Scott Pender (b. 1959) has called the phonograph his first music teacher. He cites his parents’ “extensive, eclectic record collection” as a primary early influence. As a child, he began making up tunes at the piano and taught himself to read music. Formal study in piano and theory as a teenager led to his enrollment at Peabody Conservatory, where he began composition studies with Jean Ivey. He holds degrees in philosophy from Georgetown University and music composition from Peabody Conservatory.
He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study in the United Kingdom with the English composer Gavin Bryars. In addition to a MacDowell Colony residency and the Fulbright Fellowship, he has received honors and grants from the Virginia Arts Festival John Duffy Composers Institute, the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the American Music Center, ASCAP, BMI, Meet the Composer, the Southeastern Composers’ League, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, and others.
Pender has written a wide variety of music, including work for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensemble (acoustic and electronic), solo voice, piano, organ, and music for theater, stage, and dance. He is the composer of theme music for the C-SPAN series First Ladies: Influence & Image. His work has been performed throughout the United States and Europe to critical acclaim: “a good ear for melody and a keen sense for the dramatic” (the Washington Post); “natural expression, remarkable emotional range and flawless compositional technique” (the Columbia Flier); and “original, contemporary music of considerable grandeur and mystery” (the Washington Times). Recent recordings include 88+12, a full album of chamber music from Navona Records (NV5968), and Foothills for string orchestra & piano from Petworth Music (PM1401). His sextet In the Time Before was released in 2012 on the Navona Records album Lock & Key.
Commissions include: Foothills (North Georgia Chamber Symphony), Songs from Terezín (Annapolis Brass Quintet & Morgan State University), Music for Oedipus the King (Avalanche Theater Company), Solemn Overture (Annapolis Symphony Orchestra), Toccatina for four flutes (Powell Quartet), Vespers (the Jesuit Music Project), and TANGO: Ms. Jackson Dances for the World (Yvar Mikhashoff). Scott Pender’s music is published by Petworth Music (BMI).
A native of Florida, he has made Washington, D.C. his home for more than 35 years.