Felipe Tovar-Henao Named 2021-22 Center For Contemporary Composition Postdoctoral Researcher

Felipe Tovar-Henao


The University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Composition (CCCC) is pleased to announce composer Felipe Tovar-Henao as the 2021-22 Postdoctoral Researcher at the rank of Instructor in the Division of the Humanities. Tovar-Henao will develop new works to be performed by the Grossman Ensemble and Quatuor Diotima, as well as other guest artists during the upcoming season. He will also teach an undergraduate course, provide undergraduate music lessons, and participate in the Center’s workshops and events.

“Dr. Tovar-Henao has a superior ear for musical nuance, blending, and close listening. The intricacy of his refinement is alluring. His music is at once visceral, ardent, inventive, gentle, dream-like, vivid, and muscular,” said University Professor Augusta Read Thomas, Director of the CCCC.

Characterized by a strong interest in engaging the audience on multiple perceptual levels, the music of Colombian composer Felipe Tovar-Henao has been consistently awarded and performed throughout his emerging professional career. His creative work is deeply rooted in aesthetic experiences with technology, philosophy, and cinema, and exists primarily within the realms of chamber, electro-acoustic, multimedia, choral, vocal, and orchestral music.

Recent highlights include being a resident composer at the 2020 Mizzou International Composers Festival, being a finalist of the 2019 SEAMUS/ASCAP Award, as well as receiving the 2018 SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Award and the 2018 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

His music has been performed by artists and ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, Sound Icon, IU New Music Ensemble, Hear no Evil, Sociedad de Música de Cámara de Bogotá, Ensamble Periscopio, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Orquesta Sinfónica EAFIT, Primavera Cuarteto, among many others. Similarly, he has received commissions and grants from institutions including SCI/ASCAP, Mizzou New Music Initiative, FilarMed, Indiana University, Colombian Ministry of Culture, Alcaldía de Medellín, and Universidad EAFIT.

He has been a featured composer at a variety of international festivals such as WOCMAT (Taiwan, 2019), Electroacoustic Barn Dance (U.S., 2019), SCI National Conference (U.S., 2019), SEAMUS National Conference (U.S., 2019, ‘18), Seoul International Computer Music Festival (South Korea, 2017), IRCAM’s CIEE Summer Contemporary Music Creation + Critique Program and ManiFeste Academy (France, 2016), Electroacoustic Music Midwest (U.S., 2016), and the Midwest Composer Symposium (U.S., 2019, ‘16).

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Artwork by Felipe Tovar-Henao

“I was in awe when I first received the call from Augusta Read Thomas, telling me I had been selected as the 2021-22 CCCC Postdoctoral Researcher. It’s hardly an overstatement to say that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, both artistically and professionally,” said Tovar-Henao. “I’m personally not aware of any other places where emerging young composers can have this level of support, artistic freedom, and resources to work for a full year—not to mention the welcoming and vibrant community that is the University of Chicago. I certainly look forward to immersing myself in a variety of projects this year, including a commission for the CCCC’s Grossman Ensemble, which has quickly become one of the leading forces for new music performance in the U.S.”

Tovar-Henao’s work for the Grossman Ensemble is scheduled to premiere in March 2022 at the Logan Center for the Arts as part of a concert with three other world premieres. He serves as the fifth Postdoctoral Researcher of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition, a position previously held by Dongryul Lee, Ashkan Behzadi, Tonia Ko, and Aaron Helgeson. For more information, visit cccc.uchicago.edu.