A concert of new music by my students from Juilliard

I’m super proud that students from my composition studio in The Juilliard School‘s Evening Division are mounting a group concert of their work this Friday, March 24.  I got to hear rehearsals yesterday and am very impressed and excited about what they’ve created. These are intense and inspired musicians from a variety of very serious disciplines coming to Juilliard to explore pen-and-paper composition and techniques of the classical tradition more deeply. What they’re producing is fresh and exciting. And the musicians they are working with are A-MA-ZING! (see the whole lineup below) And I’m honored that they’ve invited me to put one of my pieces on their program   This Friday, March 24th at the Historic Shepherd-Faith Church in Manhattan, a space renowned for its gorgeous acoustics.

For E-Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/student-composers-concert-intro-to-comp-presents-new-music-from-night-school-tickets-32336068050?aff=eiosprexshreclip&ref=eiosprexshreclip


#composagram: BOATS AT SUNRISE

BOATS AT SUNRISE (click to listen) (Can you see the second boat?) with #sybarite5 and #benjaminvharwood #composagram #juilliard #droneoftheday #stringquintet #experimentalmusic #experimentalfilm #juilliardeveningdivision #instaclassical #composition #composer #newmusic #music #videogames #newyork #nyc #strings #hudsonriver #northernmanhattan #thecloisters @sybarite5 @louisbass @thenewfoundyorker @laurametcalf @sarahwhitneyistall @samimerdinian @droneoftheday @newmusicusa @franksalomonassociates @concertartists @icareifyoulisten @mannycomposer @aaronberkson @sybarite5

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#composagram: TUGGING

TUGGING, (Click to listen) #composagram with @sybarite5 and remix of Benjamin V. Harwood #droneoftheday #stringquintet #experimentalmusic #experimentalfilm #juilliardeveningdivision #instaclassical #composition #composer #newmusic #music #video #sybarite5 #newyork #nyc #strings #hudsonriver #northernmanhattan #thecloisters @sybarite5 @louisbass @thenewfoundyorker @laurametcalf @sarahwhitneyistall @samimerdinian @droneoftheday @newmusicusa @franksalomonassociates @concertartists @icareifyoulisten

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#composagram: ARCH

ARCH, 15-second #composagram #raylustig #juilliard #droneoftheday #stringquintet #experimentalmusic #experimentalfilm #juilliardeveningdivision #instaclassical #composition #composer #newmusic #music #video #sybarite5 #newyork #nyc #strings #hudsonriver #northernmanhattan #thecloisters @sybarite5 @louisbass @thenewfoundyorker @laurametcalf @sarahwhitneyistall @samimerdinian @droneoftheday @newmusicusa @franksalomonassociates @concertartists @icareifyoulisten @mannycomposer @aaronberkson

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#composagram: MAMMOTH

My latest #composagram MAMMOTH, and the first in a series of collaborative 15-second compositions with Sybarite5, including several by students of mine in the Juilliard Evening Division. #newmusic #juilliard #juilliardeveningdivision #nyc #composer #music #video #newyork #instaclassical #contemporarymusic @sybarite5 @juilliardschool @louisbass @thenewfoundyorker @laurametcalf @sarahwhitneyistall @samimerdinian @q2music @newmusicusa @icareifyoulisten

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Maybe you know someone who is musical and wants to start studying composition but doesn’t know how to being.  Or maybe you are that someone.  Do you know about the Juilliard Evening Division?  It’s Juilliard’s extension school that offers open auditions to adult students of all backgrounds.  I teach INTRO TO COMPOSITION, where my students get to learn and practice technical concepts within the context of creative projects, and your pieces get read by amazing Juilliard musicians.  Now that’s how to learn to compose! It’s not expensive either, so don’t be shy.  It can’t hurt to audition.
MORE INFO on the Juilliard website


Pop-up summer residency for Semmelweis Project

The last few weeks I’ve been very fortunate to have my mysterious and ellusive writer collaborator friend Matthew Doherty drop in from Saudi Arabia, where he’s based these days.  Fueled by 6 pounds of dizzyingly superb coffee he brought from his recent travels in Ethiopa, we worked intensely every day on our Semmelweis project.  For the first time ever we were able to work side by side, actually choosing notes and words, rethinking, changing, etc. together in real time (instead of just passing things back and forth by email, or struggling to hear one another on Skype).  Our do-it-yourself summer residency in my studio expanded when my amazing friends soprano Charlotte Mundy and bass-baritone Matthew Curran came by to record some of what we were writing for them.  Having all this creative power in my tiny studio at once was, unfortunately sweltering on a hot summer day, but fortunately incredibly helpful in shaping out the new sound we are crafting for this project.   We also had time to sit down with some directors, designers, producers, and friends of the project.  Exciting.  Stay tuned.

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We did it! Successful RocketHub campaign for LATENCY CANONS recording project

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We did it!  We reached our goal for this first round of funding for the Latency Canons Recording Project!  A huge thank you to all of you who contributed*, emailed friends, posted, tweeted, shared, liked, pinned, spoke well of around the water cooler, or otherwise encouraged us in this very special project.  

We have a ways to go yet to get to the final recording, but this is a terrific start that will really help push the ball forward.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Thank you!

* A hearty thank you to all our RocketHub contributors:

Alice Lustig, Robert N. Downey, Conrad Cummings, Thomas Campbell Jackson and Penny Jackson, Jim O’Brien, Peter Flint, Bryan Hurley and Kerry Grennan, Euginia Paik, Steve Paik, Hooman Mehran, Jim Crystal, Douglas Hepworth, Regina Lustig, Mary E Todd, Bill and Donna Marshall, Ana Berlin, Bill Brown, John Hamilton, Douglas Gibson, Nader Naeymi-Rad, Roy Niederhoffer, Fabio Bertagnolli, Ranjit Prasad, Heidi Jerome, Joshua Komyerov, Audrey Jakab, Mitsuyo Kurihara, David Corsini, Delia Berlin, James Sutton, Brian Meece, Dennis and Anne McGivney, Michael P. Clancy, Melissa Dusenberry, Patricia Calvo, Cheryl Chalmers, Samuel Buggeln, Clifford Hart, Carlynn Houghton and Simon Pratt, Elliot Cole, Ross Jeffcoat, Steven Blier, Matt Gray, Larry Siegel, Josh Ollswang, Catherine Chalmers, Eleanor Taylor, Gregory Gerard, Danielle Steinmann, Larry Lebow, Jayce and Tiffany Bartok, Andy Akiho, Sanae Nakayama, Aleksei Stevens, Lee Streby, MC Harford, Brian Shank, Eric Kuzmuk, Brad Balliett, Kathleen Minogue, Clayton Zeller-Townson, Judy L Gurzynski-Jones, Elena Kowalsky, Richard Gurzynski, Austin Bramwell, Conrad Winslow, John W Lustig, Clarice Assad, Aleem Hossain, Thomas Flippin
Interview with RocketHub for LATENCY CANONS

We’re in the final 20 hours of our LATENCY CANONS Recording Project, and LATENCY CANONS is so extra-specially exciting that RocketHub contacted me for an interview about it, which you can read here.  Find out why everyone is so excited about this project, and why the New York Times finds this piece “…entrancing…surreally beautiful…ecstatic…rapturous.”  And it’s still not too late to become a part of it by contributing or by helping spread the word about LATENCY CANONS.  This is a really big project and we need all the help we can get.  Thank you!

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And please LIKE our Facebook page for this project!



China debut!

This week marks my debut in China.  Duo Noire is going on their debut tour in China and taking along my FIGMENTS.  I wish I were able to go along too!

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Rockethub campaign for LATENCY CANONS recording project

This is my biggest project yet, and I need your help!  It’s a gleaming, gorgeous studio recording we plan to make of my “trans-Atlantic” piece LATENCY CANONS, working with New York’s super-talented Metropolis Ensemble (Grammy-nominated and Juno-award-winning), quartet Senza Misura, and 4-time Grammy-winning producer Tim Martyn. It’s going to be stunning and transcendent!

I would so love to have you be a part of it in any way you can. And here’s a relatively easy way, helping raise a big chunk of the funds through our Rockethub crowdsourcing campaign. Please consider donating whatever you can, and/or passing it along to those you think might be interested.

Foot on the Ground, a house concert

Here’s a photo from the house concert I put together, entitle Foot on the Ground, at the home of friends Thomas Campbell Jackson and Penny Jackson.  Superb musicians William Bender, Mariella HaubsSiwoo Kim, Rachel KudoCharlotte MundyJocelin Pan, and Mina Um.  Great to work with artists who are not only incredibly skilled but also up for experimentation in format, and even game to take on one new arrangement that was literally written that very morning over breakfast, with my 4yo daughter helping me make the parts. Phew!

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WFMT Radio Highlights UNSTUCK for orchestra

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Streaming all this week on WFMT radio Ohio, you can hear me introduce and talk about my Nissim Prize-winning orchestra composition UNSTUCK, written in response to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 and my grandparents’ long battle with progressive dementia. Emily Freeman Brown​ conducts the Bowling Green Philharmonia in an Albany Records recording. Also hear Steven Bryant​’s intense Loose Id, and Avner Dorman’s stunning Variations Without a Theme.

Another nice review for my arrangement of MARKHEIM

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From TheaterScene.net, on my arrangement of Carlisle Floyd’s MARKHEIM”

“…Floyd’s original orchestration for Markheim is colorful and fluent, with lots of percussion, and arranger Raymond J. Lustig has managed to keep a lot of that. During the performance, I heard a woodblock but saw the percussionist was otherwise engaged. Where was it coming from? Eventually I realized it had cleverly been given to the second viola (though she did look like she’d rather be fiddling)...”

Read more


Nice review for my arrangement of Carlisle Floyd’s gothic thriller MARKHEIM

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I’m so pleased to see how well this went, especially for an opening night review.  This was an incredibly challenging project for me, arranging this massive and complex score for a chamber orchestra of a mere 15 instruments, while protecting the imposing hugeness of the sound and the rich palette of sonic colors, all while making sure the balances work between and among the chamber orchestra and the singers. The whole terrific team came together to create a very powerful show.  Congratulations to Carlisle Floyd and all at LOTNY!

The orchestra, under the quick, exact conducting of Richard Cordova, at times suffered from a lack of consensus over entrances and rhythms. But the chamber arrangement by Raymond J. Lustig was far more successful. Even with Milner’s powerhouse voice, the musical size and texture never felt underdone.”   –  New York Classical Review

See more

Grand Rapids Symphony premieres SUSPENSION

Saturday Oct 4 at 8pm, Inspired by Art, a program of new orchestral works drawing on art and architecture, including the premiere of my latest work SUSPENSION, which is inspired by majestic and mighty bridges of my native New York City.

Growing up in Queens, my psyche formed around New York’s many grand bridges, these mysterious goliaths that are at once splendid yet gritty, mighty yet rust-eaten, silent yet thundering, terrifying yet comforting. Each bridge has its own distinct character, and together they form the skeleton of my dreamscape version of New York, the beautifully dreary, grainy, mysterious, centuries-old nest of so much mobile humanity. Now, from my apartment in northern Manhattan I look out every day over the George Washington Bridge that spans the Hudson River, and I’ve grown to see these architectural marvels—with their miraculous distribution of weight, their mesmerizing lines, and their juxtaposition to their surrounding context—as some of the greatest works of art in my emerald city.

Great review for FIGMENTS

From the new-music blog I CARE IF YOU LISTEN:

“a unique and entrancing album that exists at the unusual intersection of minimalism and impressive classical guitar technique.”

“The impressive technique displayed by Duo Noire is perfectly suited to Lustig’s delicious compositions, and you wouldn’t regret getting a hold of this; if you like acoustic guitar, bluegrass, minimalism, blues—or music at all—you’ll definitely enjoy this excellently produced and mastered album.”


I Care if you Listen, graphic

I Care if you Listen, graphicAnd you can pick up a copy, or digital files, here:

Raymond J. Lustig: Figments
Great time in Seattle

Huge thanks to Mary Mackenzie, Joshua Roman, Karen Kim, David Kaplan, Bill Kalinkos, and Daria Binkowski for a transcendent premiere of my latest piece BEAUTY SPREAD UNEARTHLY WHITE, for Pierrot ensemble with soprano.  It was a thrill to work with this all-star team of musicians, and an honor to share the bill with composers Joshua Roman, Amir Shpilman, Wang Jie, and good old Arnold Schoenberg for an evening of wildly diverse responses to Schoenberg’s avant garde landmark work Pierrot Lunaire.  A huge thanks goes to Seattle Town Hall and their Town Music series, for their adventurous spirit and warm support.

The program was the brainchild of cellist/composer Joshua Roman.  Each of us composers was commissioned to compose a new work that somehow reflected their relationship still-to-this-day radical Pierrot Lunaire.  We knew nothing of each others’ plans and each worked on our own, and it was very neat to see how differently we all responded.  Joshua’s piece sprung from Pierrot’s text and supplanted Schoenberg’s 20th-century infatuation with the Moon with a 21st-century eye to Mars.  Amir’s piece took Pierrot’s extended vocal technique and precision to a stunning 21st-century extreme.  Wang Jie’s piece picked up on the 20th-century sensuality of Pierrot and unleashed it with a very 21st-century vividness in a mini song cycle of her own.  My piece picked up on Schoenberg’s renowned fascination with numbers; its subtitle THREE TO THE SEVENTH is in reference to Schoenberg’s subtitle for Pierrot, Three times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud’s “Pierrot lunaire.”  In my piece, every note emerges from a single three-note cell that is replicated on seven different timescales.  

I really like this kind of programming, the kind that shows how differently we all can see the very same thing.  That is what art does for us, helps us appreciate the differences in our perception.



The whole gang, L to R, Bill Kalinkos, Karen Kim, me, Joshua Roman, Mary Mackenzie, Amir Shpilman, David Kaplan, and Wang Jie.



Composer Amir Shpilman and I getting all over beautiful Seattle.




Quick beer stop.



Post-concert with (L toR) composer Amir Shpilman, the intrepid soprano Mary Mackenzie, and me.





Composers Wang Jie, me, and Amir Shpilman having Alaskan Salmon for lunch at Pike Place Market, Seattle



This week: premiere of BEAUTY SPREAD UNEARTHLY WHITE, Town Hall Seattle

I’m in Seattle this week for the premiere of my recent work BEAUTY SPREAD UNEARTHLY WHITE, commissioned by Town Hall Seattle, for “Pierrot ensemble,” with soprano Mary Mackenzie, cellist Joshua Roman, flutist Daria Binkowski, clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, violinist (doubling viola) Karen Kim, and pianist David Kaplan.  Program includes works by Amir Shpilman, Wang Jie, and Town Music Artistic Director Joshua Roman.

The text for Beauty Spread Unearthly White comes from Walter de la Mare’s poem “Winter,” with its solitary depiction of a fleeting moment of near-perfect light, as day changes to night in a snow-blown landscape.  In response to the cold white perfection, I wanted to give over to my obsessiveness about order and clarity, to compose a piece where every note needed to be related to the greater structure in a very direct way, and to subjugate all musical elements to this single idea.  Like fractal patterns or crystal structures, a single three-note motive is replicated on seven timescales simultaneously; the overall structure therefore exhibits the same relationships as those in the piece’s shortest note values, and everything in between.  My desire in submitting to this rigid process was to mirror the hypnotic clarity and simplicity of de la Mare’s transcendent image.


FIGMENTS commercial release!

My debut solo recording is now out!  At last, all six FIGMENTS for two guitars are available on a gorgeous new EP recording with the extraordinary DUO NOIRE, recorded with master engineer Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, NY, and with a spectacular package design by John Walter Lustig  I am so proud of this recording, honored to have worked with all these gifted artists in putting it all together, and grateful to all my friends, family, and colleagues who have supported and encouraged this project.  Thank you!

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You can hear clips and buy here:

Raymond J. Lustig: Figments

I’m so happy to learn that my brother John Lustig‘s brilliant short film Eye in Tuna Care just won the Animation category at the Très Court International Film Festival in Paris.  Congratulations to John and everyone who worked on the film, including violist Stephanie Block, who played my music hauntingly.  As a surprise they flew in one of the film’s stars, the eyeball man, to present him with the award (um, they had someone come onstage in an eyeball man costume).

For those not in Paris, it’s also screening at the IFC Center in New York on Monday, May 5 at 8pm, and in other cities worldwide, as part of the same festival.

Check out the trailer here (and LIKE IT ON FACEBOOK)

Eye in Tuna Care – trailer from john walter lustig on Vimeo.

Travel report: Barcelona and Montserrat

Just back from a trip to Barcelona with my family, where we went for much-needed R&R and inspiration (and the exquisite nourishment Barcelona is famous for). We were most excited to see all the Guadí works, and didn’t get nearly to all of them. The monumental cathedral of Sagrada Familia is mind-blowing, and I didn’t even bother taking pictures because they could do no justice, but here is a place where you can find plenty of pictures that also do no justice to the astounding amazingness of Sagrada Familia.

I did snap some pictures in the fantastic museum in the basement, that detailed what excited me most, the geometry behind the strange shapes:

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We also spent time in the amazing Park Guelle.  A mystical place.  I mean, look at this.

I did grab a few entirely insufficient shots of Gaudi’s amazing Casa Batlló:

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Totally tourists, at the Park Guell:



Our home away from home in Barcelona.  Upstairs from Joanet, where lunch is both homey and to die for at the same time:



The mysticism of Barcelona has a lot to do with its natural setting. Franciscan monks were drawn to the unearthly mountain landscapes surrounding the city to build Montserrat and other monasteries.  And the whole region is swarming with pilgrims who hike and climb in these strange and mysterious mountains.IMG_9303


Here’s a video that shows a bit of the background on my LATENCY CANONS, but at 2:20 gives a preview of my experiments with composers Paul Haas and Paul Fowler on a new collaborative work we’re planning that will unite concerts in different places into one evening-length event.

Triple House Concert!

So the other night we made a triple house concert: three different ensembles in three different living rooms, playing together on a Google Hangout. Riffing on my transatlantic orchestra piece Latency Canons (which premiered last April with American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Gildas Quartet and conductor Dane Lam in Manchester, UK), this time I had two co-conspirators, composers Paul Haas (NY, NY) and Paul Fowler (Boulder, CO), and each had his own house concert going on. All three living rooms came together as one performance space. And yes, there’s delay on those lines, a gorgeous swirl of delays as the music comes rolling in from afar.

My daughter’s bedroom was graced by four incredibly gifted musicians: Mariella Haubs (vln), Mina Um (vln), Jameel Martin (vla), and Ken Kubota (vc). In Boulder, CO were composer Paul Fowler and vocalists Rose Fuller (soprano), Tara Uren (alto), Tom Morgan (tenor), and Brian du Fresne (bass). Elsewhere in Manhattan were composer Paul Haas, Josh Henderson (viola), Chern Hwei Fung (viola), Sam Quiggins (cello), and Amanda Lo (violin).

Here’s a test of music by J.S. Bach/Paul Haas, plus music by me at 1:11.  Watch how impossible it is to stay together, and how fun that is!  (S0rry about the wacky sound quality!)

Now from the audience point of view, here’s a clip of one of my pieces:

And here’s a clip of one of Paul Haas’s pieces:

Boys’ Ambition at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

Huge appreciation for Nick PhanNathan ColeAkiko TarumotoPriscilla Lee, and Burchard Tang for bringing my new work Boys’ Ambition to life so beautifully last night at the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. Congratulations to Alessio Bax and all for a scintillating concert of Ravel, Schubert, and me.  And congratulations to Charlie Stone, Richard Young, and all the festival’s team for the success. And most of all, a huge thanks to all those awesome Kentuckians who shared their own powerful river stories with me afterwards. I am so moved and inspired.

Read Rich Copley’s blog post on last night’s concert.

Kentucky Carbon Horse

Kentucky, cycling

I’m going to have a long list of some serious thank-yous to give to so many wonderful, kind, spirited, and generous souls down here. One of whom is James Brown. No, not that one, another one, the Lexington cycling guru at Crankworks, who has outfitted me for the week with the best bicycle I’ve ever mounted, a two-wheeled rocket, so that I might better enjoy more of the broad beautiful horse country of Kentucky. I started with a sunrise ride through the Delong area yesterday. I popped a flat about a mile from home and my ride turned into a jog, but a lovely one. Very glad that nail was not sitting on the ground 10 miles away. Now we’re repaired, outfitted with a patch kit, and ready for tomorrow’s Kentucky inspiration.

It saves my life to have a bike to ride, as this is donut country. If you’re going to have donuts, have them here, because they’re incomparable.


As well as lots of festival fine dining.


And of course the finest bourbon in all of the universe.

The local sandwich here is the “hot brown.” It’s turkey, bacon, fried green tomatoes, and greens, served open-face on rye, with mornay sauce. So tasty. It’s a Kentucky thing that you have to try.

More from the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

If you ever have the chance to meet Charlie Stone of Lexington Kentucky, jump at it! He is not the mayor of Lexington, but he may as well be. He’s the founding director of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, and a magical man whom everyone, EVERYONE, here seems to love like family. And he’s created this amazing chamber music festival that seems to turn all of central Kentucky (and beyond) on its head. He and the festival’s founding violinist Nathan Cole have brought together this dizzyingly talented group of musicians–pianist Alessio Bax, violinist Akiko Tarumoto, violist Burchard Tang, cellist Priscilla Lee, this year’s guest artist tenor Nicholas Phan, and guest ensemble Windsync–plus a power team of other talented creative and organizational types, to make it all come together. It’s like this two-week city-wide party. This is no small city and I went into a downtown cafe yesterday–A Cup of Common Wealth (great cafe!)– and got talking with the two baristas, and it turns out they not only know of the festival but they already have their tickets. This town is chamber-music-mad!

Some highlights I’m really looking forward to (beyond the premiere of my own piece Boys’ Ambition) include: Schubert’s Schwanengesang with Nick Phan and Alessio Bax; the Ravel string quartet with Nathan Cole, Akiko Tarumoto, Burchard Tang, and Priscilla Lee; the Shostakovitch cello Sonata with Alessio and Priscilla; and some wild Wieniawski violin with Nathan and Alessio.  Not to play favorites with the piece though.  This is just what I’ve been hearing in rehearsals and it’s all sounding sublime already.

Chamber Music Festival of Lexington


I’m in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky all this week as Composer in Residence for this amazing festival of chamber music. One of the things I love about people who love chamber music is that they more often than not love really good food, great coffee, great art, and especially here in Lexington, the very finest bourbon on the planet earth. And here these wonderful chamber music lovers of life also have an unhealthy obsession with horses, which is pretty neat for a New York City boy to behold. The Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, the gorgeous main concert hall for the festival, is probably better known here as a place where horses are shown for auction. There is literally-no-joking a ring of hay around the stage for performers who get the munchies. Festival cellist Pricilla Lee was kind enough to supplement that with a ring of croissants (incredibly delicious ones) for us non-horse occupants of the stage. It is truly trippy and wonderful.  Both the horses and the musicians relish the great acoustics of the space.

One of the festival’s patrons, and host of the festival’s opening patrons’ party, is renowned artist Andre Pater, whose work is heavily inspired by animals, but in particular, horses and horse culture.  Unbeknownst to this New York City composer, Andre is a legend in the horse-minded world, his works selling for huge piles of green.  Horse lovers, and horses themselves, faint when he walks in the room.  Also, he’s Polish, and I’m starting to put it together that horses are tightly interlinked with the spirit of Poland and Poles, ie. the ill-equipped Polish army went on horseback against Nazi tanks, a terribly tragic suicide mission, with such a poignant majesty to it.  It was really special to be out there on Andre’s horse ranch in the Kentucky hills and see his gorgeous works in his beautiful home.



I happened upon this while composing my new work centered around the Mississippi River. A powerful and beautiful 1937 documentary on the river’s history and importance. My new piece, Boys’ Ambition, comes from a different vantage, based upon a short story by Mark Twain, but I love Virgil Thomson’s score for the documentary.

Just back from Paris where I got to hang out with my wonderful wife and daughter, to feast all the senses like you do in Paris, and to catch up with some friends, including nuevo-tango luminary Eduardo Makaroff of GOTAN Project, and his beautiful family, and brilliant Paris-native composer Jules Matton, and to make new friends including Jules’s novelist mother Slyvie Matton, and violinist Rachel Koblyakov.
I always find it really funny when the guidebooks, and many Parisians, try to make you think that no one in Paris wakes before 10am, when they go to the cafe, to eat a pastry, read the paper, maybe find out what’s going on with the Tour de France, and then later go to the Louvre, before rounding out the day at the cafe again.  Who are we supposed to believe baked the pastry, opened the cafe, printed and delivered the newspaper, trained for the grueling Tour de France, and built the Louvre?  I went in search during a spontaneous dawn run to the Arc de Triomph.
Honestly, Paris was pretty dead at that hour.   When do all these wonders take place?   My god it must be hard to live in Paris and keep up the pretense that your life is an easy breeze.  Now it’s back to NYC and down to work on a new commission for the amazing tenor Nicholas Phan and the ensemble of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, where I’m excited to be Composer in Residence later this summer.  Looking forward to exploring horse country and, of course, Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.
Rave reviews for LATENCY CANONS in The New York Times and Slate

The New York Times

“The greater the risk, of course, the greater the chance the experiment will fail. But computers, Internet connections and live musicians cooperated splendidly for the premiere of Raymond J. Lustig’s entrancing “Latency Canons” on Friday evening at Zankel Hall.”

“A surreally beautiful, contrapuntal soundscape unfolded against a video backdrop of live, blurry images of the musicians. Harmonies overlapped during the stately opening. A brass line underpinned the gentle cacophony of spiraling, ecstatic string fragments that ended the work on a rapturous note.”

Read the full review at nytimes.com




“The most inspired experiment, in its marriage of concept and music, was Raymond J. Lustig’s Latency Canons, which took its musical problem from an unlikely source: The inherent glitchiness of Google Hangouts.”

“…hauntingly beautiful”

“The overall result was arresting—who could have guessed that such a complex and striking piece of music might have come from such a simple idea? What’s more, the fact that this music was being created by musicians in different parts of the world, their collaboration only enhanced by the imperfections of technology, was genuinely moving. The canon effect worked perfectly, and other unexpected “problems,” like the occasional occurrence of static and feedback, added to the piece’s appeal. Perhaps the most affecting and fitting moment was when the Google Hangout asked us, about three quarters of the way through the performance, ‘Are you still there?’ We were indeed—rapturously.

“Lustig managed to balance chance and control, experimentation and execution. The music fulfilled the promise of his idea, producing a glitchy, gorgeous success.”

Read the full review at Slate.com


Great review in the New York Times for LATENCY CANONS


A very nice “Yay!” for the premiere of LATENCY CANONS.  Congratulations to American Composers Orchestra (NY), conductors George Manahan (NY) and Dane Lam (UK), Gildas Quartet (UK), and tech director Willie Fastenow of Park Boulevard Productions.  This was a devilishly tricky piece that all these people and ensembles took a big chance on.  And special thanks go to Gregory David Evans and Alisa Herrington, who stepped in at the last minute and used their talents to save the day!





Rehearsals for my new trans-Atlantic work LATENCY CANONS are shaping up, with its premiere this Friday at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.  American Composers Orchestra and conductor George Manahan in various places in New York, conductor Dane Lam and the Gildas Quartet in Manchester, UK, all playing together in beautiful latency.  It’s an experimental new work that makes use of basic web conferencing software (Google Hangouts) to make music together.  It’s brilliant technology, but everyone who’s tried it for music knows there’s delays, freezes, instability, and a kind of weird sound.  But in LATENCY CANONS, those “weaknesses” are what will make the piece interesting and beautiful.

More info and tickets here:


Welcome to my new website.  Here you can learn more about my music and upcoming performances.  I’m currently at work on a new piece for American Composers Orchestra (LATENCY CANONS), for premiere at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall on April 5th.  I’m also working on an exciting opera/musical drama based on the tragic life of a visionary nineteenth-century doctor (SEMMELWEIS), in development with American Opera Projects.  I’m preparing the release of my first full-length CD (FIGMENTS for two guitars), with Duo Noire; working on a mystery project called RADIOBOUND (I can tell you no more than that it’s a collaboration with four gifted composer friends); scoring a short animated film by my brother John Lustig; and teaching new courses at Juilliard in composition and music theory.

I’m incredibly lucky to exist within a circle of amazingly talented and creative musicians and artists in New York and beyond, whose work I’m very enthusiastic about and inspired by, so you may also find some information here to point you in other beautiful and compelling directions.

I used to be a scientist (once a scientist, always a scientist, no?) and I continue to be inspired by the natural world, the healing arts, and the amazing people whose lives are there focused (including my surgeon wife, my many medical friends, my scientist comrades, the greats of history, etc.)

Special thanks to Lee Streby of A440 Arts Group and Kenneth Musante of 9dsgn.com for making this site possible.