music creation in Ottawa, Canada.
He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia where is a Visiting Lecturer in Music Theory at Georgia State University. In the fall of 2017 he will join the faculty of Central Michigan University as Assistant Professor of Composition.