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Justin Messina


Justin Messina is a composer who works with both acoustic and electronic elements to create works that explore the expressive nature of sound. These works range from expansive orchestral compositions to electronically created sound installations.

Justin Messina’s works have found a home in renowned concert halls across the United States and Europe, including prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Cité de la Musique, Concertgebouw, and Wiener Musikverein.

Recently, Justin Messina contributed to violinist Johnny Gandelsman’s epic-scale commissioning project, “This is America”.

He and Anne Aghion met at the MacDowell Colony where they were both fellows in residence at a time when she was just starting work on TURBULENCE. Their collaboration marks the first time Justin Messina has ventured into scoring for film.

He has also been an artist in residence at a number of other institutions including Ucross, Art 342, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and the Camargo Foundation.

Through installations like “Island”, recorded at Channel Islands National Park, Justin Messina explores the relationship between music and sound by recording acoustic instruments in unusual acoustic spaces like sea caves and forests. “Island” is on display at the Chrisman California Island Center.

His album Shortwave Artifacts investigates the mysterious nature of radio. Made entirely of radio sounds and music for string ensemble, the album emerged naturally following a decade of interest in electronic music and techno during which time he worked with Francesco Tristano, Carl Craig, and Moritz von Oswald.

Beyond his own compositions, Justin Messina has made significant contributions as an arranger, copyist, and electronic musician. He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Ken Burns, Bela Fleck, Oswaldo Golijov, Adam Schoenberg, Brooklyn Rider, and Francesco Tristano.

Justin Messina was honoured with the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006 and was the winner of the Juilliard Orchestral Competition in 2004.

During his time as an undergraduate at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, he received accolades such as the Peter D. Faith Prize, Gretchaninoff Memorial Prize, and the Juan Orrego-Salas Scholarship Award. In 2001, he clinched the first prize for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Peer-to-Peer Commissioning Project and was recognized with the Alvin and Charlotte Bronstein Award at the Ojai Music Festival.

Justin Messina earned a Master’s in Music Composition and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Juilliard School in New York City. He lives in California.

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