SUNNY KNABLE (b. 1983) is an award-winning composer, a multi-instrumental performer, an educator and an author of multiple essays and books. Some of his awards include three Best Composition Awards from the Festival of New American Music and the ANALOG ARTS Iron Composers Award, for which he wrote a four-minute piece in five hours. Knable’s music has been described as "great!" (TheWholeNote), "genius" (Anchorage Press), "entertaining" (Audiophile Audition), "witty, romantic and lilting" (TheaterScene.net), offering up "sparks of color and inventiveness" (Sacramento Bee), and possessing a "wealth of thematic invention" (feastofmusic.com). His prolific output is widely performed, including works for solos, chamber music, orchestra and opera. Dr. Knable serves as Music Director of The Church-in-the-Gardens; composer for The Garden Players, a theatrical group for children; and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens College and LaGuardia Community College. He holds a PhD in Music Composition from Stony Brook University, a Master of Arts degree in Composition from Queens College (CUNY) and a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, Piano Performance and Jazz Studies from CSU Sacramento. His discography includes his debut album "American Variations" on Centaur Records; his second composition album with bassoonist Scott Pool and pianist Natsuki Fukasawa, "Song of the Redwood Tree" on MSR Classics; and his third composition album "Keys" featuring Faythe Vollrath and Matthew Lau on Trouvère Records. His bassoon works, Song of the Redwood-Tree and The Busking Bassoonist are published by TrevCo-Varner Music. All other works are published by Trouvère Music Publishing. He is the editor of the book "Looking Within: The Music of John Palmer", and the author of "The Quarantine Chronicle of a Composer" on Vision Edition, UK. He continues to reside in Forest Hills, NY while fulfilling commissions from around the country.
California-native Sunny Knable is a multifaceted composer residing in New York City whose music has been described as “entertaining” (Audiophile Audition), “witty and romantic” (TheaterScene.net), and “displaying a fine ear for instrumental sonority and a wealth of thematic invention” (feastofmusic.com). He has won numerous awards including three “Best Composition” Awards from the Festival of New American Music, and the ANALOG ARTS Iron Composers Award, for which he wrote a four-minute piece in five hours. He holds degrees from Stony Brook University, where he obtained his PhD in Music Composition—Queens College (CUNY), where he completed a Masters of Arts in Composition—and from CSU Sacramento—where he received his Bachelors of Music in Composition, Piano Performance and Jazz Studies. Academic awards include the Ackerman Prize in Music Excellence through Stony Brook University, and the George Perle Award and Michael Feinstein Awards for Music Composition from Queens College.
As an in-demand composer, his works have been performed at multiple festivals and conventions, including at the Festival of New American Music in California, the Islander Music Festival in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Talis Festival in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Music Now Festival in Indiana, the College Music Society Conference in Pennsylvania, the SUNY New Music Symposium in Albany, NY, the International Double Reed Society Conferences in New York City, Granada, and Tampa, the National Flute Association Convention in Chicago, and the Denison Tutti Music Festival in Ohio. His works have been commissioned and performed by: Drumpetello, the “Red Violinist” Elizabeth Pitcarin, Cobalt Saxophone Quartet, bassoonist Scott Pool, flutist Carol Shansky, harpsichordist Faythe Vollrath, Miolina Duo, Unheard-of//Ensemble, pianist Natsuki Fukasawa, bassoonist Gina Cuffari, flutist Elizabeth Goode, Parhelion Trio, soprano Robin Fisher, asimmetrio, First Construction, Half Moon Theatre, pianist Richard Cionco, soprano Claudia Kitka, and tubist Julian Dixon.
Recent performances include the 2016 premiere of L’histoire du soleil, written with his wife Valentine Biollay, at the Talis Festival in Switzerland, and the 2018 performance by Musica Reginae Productions in Queens, NY. In 2017, his chamber opera, Beethoven in Love, commissioned by librettist Maxine Fisher, was performed at the National Opera Center. In 2016, Knable's Symphony No. 2 "The Great Expanse" was commissioned and premiered by the California Youth Symphony, with Leo Eylar conducting. Since its commissioning and premiere in 2012, The Brothers Knable’s opera for young audience, The Magic Fish, has been performed multiple times around the country, including at the Half Moon Theatre in Poughkeepsie, NY, Mondavi Center in Davis, CA, Turtle Bay Music School in Manhattan, and Musica Reginae Productions in Forest Hills, NY. His discography includes "Song of the Redwood-Tree" on MSR Classics featuring bassoonist Scott Pool and pianist Natsuki Fukasawa; his debut album "American Variations" on Centaur Records; “cloudServer” on Digital Recording as performed by the Verismo Trio; and “David Lincoln Burnam: Complete Piano Works” on Future Recordings. His bassoon works, Song of the Redwood Tree and The Busking Bassoonist are published by TrevCo-Varner Music. All other works are published by Trouvère Music Publishing.
As a theatre composer, he has written multiple musical theatre works for The Garden Players, a theatrical group for children, including What If? (2016), Your Turn: A Superhero Musical (2017), Switch It Off (2018,) and Magic It Up (2019), with writer/lyricist Betina Hershey. His ongoing project with his brother Jim Knable, Don’t Go Gently, starring literary figures from the Beat Generation, has been performed by the Jackson Repertory Theatre. His newest opera for children, Cow Goes to the Opera, is on the children's book by Amber Spradlin and with book/lyrics by Michael Wills. World famous artist David Ezra Stein commissioned music from Knable for Stein’s puppet show, The Interrupting Chicken, on his New York Times Bestselling children’s book
In his academic work as an educator and theorist, he has given lectures with the College Music Society in Belgium on the subject of his 36 Views of Mount Fuji, the Islander Music Festival in Corpus Christi on the subject of the current state of music composition, the Aspen Composers Conference in a lecture-recital of 36 Views of Mount Fuji, the International Thornton Wilder Conference in New Hampshire on the subject of his multiple “pocket” operas written after the short plays of Wilder, and the New Music Festival and Symposium at University of Southern Florida on the subject of Thomas Adès on his use of allusions. In 2021, his book "Quarantine Chronicles of a Composer" was published with Vision Edition, United Kingdom. The same year edited the 400-page book, "Looking Within: The Music of John Palmer", published on Vision Edition. Further, his paper on his own work 36 Views of Mount Fuji was published through Aspen Composers Conference Proceedings. In 2020, his essay was published in Perspectives of New Music on the subject of composer Daniel Weymouth’s work in (all) the time we have left. In 2017, he was subject of a DMA thesis by Kosumo Morishita which analyzed his 30-minute piano work, American Variations.
Dr. Knable serves as Music Director of The Church-in-the-Gardens, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens College and LaGuardia Community College (CUNY), while fulfilling commissions from around the country.