Mark Kilstofte

Composer in Residence

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Mark Kilstofte is admired as a composer of lyrical line, engaging harmony, strong, dramatic gesture and keen sensitivity to sound, shape and event. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle as "exciting and beautiful, consistently gripping," his music has garnered a growing number of awards and honors including the Rome Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, ASCAP's Rudolf Nissim Award, the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aaron Copland Award (three times) and the Gardner Read and Francis & William Schuman Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony. He has also earned commissions from the Dale Warland Singers and the Fromm Foundation. His music, performed regularly throughout the United States and Canada, has been featured on NPR's Performance Today and is heard in concert halls from Moscow to Bangkok.


  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Rome Prize
  • Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and Charles Ives Scholarship (American Academy of Arts and Letters)
  • ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Award
  • Aaron Copland Award (three times)
  • Prix Henri Selmer-Paris
  • South Carolina Arts Commission Artist Fellow (twice)
  • Composers Award for String Quartet
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Grants from the Mellon Foundation, Knight Foundation and Meet the Composer
  • Commissions from Dale Warland Singers, Fromm Foundation and Copland House
  • Residencies at MacDowell Colony and Banff Centre's Leighton Artists' Colony


  • D.M.A., University of Michigan
  • M.M., University of Michigan
  • B.M., St. Olaf College

Training Under:

  • Leslie Bassett, William Bolcom, William Albright, Eugene Kurtz and George Wilson, University of Michigan
  • Andrew Imbrie, Schweitzer Institute
  • Arthur Campbell and Charles Forsberg, St. Olaf College


Whether in classroom or studio teaching, my philosophy is one that integrates imagination and technique, artistry and craft, spontaneity and calculation. I stress the importance of having something to say, even as young composers are hard about the task of developing the wherewithal to say it.