Frank Abbinanti

(b. 1949, Chicago, Illinois).

American composer of mostly chamber, vocal and piano works that have been performed in Europe and North America; he is also active as a pianist and trombonist.

Mr. Abbinanti studied trombone privately with Frank Crisafulli in Chicago from 1964–68, on a scholarship, and studied piano at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He then studied composition and performance art with Richard Teitelbaum and piano with Frederic Rzewski at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he earned his BA and served as an assistant to both. He later studied composition with Ralph Shapey at the University of Chicago and studied composition privately with Ben Johnston in Chicago in 1984–85.

As a soloist, he has premièred many works for euphonium, piano, trombone, and tuba. In addition, he has played euphonium in the Banda Napoletana in Chicago.

He is also active in other positions. He co-founded with his wife, the flutist Ruth Abbinanti, the Modern Music Workshop at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1972. He has organised a memorial concert to Cornelius Cardew and has supervised the production of events for numerous soloists. He served as music advisor to the Italian Cultural Consulate in Chicago in the early 1990s and as assistant conductor to the Citywide Orchestra in Chicago from 1991–95. In addition, he hosted the NEMO Festival in Chicago in 1997, with Pierre Boulez as advisor and performances by Ensemble Modern. He is a member of the board of directors of the Echo Performing Arts Orchestra, a nonprofit organisation in California. He has written several articles, as well as the book Dialogues, creating music (2005, Frog Peak Music).

He taught as a seminar lecturer at the University of Chicago from 1998–2004. He has also lectured throughout the USA, as well as in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.

His primary publisher is Frog Peak Music.


E-mail address:

E-mail address for consulting scores:

SELECT LIST OF WORKS (dates unavailable for most works)


American Labor Studies, Volumes 1–2, large orchestra, 1990–2006 (version of work for piano)

After Iraq, 2006

estratega a contrapecho del hombre (concerto), cello, orchestra


power clown, French horn, bass trombone, cello, double bass, piano, percussion, 1999

LURE, cello, piano, 2004

gentle beast, double bass, 2004

what remains for us, alto flute, 2 flutes, bass flute, 2007

things cant be dis baad, flute, 2007

The Odour of Soap, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, 2007

Aria, alto saxophone, 2009

SULA, tenor saxophone, 2009

Marais Street, baritone saxophone, 2009

Abakan, bass trombone/tuba

au jour d'aujourd'hui, flute

Aurora, tuba

Belfast, string quartet

Braunbären mit Tubas kommen, bass trombone

Das Brot aber ist verschimmelt, tuba

Cane Trash, 2 violins (also versions for violin, viola, cello; string quartet)

Cantos de sirena (Mermaid Song No. 2), bassoon

Cerco de Púas, bassoon

Ceux qui m'aiment, clarinet

Chiapas, string quartet

Cola de lagartija, tuba

dukatele, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, piano

East Timor, string quartet

Easter Egg Hunt, English horn, bassoon, contrabassoon

euskal, violin, viola, cello

Fallender Engel/fallender Kopf, flute

The Flourishing of the Black Roosters, string quartet

Forged, trumpet

framed, bass guitar

Goat, viola

he had a disagreeable euphonium, that he played, euphonium

Heike, violin

hinaus'schleichen – hinaus'schauen, marimba

Ice Carver, violin, viola, double bass, percussion

Kabul, tuba

Kater Moor, alto trombone

Kobiety, koty i dzieci, oboe

lass mich ein wenig zu Atem, flute

Lebanon, string quartet

The Lizard's Tail, E-flat clarinet

Lobet die Kälte die Finsternis und das, 2 trumpets

Lobet die Nacht und die Finsternis die euch umfangen, 2 trumpets

Lost Indian Tribes, 2 double basses

La Luciérnaga, bassoon

Mein Wagon rollet langsam, tuba

Mermaid Song, flute (also version for trombone)

Mermaid Song No. 5, tuba

mon voir et mon savoir, trombone

Near the Chiapas, flute (also version for marimba)

Nous avons du renvoyer le tromboniste, trombone

A Plot against Humanity's Heart, E-flat clarinet

pravda, violin, cello, piano (version of work for piano; also version for 4 saxophones, piano)

Rectangle for Palestine, trombone

the resurrection of Mona the Whore, harp

roadkill, 2 baritone saxophones

scombridæ, tuba

La Serpiente de oro, tuba

Slats, bass trombone

Soweto, string quartet (version of work for piano)

Stigmata, oboe

Sult, Hunger in Hungarian, or after the Fall of Stalinism, tuba

Three Pieces for Keith Rowe, any player

Der traurige Stein, tuba

Trzepaki, marimba

Ungeheure Verbindung, contrabassoon


cantata immigrant, 14 female voices, small orchestra, 1989


Four Songs (texts by Margaretta D'Arcy, Alfonsina Storni, Elsa Morante, Simone de Beauvoir), soprano, orchestra, 1986

come una forza di luce (texts by Dante Alighieri, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giacomo Leopardi), soprano, alto, tenor, bass, large orchestra, 1992

Industrial Romance (text by George Wong), female voice, large orchestra, 1998–2000

femmes de la revolución, alto, bass, 2 bassoons, harp, cimbalom, 2 violas, 2 cellos, 2 double basses, prepared piano, accordion, 2 percussion

Five Pieces for Carol Genetti, female voice


Angola, in this day n'age, 2004

reels, 2004

one leg dancing, 2004

queen mary South Africa, day out, 2004

squatter's camp KTC, 2004

Duktahole Township, Germiston, East Rand, 2004

cause/untitled Rwanda, 2004

studie/Darfur, 2004

LURE Zimbabwe, 2004

starfield/sierra leone, prepared piano, 2004

sudan/untitled, prepared piano, 2004

HOOD Mozambique to S. Machel, prepared piano, 2004

Les Nuits, 2005

Die Freiheit nach Mao, 2006

The Odour of Soap, 2 pianos, 2007

yellow fever, 2008

Deep South, 2005–09

American Labor Studies, Volumes 1–2 (also version for large orchestra)

black market gardening

Cane Trash No. 2

Cowgirl Blues

Donde está mi hermano

The Euskal Triad

The First Appearance of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms into Cuba

Frohe Neue Zeit es Lebe der Kapitalismus

La Guerre du Golfe n'a pas eu lieu

Jenin, 2 pianos

Karl Marx schlaft?

Maquiladoras Sonata

mort subite

Old Codes, New Chaos

paraphrase, 'deng'

pravda (also versions for violin, cello, piano; 4 saxophones, piano)

Rogue State Sonata

Soweto (also version for string quartet)

Tu voto no vale – Salvadoran rebels in Jucuapa April 1, 1984


Vertical Tone Pig


Greenham Common, female voice, flute, cello, piano, fixed media, slide projections, 2002

GLUT 2003, female voice, flute, double bass/bass guitar, piano, fixed media, film, 2003