Laurence Sherr is Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. Honors and awards include top prizes in the Delius Composition Contest and the composition competition of the Association for the Promotion of New Music in New York City. Recordings include Jeri-Mae Astolfi's interpretation of his solo piano Nocturne on Chroma: New Music for Piano, released by Capstone Records, and Piotr Szewczyk's performance of his Four Short Pieces for solo violin on his Navona Records Violin Futura CD set. EIMI for violin, saxophone, percussion, and piano, in a live recording by the German group “ensemble Intégrales”, was released on the Ein-Klang label in Europe, and cellist Theresa Villani included his Elegy and Vision on her recording Patterns of Eloquence.
International performances of Sherr's works have been produced in the Czech Republic, France, Finland, Holland, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey, and at the KOFOMI Festival in Austria, the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest in Tokyo, Japan, and the Festival Internacional de Guitarra de la Habana in Cuba. Canadian and Mexican performances include productions at the Banff Festival of the Arts, tours of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, and performances at the National School of Music and San Ildefonso Museum in Mexico City. United States performances occurred at Tenri Cultural Institute, CAMI Hall, and the Kitchen in New York City, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Carter Presidential Center, and in locations such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Austin, Cleveland, Minneapolis, San Diego, Honolulu, Omaha, and Milwaukee.
Laurence Sherr is active as a composer of Holocaust remembrance music, lecturer on Holocaust music topics, producer of remembrance events, and Holocaust music educator. Performances and lectures have been given in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, England, Norway, San Marino, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. His Music of Resistance and Survival Project features his Sonata for Cello and Piano–Mir zaynen do!, a composition that integrates Holocaust songs from the partisans, ghettos, and camps with newly composed material. The poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs is featured in his compositions Fugitive Footsteps and Flame Language. Dissemination of his work includes: Music of Resistance and Survival events in Europe, Australasia, Israel, and the US; a Keynote Address and composition performances at the Recovering Forbidden Voices international conference in New Zealand; a lecture and performance at the Continuities and Ruptures international conference in Leeds, England; lectures at the Jewish Museum and a Holocaust Remembrance Concert in Prague; and a workshop on teaching music and the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. His concert and educational activities in Germany, produced in collaboration with the children of the generation who persecuted his mother and her family, led to reconciliation and healing. He developed the global-citizenship course Music and the Holocaust at Kennesaw State University. The purpose of this work is to foster greater understanding and tolerance.
Sherr has been awarded grants by the American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer organization, Illinois Arts Council, Georgia Council for the Arts, Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and Alliance Française d’Atlanta. He has received fellowships for composition residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Seaside Institute, Charles Ives Center for American Music, American Dance Festival, Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, and Banff Festival of the Arts. The U.S. Department of the Interior named him Artist-in-Residence at Hot Springs National Park in 2009. At Kennesaw State University, he has been recognized by the 2018 University Distinguished Professor Award, 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement, and 2012 Distinguished Research & Creative Activity Award. His Holocaust music projects have been aided by a range of public, private, and corporate support, including a major grant from SNCF America, Inc.
Commissions for new works have come from ensembles such as Thamyris and the Atlanta Chamber Players, and from organizations such as the [Jimmy] Carter Center and Georgia Music Teachers Association. Soloists who have commissioned Sherr include Atlanta Symphony Orchestra flutist Paul Brittan and guitarist Mary Akerman. Flutist Christina Guenther commissioned his Duo Concertante, and her Florida State University doctoral treatise Laurence Sherr: Chamber Music for Flute is one of several studies that examine his work. Dr. Sherr studied at Duke University, the Vienna International Music Center, the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the founder and clarinetist of the Atlanta klezmer band Oy Klezmer!
The creation of a medical instructional video about Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is an effort that he instigated after his brother died from the malady. The goal of his collaboration with producer/director Robert Aller was to prevent harm and the loss of life due to NMS. Their resultant film, Detection of Suspected Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome: Three Case Examples, won a Freddie Award as best “Patient Care” Film at the 1999 International Health & Medical Film Competition sponsored by Time Inc. Health.
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