About

Edgar Girtain (b.1988) is an American composer of dozens of orchestral, chamber, and vocal works across multiple genres and styles. Although his music has been described as "democratic, moving, genius, and immediately captivating" by the press and colleagues, he would never make those claims himself. He prefers that you listen, and you decide. As a rule his music responds to local contexts. Though it resonates around the world, he usually creates for practical purposes, for the people around him, and for those who listen.

Edgar was born into a home where singing and making music was a habit, and throughout his youth he was continually involved in any musical ensemble around. A poor student, he began his formal musical education at Ithaca College in 2006, but dropped out after the first year. Later he enrolled at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he studied Trombone with John Rojak and composition with Charles Fussell, Tark O'Regan, and Bob Aldrige, earning a Music Education Bachelor's degree (BM) in 2012, and Music Composition Master's degree (MA) in 2015.

In his New York years Edgar made a modest living teaching part-time in public schools, and performing as a substitute church organist and trombonist in processional bands. Though his music was by that time being performed by professionals far beyond his immediate milieu, looking for better opportunities, in 2016 he took a humble but stable job teaching classroom music at a private school in the city of Puerto Montt, Chile, having previously worked in the country as a volunteer in the ministry of education.

In Chile Edgar focused on creating musical opportunities for people around him, forming his first community choirs, collaborating extensively with local musicians, and eventually being hired to Direct the Casa de las Artes at the Universidad Austral de Chile's Puerto Montt Campus. He is founder of the Foro de Compositores del Sur, and officially recognized as a distinguished artist by the city of Puerto Montt. As a founding member of the Contemporary Music Ensemble of the Region de Los Lagos, he frequently performs in regional theatres throughout Southern Chile, and his cantata "Otro Viento Cantará" was premiered in the Teatro del Lago in 2022.

His labor is currently divided between activities at the Universidad Austral and the the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where he studies with David Felder in the PhD Music Composition program on scholarship.

Edgar is married to a Chilean woman, Cristina Hoffmann Gaez, and they have two daughters together. His oldest daughter, Aurora, lives in the US.