“A talent the ear wants to follow wherever it goes” (Boston Globe), Gregory Mertl has garnered commissions from the Tanglewood Music Center (1999), the Rhode Island Philharmonic (2000), the Tarab Cello Ensemble (2001), the Phoenix Symphony (2001), the Wind Ensembles of the Big Ten Universities (2002), the Ostrava Oboe Festival, Czech Republic (2005, 2009), Kenneth Meyer and the Hanson Institute (2006), the University of Oregon (2013), CSTMA (2013), and the Barlow Endowment for a piano concerto for pianist Solungga Liu and the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, Craig Kirchhoff, conductor, which was premiered in November, 2011 and will be released by Bridge Records in May 2017.
In 2010, he presented work on a concert/lecture tour in Romania and Hungary and as a guest composer at KOFOMI (Komponistenforum Mittersill, Austria) where he had performances by the Austrian contemporary music ensemble "Die Reihe". Previously his music has reached audiences in France, at the Festival du Moulin d’Andé and the France Musique radio station, Belgium, where he placed third at the Harelbeke International Wind Ensemble Composition Competition (2004), and the Czech Republic, where he was featured composer of the Ostrava Oboe Festival in both 2005 and 2009. In Asia, the Tainan Women’s College of Arts and Technology hosted a two-day conference featuring Mertl’s music in May 2005 and lectures and performances followed at several other Taiwanese universities. His music has also been performed in China, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. In the US, it has been heard widely (New York City, Chicago, Boston, Rochester, Honolulu, Baltimore, Tanglewood, Colgate, Northwestern, Yale, and Princeton Universities, and Vermont Public Radio during a two hour program dedicated to his work). In 2007, Open Gate, an ensemble he co-founded, performed an entire evening of his chamber music on a tour that culminated at Weill Recital Hall in New York City.
Born in 1969, Mertl has degrees from Yale University (BA 1991) and the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D. in Music Composition 2005). He has been fulltime Visiting Artist of Composition at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University (2008-2010) and has been composer-in-residence at Yaddo, Château de La Napoule in France, the Fundación Valparaiso in Spain, the Helen Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the I-Park Artists Enclave in East Haddam, CT, and the Chamber Music Festival of the East at Bennington College in Vermont. He has won major awards such as the Chicago Symphony’s First Hearing Award and a 1998 Tanglewood Composition Fellowship. At Tanglewood, he had the tremendous privilege of studying with Henri Dutilleux and Mauricio Kagel.
On November 14 and 19, 2014, Mertl presented his music at the University of São Paulo and at the University of Campinas in Brazil and this year he was performed in Virginia, North Carolina, and Oklahoma and in two Open Gate showcases at Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City. This summer he was resident composer at the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany and he will lecture and be performed in October at the Balkan Art Forum 2015 in Niš, Serbia.
His most recent works are two song cycles, Gathering What Is To Be Told for mezzo and guitar and On To Stillness for mezzo, oboe, guitar and percussion (the Connecticut State Music Teacher’s Association 2013 Commission) and a piece for flute and piano, The Way Things Are, commissioned by the University of Oregon for Molly Barth and David Riley. On To Stillness was premiered on June 29, 2013 at Fairfield University, CT and subsequently performed at the International Double Reed Society Conference at NYU in August 2014. The Way Things Are was premiered at the BGSU New Music Festival on October 17, 2014. Currently, he is composing a work for German clarinetist Sebastian Lambertz and a cello concerto for the French cellist Xavier Phillips.