Composer Phil Fried is a 2008 McKnight Foundation Fellow.

Recent commissions include: A Centennial Commission from the Minnesota Orchestra for Episodes, and a work for the new music ensemble Zeitgeist in honor of their 30th Anniversary concert and recording. One of his recent piano works, I remember the 60's..or was it the 70's?, is featured on the Innova label release, "Melville's Dozen," with pianist Nikki Melville. Phil has had performances and residencies with The Minnesota Orchestra, The Camargo Foundation, The Tanglewood Music Festival, The Festival at Sandpoint, June in Buffalo, Music of Our Time, and Centre Acanthes, Avignon France. As a Jazz musician, Mr. Fried was a founding member of the New York Artists Collective. His first professional Jazz experience was performing with Ray Nance. Mr. Fried comes from a noted musical family. His father, Louis Fried, was an original cast member in several Broadway shows including Brigadoon and Carousel. His cousin was the noted composer Isadore Freed. Second to music is Dr. Fried's passionate interest in literature. He has written several texts and librettos including the text for his opera, The Dungeon of Esmeralda, and an adaptation of Hemingway's short story, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. Phil Fried completed his musical studies at the University of Chicago receiving his Ph.D. in Music Composition in 1985.

Phil is an active "blogger"  on  http://philipfried.blogspot.com and on Besides blogging for music education, Since 1999 he has maintained a free music composition lesson Page which can now be found on: Log on as a "guest."



  • McKnight Composers Fellowship, 2008
  • Itty Bitty Symphony,Or not a lota sonata, Commissioned by Zeitgeist for their 30th Anniversary concerts June 2008
  • International Society of Improvised Music Conference (December 2007) solo bass/electronics performance
  • Episodes, orchestral piece centennial commission by the Minnesota Orchestra for "Extreme Orchestra" concerts Fall 2006
  • Meet the Composer 's Creative Connections award Fall 2006 for Episodes
  • Six for Minneapolis, song cycle commission by Zeitgeist, St. Paul, MN, March 18, 2006 
  • American Composers Forum Subito Grant, first performance, Zeitgeist, December 2005
  • ASCAP Standard Awards 1994-2009 consecutive, annual award for excellence
  • July 11-14, 2004 Zeitgeist/Composer Workshop, residency for exploration and experimentation with the Zeitgeist ensemble, supported in part by a Meet the Composer Grant
  • May 2004, Elements for Orchestra, Movement IV, Fire scheduled for the Minnesota Orchestra's Reading Session and Composer Institute
  • March 2004, Meet the Composer Grant for participation in Minnesota Orchestra's Reading Sessions
  • September-December 2003, Composer-in-Residence, Camargo Foundation Cassis, France
  • February 12 and 14, 2003, My First 12-Tone Piece or Serial Music Isn't Just for Breakfast Anymore, commission by Fair School, Robbinsdale MN for youth string orchestra and narrator
  • 2002, Concert Work for String Bass, commission by Peter Lloyd, principal bassist, MN Orchestra
  • February-April 2002, Incidental Music for Medea, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis, MN
  • 2002, First Alternate for Camargo Foundation residency in Cassis, France
  • 2000-01, Esquisse I & II commissioned by the Augsburg College Concert Band
  • November 4-6, 1999, Elements for Orchestra, Movement III, performed by the Minnesota Orchestra
  • 1999, ASCAP Bernstein Fund Award
  • May 1998, American Composer's Forum, Minnesota Orchestra Perfect Pitch Reading Session, Elements for Orchestra, Movements II & III
  • 1997, American Composers Forum Commission Grant/Jerome Foundation for Sea Flowers
  • June in Buffalo, String Quintet No. 2, Boston Composers Quartet, Buffalo, New York 1991
  • Music of Our Time, reading of String Quintet No. 2, Bloomington, Indiana 1990
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters, Nominated to the Awards Panel 1989,1990,1991
  • 1989 & 1990, Festival at Sandpoint, Sandpoint, Idaho
  • 1988 & 1989, Center Acanthes, Avignon, France, Study with Pierre Boulez and Luigi Nono
  • 1985-86, Fromm Foundation Grant for Meditations and Satires
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Writings and Lectures:

Letters Too!

  • Letter published in the September 2003 Atlantic Monthly as a response to Matthew Miller's A New Deal for Teachers
  • "Perseverance Pays Off," article for Sounding Board, American Composers Forum, Feb. 2000, Volume 27 #2
  • April 2003, Minneapolis Friends of the Public Library 3rd Annual Celebrity Poetry Reading performance and lecture on the setting of William Reichard's An Alphabet
  • "Notes From The Underground: Problems Facing Presenters and Educators of Classical Music Arts Today," Center for the Performing Arts Newsletter, Minneapolis, MN, Winter 1997-98
  • Guest Speaker for Opera Millennium Recital Series - five humorous and informative lectures on contemporary opera in conjunction with the ensembles performances throughout 1996 and 1997
  • Two letters published in the New York Times as a response to articles in the Sunday Arts: 1)"The Classical Industry Builds Only on Trends," May 18, 1997; 2) "avant-garde 1990, Creative Marketing," October 21, 1990 (links on the homepage)
  • "Meter and Velocity as Structural Determinants in Milton Babbitt's Third String Quartet," Yale University School of Music, April 15, 1992 and New York State Music Theory Society/Arnold Schoenberg Institute at Columbia University, October 6, 1991 (now on my moodle lesson page)
  • "Erwartung, Schoenberg's Annotated Libretto," C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center Theory Symposium, April 13, 1992 
  • "The Influences of the American Folk Tradition In 20th Century Music: Ives, Gershwin, Copland," Warebrook Contemporary Music Festival, Derby Line, VT, July 11, 1991 
  • Blogging on various music blog pages;,, philipfried/, and
  • "Notes From The Underground: Problems Facing Presenters and Educators of Classical Music Arts Today," Center for the Performing Arts Newsletter, Winter 1997-98 (on moodle)
  • Guest Speaker for Opera Millennium Recital Series - five humorous and informative lectures on contemporary opera in conjunction with Opera Millennium Performances, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, 1996 and 1997
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Libretti, Lyrics and texts:

Most recent first

  • Texts in English, for humorous concert arias (2007-9) in the style of: Puccini, Wagner, Rossini, Berlioz, Verdi
  • Opera Bob Theme
  • Libretto and music for Opera in Three Acts, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, complete. Vocal score, full orchestral score
  • Singable English translation of "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde by R. Wagner, commissioned and performed by Nautilus Music Theater Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, March 1998
  • Libretto and music for Opera in Two Acts, The Dungeon of Esmeralda, 1992
  • Libretto and music for Opera, Lizzie Borden, 1991
  • Text Eros set for voice and piano by Richard Aldag, 1984
  • Text and music, Memories, for voice and piano, 1980 
  • Text and music, Lies, for voice and piano, 1979


Conductor for orchestra, chamber and band ensembles - concert and music theater works; Performer on String Bass, Guitar, and sometimes singer in many styles: classical, jazz, klezmer, popular styles; Arranger and other stuff too!


  • Recent Solo Bass Performances, 2009, in NYC; January 28 and 30th Music at MacDougel and Roulette
  • A Stick in the eye, Solo Bass performances with real time analog sound processing; CD's Available
  • A Stick in the Eye solo bass performance w/ electronics; Roulette, New York City, October 7, 2005
  • A Stick in the Eye solo bass performance w/ electronics; Acadia Cafe, Mpls, 2004 -8
  • Solo Performances at: Roulette NYC, Acadia, Studio Z, Dreamland Arts Saint Paul, ISIM conference Chicago
  • Prague 24 Klezmer, bass/baritone, bass player arranger,  CD available
  • American Music Center Cabaret, solo bass, April, May, 1999 
  • Patrick's Cabaret, jazz bass, singer, Minneapolis, MN, January 1998 
  • Film, Stage, Art, Red Eye Theater, MN Fringe 2000, singer and bass player
  • Evil Twins Duo, jazz bass, Minneapolis, MN, January 1998 
  • Center for Performing Arts Recital Series - composer, arranger, guitarist, baritone, Minneapolis, MN, 1997-98 
  • Sonic Circuits IV, American Composers Forum/Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, 11/6/97, Recorder 
  • Recording: Squezzergrabit, Electric Bass and Digital Effects, Minneapolis, 1996 
  • New Music Theater Ensemble, Three Visitations (Kim Sherman), String/Electric Bass, 1996
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  • 120 plus performances as band/choir director SPPS.

  • 2002, Conductor, Music Director, Minneapolis JCC, Music Man
  • 2001, Esquisse II  Augsburg College Concert Band, Conductor and composer
  • Director of Music Theater, Camp Encore Coda, Sweden, Maine, (Fiddler on the Roof, Pirates of Penzance, Broadway Review), Summer 1995 
  • Music Director: Hillcrest High School, Jamaica, Queens (Little Shop of Horrors, Once on this Island), 1992-93 
  • Music Director: Camp Suffield, CT, 1983 (Hair, Godspell, Annabell Broom) 
  • Assistant Costumer: Bent, Boston Premier, 1983 
  • Actor: Neighborhood Playhouse Jr. School, New York City (1967-70)


  • University of Chicago, Ph.D., Music Composition, 1985
  • Queens College, M.A., Music Composition, 1981
  • Queens College, B.M., Music Performance, 1980
  • High School of Music and Art, New York City, 1973 

Current Employment

Itenerant Elementrary Band Teacher Saint Paul Public Schools


  • Composition: Ralph Shapey, Henry Weinberg, Hugo Weisgall, George Perle, Brian Ferneyhough, Luigi Nono
  • Conducting: Ralph Shapey, Maurice Peress, Pierre Boulez
  • Instruments: Julius Levine, Joseph Gustafeste (Chicago Symphony)/Double Bass
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Older Awards/Fellowships

  • Bernstein Grant, ASCAP, 2000
  • Minnesota Orchestra Perfect Pitch Reading Session, 1998
  • American Composers Forum Commission Grant/Jerome Foundation, 1997
  • ASCAP Standard Awards 1994-2008 etc.
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters, Nominated to the Awards Panel 1989,1990,1991
  • June in Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
  • Music of Our Time, Bloomington, Indiana
  • Festival at Sandpoint, Sandpoint, Idaho
  • Center Acanthes, Avignon, France Boulez and Nono
  • Fromm Foundation Grant ("Meditations and Satires")
  • Salerno Scholarship for Graduate Studies (Queens College)
  • Aston Magna Music Festival Fellowship

Other Professional Experiance

  • Consultant: Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, MN - review and report on contemporary opera works
  • Consultant: Bloomington Schools, MN - introduced educational uses of MIDI, Apple Computer programs, "Rock, Rap, & Roll," "The Pianist," "Music Time," "Band in a Box and "The Theremin as an Educational Tool" "Sibelius"

Phil's Solo Bass CD's

  • A Stick in the Eye, Live at Acadia with Chris Granias, and
  • Left for Dead (also available as a DVD) for 10 bucks plus shipping contact me here:

Phil's Improvization Bass Music

Phil's Other CD's Available Now  (click)

  • Zeitgiest, Itty Bitty Symphony, or Not a Lot a Sonata
  • Melville's Dozen, I remember the 60's..or was it the 70's?, Piano Solo
  • Squezzergrabit, Bass, Klezmer
  • Prague-24, Bass, Klezmer
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