Macklay, Sky

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born in 1988, composer, oboist, and installation artist. Originally from Minnesota, Sky completed her DMA in composition at Columbia University where she studied with Georg Friedrich Haas, George Lewis, and Fred Lerdahl. She also holds degrees from the University of Memphis (MM) and Luther College, Iowa (BA). An enthusiastic practitioner of creative music education, Sky taught for nine summers at The Walden School Young Musicians Program in Dublin, New Hampshire, an acclaimed summer school and festival for pre-college composers. From 2018 to 2020 she was Assistant Professor of Music at Valparaiso University, Indiana. 

In her music, she explores extreme contrasts, audible processes, and the physicality of sound. Her works have been performed and promoted by ensembles such as ICE, Splinter Reeds, Wet Ink Ensemble, JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Da Capo Chamber Players, New York Virtuoso Singers, and Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. In 2013 her composition for Lexington Symphony won the Leo Kaplan Award, the top prize in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. In 2015 she created Harmonibots, a sonic and kinetic installation of inflatable harmonica-playing robots, which earned her the Ruth Anderson Prize of the International Alliance for Women in Music. She has been commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, Chamber Music America, Gaudeamus Muziekweek, and Jerome Fund for New Music, among others. Her string quartet Many Many Cadences, recorded by Spektral Quartet (on a Grammy-nominated album) won another ASCAP Award. 

Macklay was a 2015–17 Composers and the Voice Fellow with American Opera Projects. Her one-act opera The Surrogate to a libretto by Emily Roller received its world premiere performance at the University of Illinois. She played the oboe at the MATA and SPLICE festivals. She is also a member of New York’s Ghost Ensemble. Her music is published by C.F. Peters. 

Selected works: Lake Dublin for clarinet, piano and bowls of water (2009), Before There Was Backspace... for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion and typewriter (2011), Missing Parts of Moonspots for violin, viola, cello and percussion (2011), Doppelgänger for two oboes and a six-piece ensemble (2012), Dissolving Bands for orchestra (2012), Zoom In for tenor saxophone, violin, cello, piano and percussion (2013), 60 Degree Mirrors for ensemble (2013), The Braid for clarinet, cello and percussion (2014), Inner Life of Song for oboe ensemble (2014), Doppelgänger III for two oboes and organ (2014), Sing Their Names for 17-part choir (2015), Lessina, Levlin, Levlite, Levora for speaking violinist and electronics (2015), White/Waves for ensemble and electronics (2015),Many Many Cadences for string quartet (2015), FastLowHighSlow for violin and piano, with optional 5th movement for two violins and piano four-hands (2015), Harmonibots, installation (2015), The Big Wind-Up for toy piano and toy viola (2016), Glossolalia for mezzo-soprano and piano (2016), Density Dancity for tenor saxophone and piano (2016), All About Alice for orchestra (2016), Why We Bleed, chamber opera for two sopranos, baritone, and piano (2016), Microvariations for ensemble (2016), Fly’s Eyes for soprano, flute, tenor saxophone, violin, piano, percussion and electronics (2016), X + X = ? for horn and alto saxophonists and wind ensemble (2017), Disputation(s) on the Power (of Indulgences) for mixed choir and brass ensemble (2017), Six Years Six Days for vocalist, flute, clarinet, violin, and percussion (2017), Exponentialfor saxophone, violin, electric guitar, piano, and percussion (2017), MEGA-ORGAN, installation (2017), Choppy for oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone and bassoon (2017), Escalator for oboe, horn, and chamber ensemble (2018), The Surrogate, chamber opera for five singers and sinfonietta (2018), Swarm Collecting for ensemble (2019), Maps (of Friendship) for violin, viola and video (2019), Seven Squiggles for Sam for violin and bassoon (2019), Head Voices for sopranino and baritone saxophones with electronics (2019).