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Mischa Salkind-Pearl

Chair of Composition, Contemporary Music, and Core Studies
Affiliated Departments

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As a composer, I am devoted to enabling students to find their artistic and linguistic voices and to critically question and engage with their musical community.

Mischa Salkind-Pearl joined the Conservatory as a faculty member in 2010 and became chair of composition, contemporary music, and core studies in June 2023. He has taught and created more than 10 courses, including music theory, composition, and the Music and English Intensive Program for English as a second language learners. In August 2022, he took on the role of interim chair of composition, contemporary music, and core studies, successfully launching a new sequence of required music history courses and a new course for first-year students, Music in Context. He also designed and carried out two successful guest artist residencies with Splinter Reeds and The Rhythm Method, both of whom performed concerts of their own repertoire at the Conservatory in addition to collaborating with composers and contemporary performance majors. 

Salkind-Pearl’s music has been performed by ensembles around the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Italy. The Boston Globe wrote of his opera Troubled Water (premiered in 2015 by Guerilla Opera): “the invoked virtues, literary and musical, so fascinatingly and congruently avoid the conventionally operatic.” And, Boston Classical Review listed Troubled Water as the Best Premiere of 2015. 

Salkind-Pearl’s current projects include a grant to compose a new work for the Rhythm Method and Semiosis string quartets, integrating traditional techniques of American weaving; a concert-length piece in collaboration with the Knoxville, Tennessee-based duo Two Way Street; and a collaboration with fiction writer Franny Zhang on a second work for Guerilla Opera. 

His composition A Poppy of Erasure was included in the exhibition Intersections: Masters of Line and Space at the Akron Art Museum. He composed, performed, and recorded the music to the 2018 documentary Art in Smog by director Lydia Chen. Ensembles and soloists he has composed for include Guerilla Opera, Bent Frequency, ensemble mise-en, Chamber Cartel, Transient Canvas, Diagenesis Duo, cellist Rhonda Rider, saxophonist Philipp Stäudlin, and percussionist Masako Kunimoto. His music has been programmed and performed by the Ludovico Ensemble, Ensemble SurPlus, Uusinta Ensemble, the Boston Conservatory Sinfonietta, Dinosaur Annex, Bent Frequency Duo, Lamnth, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and SICPP, as well as conductors Jeffrey Means, James Baker, Russell Ger, and Yohei Sato. 

Salkind-Pearl founded and served as artistic director of Boston’s Equilibrium (2011-2019), an ensemble that presented concerts highlighting the music of Boston’s diverse contemporary music community. He is composer in residence for the Ludovico Ensemble, and was the 2020-2021 composer in residence at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. His music can be heard on Ludovico Ensemble’s portrait CD of his work, I Might Be Wrong (2016), as well as on Transient Canvas’s Wired (2018), Shi-An Costello’s [Alloy], Chen Li Music’s, Pluralities (2017), Diagenesis Duo’s Hands and Lips of Wind (2019), and other recordings. 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Skidmore College; a Certificate in American contemporary music from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); and a Master of Music in Composition from Boston Conservatory. Learn more about Salkind-Pearl.

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • Composer in Residence, Concord Academy (2020–2021) 
  • Awarded a Berklee Faculty Fellowship to compose a new work for string quartet (2020)
  • ASCAP Foundation Fellowship, Composers Conference at Wellesley College (2016)
  • A Human Textile Pattern to Stop You from Yawning for bassoon, viola, and piano; commissioned by Ludovico Ensemble (2018)

Notable Recent Works

  • Poor Will for amplified cello and percussion with fixed media, commissioned by Two-Way Street (in progress)
  • A Dead Body chamber opera to libretto by Franny Zhang, commissioned by Guerilla Opera (in progress) 
  • Lovesong: Ghost for eight cellos, commissioned by the Albert Alphin Library for BoCoCelli (2023) 
  • Lines and Traces of Desire for violin and cimbalom, commissioned by Lamnth (2022)
  • Palm’s Soft Terrain for solo cimbalom, commissioned by Nicholas Tolle (2018–2022) 
  • School Name
    The Boston Conservatory
    State or Province
    Master of Music (M.M.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    University of Maryland-Baltimore County
    State or Province
    Professional Diploma
    Date Degree Received
  • School Name
    Skidmore College
    State or Province
    New York
    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
    Field of Study
    Date Degree Received