Luke Cissell writes and records music in a bold American idiom
that is by turns emotionally direct, intensely melodic, and formally sophisticated, developed out of his roots as a young musician immersed in classical violin repertoire and the Appalachian mountain music of his native bluegrass. His output includes three albums
of original music, a chamber opera, a feature length lm score, two numbered string quartets, a piano trio, and assorted works for solo and mixed ensemble.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Cissell began playing music at a young age—he was a bluegrass ddling champion at the age of eight and performed Mozart’s third violin concerto on his rst honors recital soon thereafter. He earned a degree in history from Princeton University before establishing himself as a professional musician and composer in New York City, cutting his teeth as a session musician for a wide variety of artists from Ingrid Michaelson to Philip Glass while performing at many of the city’s most well-known venues including Radio City Music Hall, CBGB, The Knitting Factory, The Bitter End, The Living Room, Zebulon, Rockwood Music Hall, and John Zorn’s The Stone.
Cissell is a 2014-15 Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program. He teaches composition and chamber music at the Calhoun School and is currently at work on a violin concerto and a fourth studio album, Backwoods.