American composer Scott Wollschleger has described his music as "following lightly in the footsteps of the New York School," the experimentally minded set of composers inspired by John Cage. Wollschleger has combined experiments of his own with a background of contemporary philosophy, producing accessible works that swim in new intellectual currents.
Wollschleger was born and grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. He moved to New York, where he earned a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2005. His teacher there was Nils Vigeland, a favorite student of the New York School composer Morton Feldman. After earning his degree, Wollschleger won support from prestigious New York contemporary music funders: New Music USA, BMI, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. He himself served as co-artistic director of Red Light New Music, a group promoting contemporary music.
Wollschleger's work has been informed by the writings of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Friedrich Nietzsche, and the poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht. He has coined the word "brontal" -- both adjective and noun, and a component of several work titles -- defined as "the idea that we can create art that is very basic and human by discovering the sensation of an object." The term was derived from Deleuze's ideas, and Wollschleger has collaborated with a Deleuze scholar, Corry Shores, in unique multimedia presentations. In his own words, his music explores themes of art in dystopia, the conceptualization of silence, synesthesia, and creative repetition in form. Wollschleger's compositions have been included on the album Barbary Coast by the Red Light New Music group, and influential new music critic Alex Ross has called him "a formidable, individual presence." His solo percussion work We Have Taken and Eaten was featured on the National Public Radio program Arts & Letters.
In 2017 Wollschleger released his debut album, Soft Aberration. The album's issuer, New Focus Recordings, described Wollschleger's piano trio, Brontal Symmetry, this way: "The work is comprised of a series of 'discarded scraps' from other pieces, and Wollschleger introduces them, jumpcuts to other material, and comes back, playing a kind of memory game with the listener. The music itself careens between cartoonish, macabre, and mechanical -- one could almost imagine it as the soundtrack to an avant-garde film noire."