Composer/pianist Bevan Manson has received commissions from Sierra Chamber Music, French hornist Brian O'Connor, the San Francisco Symphony, First Night Boston, Chatter in Albuquerque, Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra violist Victoria Miskolczy. His Blue Bird, Blue Jay, for chorus and chamber orchestra (on texts by Emily Dickinson) was commissioned and presented by the Pacific Shores Philharmonic Foundation in 2016.
Midnight Winds and the Occidental Woodwind Quintet have premiered and performed his woodwind quintet Switchbacko, respectively. Raphael's Music Notes (Cincinnati) had this to say of a recent recording of this quintet: "Manson’s writing is brilliant, inventive, witty but never self-consciously clever." Arco Voce featured his Piano Quartet on their concert series at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., to critical acclaim. The Washington Post called Bevan's Piano Quartet "powerfully polyrhythmic."
Bevan's California Concertino for Flute and Chamber Orchestra was premiered in NYC by Katherine Fink of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and also performed by L.A. Chamber Orchestra flutist David Shostac with the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony. Regarding a recent recording with Sara Andon and the Hollywood Studio Symphony, Fanfare Magazine commented that it “spins out a lovely melodic line…it is clear American pastoralism at its best.”
Bevan is a founding member of the international composers collective Improvisatory Minds, which presents concerts of classical chamber music informed by a jazz perspective. Music of Bevan Manson, a recording of his recent chamber music, including the flute concertino, works for solo clarinet, piano quartet, and string trio, was recently released on Albany Records.
Jazz Improv Magazine described his CD, Mystic Mainstream, as “radical recasts of standards that demand your attention." He has arranged and conducted music for saxophonist Gary Smulyan at NYC's Blue Note, and is currently creating new jazz versions of several Sondheim songs for Manhattan Transfer vocalist Cheryl Bentyne. He has recorded on the Challenge, Iris, Brownstone, and GM labels.
Bevan has performed with George Garzone, Cecil McBee, Darol Anger, Gunther Schuller, Bob Sheppard, Matt Wilson, Howard McGhee, Suzanne Pittson, Ron Jones L.A. Big Band, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Matt Glazer, Ethel Merman, and Bob Moses. He has also worked in Hollywood as a studio musician, and on camera in film and television. Bevan was a winner of the American Jazz Piano Award in Jacksonville, FL.
Bevan is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He was the Director of UC Jazz at UC Berkeley from 1998 to 2003, and formerly taught at New England Conservatory in Boston, from 1987 to 1997. He is currently serving as Instructor in Jazz Studies at Ventura College, leading their Jazz Band and coaching music students in composition and improvisation.