It began in a dystopian suburb, with a dusty guitar borrowed from an older brother. Since those childhood days, composer, guitarist and author Thomas Schuttenhelm has busted beyond the suburbs and brought his exquisite craft, richness of style and illuminating scholarship to the world of contemporary music.
His compositions tend to have a strong conceptual component, and they reflect the post-historical conditions of our 21st century. Often embedding a narrative into the music, Schuttenhelm takes great inspiration from musical, literary, poetic, visual, and theatrical sources. He is also highly biographically inspired and influenced by the musicians that he collaborates with.
Those collaborators have included such artists as Bang on a Can All-Stars’ Robert Black, Tempo del Fuoco and the Connecticut Trio. Popular recording artist Paul Bisaccia featured Schuttenhelm’s music on the PBS Special, The Great American Piano, calling it “rich in content, delicate, elegant, and deliberately beautiful.”
Schuttenhelm performs extensively as a concert guitarist, and has played with the FIREWORKS Ensemble, toured with Purple Rock Productions and performed with the Wellspring Dance Company.
Also an accomplished author, he has been published by Cambridge University Press and Faber and Faber. BBC Music Magazine hailed his writing as “detailed” and “illuminating.”
Schuttenhelm is on the faculty at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford and Central Connecticut State University. He has served as both a UK Fulbright Fellow and British Music Studies Fellow, and he is currently an Edison Fellow at the British Library and a visiting scholar at Duke University.