His musical works have been performed in venues from Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. He was initially interested in composing for musical theatre, and an original musical of his was staged for a week at New York's Carter Hotel Theater in 1980 while he was still a student at The High School of Music & Art, which later merged with the High School of Performing Arts as the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
He made a brief appearance in the Alan Parker-directed motion picture Fame and scored two children's operas for the Metropolitan Opera Guild's In School project. As an undergraduate at Columbia University (1981–1985), he grew more interested in minimalism, microtonality, and non-western music, and he completed a master's degree in ethnomusicology at Columbia in 1990.
In the 1990s, he returned to writing extensively for the voice, setting poems by E. E. Cummings, Margaret Atwood, William Butler Yeats, and Kenneth Patchen. In 1998 he began working with Italian painter and performance artist Lucio Pozzi on MACHUNAS, an evening-length performance oratorio based on the life of Fluxus-founder George Maciunas which they completed in 2002. In 2005, MACHUNAS was staged at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vilnius, Lithuania, and was subsequently screened in New York City and San Francisco.
In February 2008, Oteri was composer-in-residence at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, where three of his compositions were performed: The Other Side of the Window (1995), a cycle of seven Margaret Atwood poems scored for female voice, two flutes, guitar, cello, and toy piano; is 7 (2003) for solo harpsichord, performed by Trudy Chan; and Imagined Overtures (2005) for rock band in 36-tone equal temperament.
Oteri is also an active music journalist and has been the editor of NewMusicBox since its inception in 1999. Oteri has served as the MC for the ASCAP Thru The Walls showcase in New York City as well as Meet The Composer's The Works marathon in Minneapolis in 2002. From 2000 to 2010, he curated his own series, 21st Century Schizoid Music, at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.
In 2007, Oteri was the recipient of the ASCAP Victor Herbert Award for his “distinguished service to American music as composer, journalist, editor, broadcaster, impresario, and advocate” and in 2012 he additionally received an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for an article he wrote about The Beach Boys' The Smile Sessions. In 2018, he received the Composers Now Visionary Award and the Untwelve Micro-Cosmos (Mikrokosmos) Microtonal Pedagogy Award. In 2019, he was elected vice president of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). In January 2021, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Delta David Gier premiered Oteri's pandemic-themed orchestral work Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow for a limited physically-distanced live audience, due to the pandemic; it was also streamed online on the SDSO's Facebook page.
Articles and interviews
- "Frank J. Oteri Interview". AllPianoLessons. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- McManus, Drew (June 5, 2006). "An Interview with Frank J. Oteri". PartialObserver. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "Background on Frank J. Oteri [with interview]". ArtistHouseMusic. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "American Composer Timeline". VoxNovus. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- Frank J. Oteri profile Archived 2015-12-18 at the Wayback Machine, Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, Yale Office of Public Affairs & Communications, February 28, 2013.
- Drew McManus,An Interview with Frank J. Oteri, The Partial Observer, June 5, 2006.
- Robert Gable,Machunas (2005) by Frank Oteri, June 2006; accessed February 7, 2018.
- Gavin Borchert,"Frank J. Oteri A NYC composer and ‘Net pioneer visits Cornish", Seattle Weekly, February 20, 2008.
- "About NewMusicBox".
- Anne Midgette,"Faux Underwater Singing and a Sit-Down Comic at an Upright Piano", The New York Times, August 18, 2005.
- 8th Annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards, ascap.com, 2007
- 44th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards Announced, ascap.com, 2012.
- 2018 Composers Now Festival Opening Event composersnow.org, 2018
- A discussion with composer Frank J. Oteri untwelve.org, 2018
- Newly Elected ISCM ExCom - Glenda Keam is New President, iscm.org, 2019.
- South Dakota Symphony to premiere Frank J. Oteri’s work reflecting on COVID, in person and online, The Hub (published by the League of American Orchestras), 2021.