Renée Favand-See is a composer and soprano who lives in Portland, Oregon. Her works explore the music of words, of natural and made environments, of emotions and spiritual questions. These investigations yield vocal music of all stripes, Musique Concrète-esque electronic pieces, lyrically driven instrumental music, and counterpoint or the relationships that unfold in the spaces between voices.
Renée recently completed a new cycle of songs based on scientific texts for mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn to be premiered at HERE Arts Center in New York City in 2016. Among her commissions are works for Resonance Ensemble, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Lucy Shelton and Eighth Blackbird, Sequitur, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, American Opera Projects, Wet Ink Ensemble, Outer Voices Festival, coloratura soprano Alissa Rose and cellist Ha-Yang Kim. Other groups who have performed her music include The Julians; Friends of Rain; Electrogals; Del Sol String Quartet; Peabody Trio; and many singers, including Jesse Blumberg, Blythe Gaissert, Anna Haagenson, Jennifer Aylmer, Kristin Norderval, and William Ferguson. Renée is a member of Cascadia Composers and its offshoot of women, Crazy Jane Composers.
Renée has written chamber, orchestral, choral and electronic pieces, as well as music for video and dance, including collaborations with Ten Tiny Dances in Portland, TRIP Dance Theatre in Los Angeles, Group Motion in Philadelphia and video artist Christine Sciulli in New York City.
Her music has been heard at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub Public, American Opera Projects at South Oxford Space, Opera Index, Outer Voices, and HERE in New York City; Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lincoln Hall and First Presbyterian in Portland; WGBH Radio Boston and Pickman Concert Hall in Cambridge; The Longy School of Music in Paris; New Music New Haven, Kilbourn Concert Series in Rochester; First and Franklin Street Concert Series in Baltimore; and Settlement Music School in Philadelphia.
Renée’s works are featured on Five Borough’s “Five Borough Songbook” on GPR Records; Sequitur’s “To Have and to Hold” available on Koch, and on Prism Quartet’s “Dedication” on Innova. She was a recording artist for Cappella Romana’s world premiere recording of the Maximilian Steinberg’s Passion Week.
Her honors include a grant from the American Music Center for her oratorio Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes., a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Bearns Prize from Columbia University.
As a singer, Renée enjoys performing works by living composers; singing with Third Angle, Resonance Ensemble, Cappella Romana, Oregon Catholic Press, Crazy Jane Composers and Cascadia Composers; and studying voice with the wonderful and wise Nancy Olson-Chatalas.
She holds B.M. and M.M. degrees in composition from the Eastman and Yale Schools of Music, respectively. She studied composition with Joseph Schwantner, Samuel Adler, Warren Benson and David Liptak at Eastman, and then with Mathias Spahlinger at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, and with Martin Bresnick, David Lang and Jacob Druckman at the Yale School of Music. Her earliest compositional studies began at age twelve at The Walden School, a summer program for young musicians in Dublin, New Hampshire.
Renée currently teaches music composition and theory at Portland State University, Lewis & Clark College and Creative Musicians Retreat in New England.
Photograph by Kelly Hoffer