John Heiss is an active composer, conductor, flutist, and teacher. His works have been performed worldwide, receiving premieres by Speculum Musicae, Boston Musica Viva, Collage New Music, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Aeolian Chamber Players, Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, and Alea III. He has received commissions from the Fromm Foundation, NEA, Rockefeller Foundation, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, among others. His principal publishers are Boosey & Hawkes, E.C. Schirmer, Elkus & Son, and Subito Music (54 works to date).
Heiss has been principal flute of Boston Musica Viva and has performed with many local ensembles, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
His articles on contemporary music have appeared in Winds Quarterly, Perspectives of New Music, and The Instrumentalist. Along with Juilliard faculty Joel Sachs, Heiss has designed and written a book/CD-Rom classical music primer for Blue Marble Music entitled Classical Explorer.
Starting in the 1970s, Heiss has directed many NEC festivals dedicated to composers or themes, and has spearheaded visits to NEC by many composers, including Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Berio, Carter, Messiaen, Schuller, Harbison, and Tippett.
B.A. in mathematics, Lehigh University; M.F.A., music, Princeton University. Composition with Milton Babbitt, Edward T. Cone, Earl Kim, Otto Luening, Darius Milhaud; flute with Arthur Lora, James Hosmer, Albert Tipton. Recordings on TelArc, Nonesuch, CRI, Golden Crest, Arista, Turnabout, Video Artists International, Boston Records, AFKA, Albany Records (recent all Heiss recording featuring the late Fenwick Smith, NEC faculty, Boston Symphony Orchestra second flutist). Former faculty of Columbia University, Barnard College, MIT, NEC Institute at Tanglewood, and Boston University School of Music.
In his multidisciplinary role in NEC College studies, John Heiss teaches composition, chamber music, flute, music history, music theory, and directs the NEC Contemporary Ensemble.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut