Biography

 

Through her music, her writings, and her teaching, Julia Werntz has become recognized as an important voice in the field of microtonal music. Her compositions have been performed at concert series, festivals and venues around Europe and the Northeastern United States, such as the Stockholm New Music Festival, Unerhörte Music and the BKA Theater in Berlin, the Tage für Neue Musik at the Darmstadt Akademie für Tonkunst, the Week of Contemporary Music, Bucharest, the Here/Now Festival in Sofia, the UK Microfest 3, the Hamburg Klangwerktage, New York’s Vision Festival, Boston’s Enchanted Circle and Extension Works, Pittsburgh’s Music on the Edge (winter 2018), and the series of Ecce Ensemble, Ludovico Ensemble (fall 2017), Ensemble New Babylon, Loadbang, Firebird Ensemble, Prana Duo, DuoKaya, Auros Group for New Music, and NotaRiotous. She recently completed Phototropes, a video-composition collaboration with Boston-based duo Patchtax, which will be receiving its premiere this fall (2017).

Her manual on microtonal ear training and composition, “Steps to the Sea,” was published in December 2014 in the book 1001 Microtones. (See here for more details.) She has published articles on microtonal and other contemporary music in Perspectives of New Music, The Sonneck Society Bulletin, ParisTransatlantic, NewMusicBox, and New World Records. She has given lectures at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music in London (part of the UK Microfest 4), the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hamburg, Wesleyan, Tufts and Brandeis Universities, the Hartt and Longy Schools of Music. Werntz is currently Associate Professor of  music at Berklee College of Music, where she teachers Ear Training, Theory, Microtonal Ear Training and Composition, and she teaches Microtonal Composition and Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music. She is Artistic Director of the Boston Microtonal Society and co-founder of the BMS chamber ensemble, NotaRiotous.

Julia Werntz’s music is now available through Frog Peak Music. (The current list of her pieces available through Frog Peak is still small, but is steadily growing. See Works page for more information.)

“Julia’s 2002 piece in five movements for solo violin and solo viola, based on Cummings’s early “Orientale,” is astonishing… Just as Cummings built his poems phoneme by phoneme, Julia builds her interpretations through enticing intervallic relationships…I feel that Julia is making a major contribution both to music and literature.” Poet and E.E. Cummings biographer Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno

“Werntz’s compositions reside in a more abstract orbit, where musical ideas are a bit more pristine and unweighted by earthly reality. Her meticulously crafted Piano Piece, for instance, shapes long arching phrases from ambiguous particles whose connectivity is loose and fluid, but much too structured to simply be a stream of conscious musing. Same goes for her String Trio with Homage to Chopin and To You Strangers—this is music for music’s sake, and for our sake as well.” NewMusicBox

“The viola line, laden with special effects and cast in a microtonal language, proves attractive and intriguing.” 21st Century Music