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For composer Judd Greenstein, groove is king

A man with shoulder-length hair and glasses poses for a portrait against a brick wall.
Anja Schütz
Composer Judd Greenstein.

On this week's Sound Currents, we'll hear from one of today's leading composers and industry tastemakers, Judd Greenstein.

Composer Judd Greenstein is one of America's leading contemporary classical composers, with commissions from yMusic and Roomful of Teeth to the Minnesota Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony. His writing journey, however, is influenced by New York's thriving music scene in the 80's and 90's.

"A lot of my music has consistent pulse," says Greenstein. When starting to compose, popular music from his hometown of New York City led the way: "A lot of what I was listening to was hip hop."

These roots have stuck with Greenstein, and he describes himself as a "beat-driven" composer.

"Deep in my bones as a musical creator is this idea of a grid that ideas are happening in relation to...I know that [internal pulse] is what drives me in the world."

Along with composing, he is the co-director of New Amsterdam Records, an artists' service organization and record label focused on contemporary classical and what he calls "genre-fluid music."

"[New music] is about expression and being liberated from the constraints of our society which are so many and so powerful."

Hear more from Judd Greenstein on this episode of Sound Currents.

Sascha Groschang
Laurel Parks

Judd Greenstein, composer

Green Fields of Amerikay
by Judd Greenstein
Ficino Ensemble; Michelle O'Rourke - vocals

by Judd Greenstein

A Serious Man
by Judd Greenstein
Claremont Trio

Sascha Groschang is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Laurel Parks is a host for Sound Currents on 91.9 Classical KC.
Sam Wisman is a Senior Producer for 91.9 Classical KC and a backup announcer for KCUR 89.3. Email him at
Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and afternoon host for Classical KC. You can reach her at