Caroline Mallonée



Music by Caroline Mallonée (b. 1975) has been praised for its structural rigor as well as its ability to reach an audience on an emotional level. Equally at home writing for instrumental and vocal ensembles, Mallonée draws inspiration from science, art, technology and literature.

Whistler Waves for Cello and Orchestra, commissioned by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2015 is based on the four types of these waves, audible in the atmosphere immediately following a bolt of lightning.

She has written two pieces inspired by the work of Isaac Newton. Unless Acted Upon: Manifestations of Newton’s First Law was commissioned for Firebird Ensemble by the Walden School in 2011. It has since been played by Da Capo Chamber Players at Carnegie Hall, at the Bennington Chamber Music Festival, where Mallonée was composer-in-residence in 2013, and on the New York Philharmonic’s CONTACT! New Music Series at National Sawdust. Reaction, based on Newton’s Third Law, was commissioned by Present Music and premiered in Milwaukee. It was also named the winner of Bowling Green New Music Ensemble’s 2015 Call for Scores.

Mallonée often writes clever pieces that set out to solve a musical problem. Some, like her crab canons (Maryland Blue and Alaskan King), stem from a long contrapuntal tradition (Machaut and Bach wrote crab canons as well). Some, like her Pangrams, are musical conceits of her own invention.  I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail is based on a 17th century riddle poem: to solve the riddle, one must reorder the lines.  In Mallonée’s choral piece, she has written music that works musically even when the phrases are sung in a different order.

Mallonée’s large collection of music for strings, String Tunes, which is still in progress, has found champions among today’s most prominent string players. Miranda Cuckson, Max Mandel, Amy Glidden, Yuki Numata Resnick, Duane Padilla and Miranda Sielaff have performed selections of these pieces. A string quartet in this collection, The Butterfly Effect, was inspired by chaos theory. It was written for the Spektral Quartet and has since been performed by the Buffalo Chamber Players. It was named the winner of the Locrian Chamber Players’ Call for Scores and will be performed in Riverside Church in 2016.

Mallonée is often recognized as an important composer of choral music as well. After garnering national attention through “The Carolers At My Door,” which won a contest on “A Prairie Home Companion” when she was 14, Mallonée has been commissioned and performed by choirs across the country.

Several of her choral pieces, including The Carolers At My Door, are published by Boosey & Hawkes. The Vocális Chamber Choir has performed several of her choral works over the last four seasons, and featured Da Pacem Domine in their recent appearance at the Cambridge (UK) Music Festival.

She has participated in VocalEssence’s “Essentially Choral” workshops and was selected for American Opera Projects’ Composers & The Voice program in New York.  She was a member of Cantori New York, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, Duke Chorale, Yale Camerata, and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum; all of these choirs have performed her music as well.

Mallonée’s Google Search piece (called “Search”) commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City was premiered in April 2015 and will be performed in 2015-16 by choirs in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Washington State.

She studied composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague (Fulbright Fellowship, 2005), Scott Lindroth and Stephen Jaffe at Duke University (Ph.D. 2006), Joseph Schwantner and Evan Ziporyn at the Yale School of Music (M.M. 2000), and Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky at Harvard University (B.A. 1997). She is a professional singer in the Vocalis Chamber Singers and is the director of The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, a week-long festival for composers and improvisers held in New Hampshire each June. 

Since 2014, she has been composer-in-residence for The Buffalo Chamber Players, and her work will be featured on most of this season’s concerts, including a world premiere in October. 

Ms. Mallonée lives in Buffalo with her husband, the pianist Eric Huebner, and their children.


The Butterfly Effect, a new string quartet written for the Spektral Quartet, was named the winner of the 2016 Locrian Chamber Players’ Call for Scores. It will be performed at Riverside Church in New York City on June 11, 2016.  Listen to the piece here.

Mallonée’s Unless Acted Upon was featured on the New York Philharmonic CONTACT! series at National Sawdust on November 16, 2015. 

Bowling Green State University New Music Ensemble chose Mallonée’s piece for large ensemble, Reaction, as the winner in its recent Call for Scores.  It was chosen over 127 other entries and was performed in Ohio on March 3, 2016.

Mallonée’s choral piece, Search, was commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City for their Radio Radiance program. Three participating choruses  are performing the work this year in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Washington State.

Feng Hew performed Whistler Waves for Cello and Orchestra with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on November 3, 2015. 

Mallonée has been named composer-in-residence for the Buffalo Chamber Players!  They premiered a new piece on the season opener on October 1, 2015.  They will also feature her work on May 19, 2016. Click here to see a list of upcoming and recent concerts.

Tomorrow Sharpened for marimba and piano is included on Haruka Fujii’s newest CD, Ingredients, released by New Focus Recordings.  Click here for details.

“...full of inventive ideas and sonic wonders; this is an imaginative young composer from whom we hope to hear more.”

-The Washington Post