Composer Profile: Preben Antonsen

Preben Antonsen (b. 1991) graduated from Yale University in 2013, majoring in music and computer science. He has been composing since he was a small child, and studied composition with John Adams from 2001-2009. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra premiered his first orchestral work in March 2009. NPR’s program “From the Top” featured Preben as a young composer in 2008. Sarah Cahill commissioned him to write a piano work for her anti-war project, “A Sweeter Music,” which she performed in Berkeley and New York. He is a 2005 BMI Student Composer Award winner, and ASCAP recognized six of his compositions with Morton Gould Young Composer Awards in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. He collaborated with other teenage composers and instrumentalists on the Bay Area new music concert series, “Formerly Known as Classical,” which seeks to engage teenage audiences.

Preben transcribed John Adams’ Second String Quartet for two pianos as Roll Over Beethoven, performed by Christina and Michelle Naughton in March 2016. The new music ensemble After Everything has premiered two of his works, Instruments of Straw for string orchestra and A Basil Tale for soprano and ten players.