Through more than 100 published works and many recordings, Bernard Rands is well-established as a major figure in contemporary music. His work Canti del Sole, premièred by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and his large orchestral suites Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. His many commissions have come from the Suntory concert hall in Tokyo; the New York Philharmonic; Carnegie Hall; the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the Cincinnati Symphony; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the BBC Symphony Orchestra; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Internationale Bach Akademie; and the Eastman Wind Ensemble, among others. Rands served as composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1989 to 1995, and his works are widely performed and frequently commercially recorded. His work Canti d'Amor, recorded by Chanticleer, won a Grammy Award in 2000. Rands has been honored by the American Academy and Institute of the Arts and Letters; Broadcast Music, Inc.; the Guggenheim Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; Meet the Composer; and the Barlow, Fromm and Koussevitsky Foundations, among many others. In 2004, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Letters. A dedicated and passionate teacher, Rands has been composer-in-residence at the Aspen and Tanglewood festivals and was Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music at Harvard University.
Rands served as a Center music panelist in 2010 and, that same year, he participated in a composer symposium at the Center with Bright Sheng. Rands and Sheng shared recordings and insights into their compositional processes and influences, including their studies around the world and in the United States. They also addressed the business of composition: commissioning, publishing, recording, and more.