Justin Weiss, composer

Justin Weiss, headshot


Justin Weiss is a Chicago-based composer whose music engages with fragility, liminality, and their intersections with lyricism. Justin’s music has been performed by Vertixe Sonora, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the CHROMA Ensemble, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Encore Wind Ensemble, Colin Currie, Huw Watkins, and Michael Foyle. Additionally, Justin’s upcoming projects include pieces for the ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, and Sandbox Percussion Quartet. Justin has received awards and recognitions from YoungArts, ASCAP, Encore Wind Ensemble, and Tribeca New Music.

As a conductor, Justin has performed with the Oberlin Sinfonietta and Contemporary Music Ensemble, soundSCAPE Sinfonietta, and has premiered dozens of new works internationally. Justin studied conducting with Tim Weiss (Oberlin) and Sian Edwards (Royal Academy).

Additionally, Justin enjoys spreading his love of music through teaching composition and music theory. Justin taught at John Tyler Community College (Virginia), was a founding teacher of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra’s Young Composer Program, and was a mentor for the Royal Opera House’s Young Composer Mentor Project (London, UK). Justin also teaches composition and theory both in-person and online.

Justin completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a degree in Music Composition and a minor in Music Theory, where he received the 2017 Aschaffenburg Prize in Composition and studied composition with Jesse Jones, Aaron Helgeson, and Lewis Nielson. Justin received a Master’s in composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he was the recipient of the Dr. Mosco Carner Scholarship and studied with Philip Cashian and Edmund Finnis. Justin is currently a PhD Fellow in Composition at the University of Chicago where he studies with Augusta Read Thomas.

Justin Weiss' between threads and glimmers for string quartet premiered on April 9, 2022 with Quatuor Diotima. 

Program notes:

Between threads and glimmers opens with phrases of delicate, high, and melodic chords interspersed with varying durations of silence or extremely quiet held tones. Melodic lines and flickers of motion begin to emerge from this, creating a constellation of activity, density, sparseness, and stillness that flow fluidly between each other. Lines and shapes come in and out of focus, allowing for a journey of shifting energies. My heartfelt thanks to Quatuor Diotima for their dedication and artistry when working on this piece.