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Charles Wuorinen at desk

Charles Wuorinen (b. June 9, 1938 in New York City) is an American composer. Wuorinen is a prolific composer in all genres and a high profile proponent of contemporary music. In 1970, Wuorinen became the youngest composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music (for the electronic work Time's Encomium) while his many other awards include a MacArthur Fellowship.

An indication of Wuorinen's historical importance can be seen in the fact that in 1975 Igor Stravinsky's widow gave Wuorinen the composer's last sketches for use in A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky. Wuorinen was the first composer commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi (Movers and Shakers); and likewise the first to compose for Michael Tilson Thomas' New World Symphony (Bamboula Beach). Fractal geometry and the pioneering work of Benoit Mandelbrot have played a crucial role in several of his works including Bamboula Squared for orchestra and computer generated sounds and Natural Fantasy, a work for organ.

Wuorinen is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. According to The New York Times, "Charles Wuorinen has taken the decrees of 12-tone music and made them sing."

Wuorinen's most recent commission is from the Teatro Real in Madrid to compose the operatic version of Annie Proulx's short story (later Ang Lee's movie) "Brokeback Mountain"[1], though this has caused considerable speculation[2][3] and criticism[4].

Contents

Compositions

Wuorinen has written more than 250 compositions to date. His newest works include Eighth Symphony for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Scherzo a solo for Peter Serkin, Fourth Piano Sonata for Anne-Marie McDermott, Second Piano Quintet (for Peter Serkin and the Brentano Quartet), and Synaxis a sinfonia concertante for four soloists with strings and timpani. In the 2008-2009 season Serkin and the MET Orchestra under James Levine premiered Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra. Upcoming projects include an opera on Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain for Gerard Mortier and the Teatro Real in Madrid. Wuorinen’s previous opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories based on the novel of Salman Rushdie with libretto by poet James Fenton was premiered by the New York City Opera in Fall 2004[5].

His works have been recorded on nearly a dozen labels including several releases on Naxos, Albany Records (Charles Wuorinen Series), John Zorn’s Tzadik label, and a CD of piano works performed by Alan Feinberg on the German label Col Legno.

Writings and lectures

Wuorinen is the author of Simple Composition. Wuorinen describes the book as

written by a composer and ... addressed to other composers — intending or actual, amateur or professional. Thus it is similar in intent to certain older books on the subject like Thomas Morley's A Plain and Easie Introduction to Practical Musicke (1597), for instance.... It outlines present practice, and while it can be used for purely didactic purposes, it can also be employed in composing "real" music.

Wuorinen has lectured at universities throughout the United States and abroad, and has served on the faculties of Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Universities, the University of Iowa, University of California (San Diego), Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Rutgers University.

Performance and conducting

Wuorinen has also been active as a performer, a pianist and a conductor of his own works as well as other twentieth century repertoire. His orchestral appearances have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the American Composers Orchestra.

In 1962 he co-founded the Group for Contemporary Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance of new chamber music. In addition to cultivating a new generation of performers, commissioning and premiering hundreds of new works, the Group has also been a model for similar organizations which have appeared in the United States since its founding.

Influence

His works have influenced a number of other composers. Robert Black cited Wuorinen as a particular influence on his own style of composition. Black also recorded Wuorinen's New York Notes.

Selected works

  • Oros - 2009
  • Marimba Variations - 2009
  • The Haroun Pianobook - 2009
  • Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra - 2008
  • Viola Variations - 2008
  • Metagong - 2008
  • Trio for Flute, Bass Clarinet and Piano - 2008
  • Second Piano Quintet - 2008
  • Synaxis - 2007
  • Fourth Piano Sonata - 2007
  • Spin 5 for Violin and 18 Players - 2006
  • Iridule for Oboe and 6 players - 2006
  • Eighth Symphony (Theologoumena) - 2006
  • Flying to Kahani for piano and chamber orchestra - 2005
  • Theologoumenon for orchestra - 2005
  • Duo Sonata for Flute and Piano - 2004
  • Ashberyana - texts of John Ashbery - 2004
  • Fourth Piano Concerto - 2003
  • Fenton Songs II - poems of James Fenton - 2002
  • Buttons and Bows (or Superparticular Variations) - 2001
  • September 11, 2001 - text of W.H. Auden - 2001
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories - libretto by James Fenton, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie - 2001[6]
  • Fourth String Quartet - 2000
  • Cyclops 2000 for 20 Players - 2000
  • An Orbicle of Jasp - 1999
  • Brass Quintet - 1999
  • Lepton - 1998
  • Symphony Seven - 1997
  • Fenton Songs - poems of James Fenton - 1987
  • Cello Variations III - 1987
  • Schoenberg Orchestra Variations Op. 31 recast for two pianos 1996
  • The River of Light - inspired by scenes from Dante's Paradiso - 1996
  • The Great Procession - inspired by scenes from Dante's Pugatorio - 1995
  • Sonata for Guitar and Piano - 1995
  • Guitar Variations - 1994
  • Percussion Quartet - 1994
  • Piano Quintet - 1994
  • Christes Crosse (after Thomas Morley) - 1994
  • The Mission of Virgil -inspired by scenes from Dante's Inferno - 1963
  • Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra - 1993
  • Saxophone Quartet - 1992
  • Microsyphony - 1992
  • Missa Renovata - 1992
  • A Winter's Tale - text by Dylan Thomas - 1991
  • Delight of the Muses - based on works of Mozart - 1963
  • String Sextet - 1989
  • Genesis for chorus and orchestra - 1989
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano - 1988
  • Galliard for chamber orchestra - 1987
  • Five: Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra - 1987
  • Third Piano Sonata - 1986
  • The Golden Dance - 1986
  • Bamboula Beach - 1986
  • Double Solo for Horn Trio - 1985
  • Horn Trio Continued - 1985
  • Natural Fantasy - 1985
  • Trombone Trio - 1985
  • Prelude to Kullervo - 1985
  • Crossfire - 1984
  • Movers and Shakers - 1984
  • Bamboula Squared - 1984
  • Third Piano Concerto - 1983
  • Spinoff - 1983
  • Piano Trio - 1983
  • Divertimento for Alto Saxophone and Piano - 1982
  • Mass - 1982
  • New York Notes - 1982
  • Horn Trio - 1981
  • Capriccio for piano - 1981
  • Short Suite for orchestra - 1981
  • Trio for Bass Instruments - 1981
  • The Celestial Spehere, an oratorio - 1980
  • The Blue Bamboula - 1980
  • The Magic Art: An Instrumental Masque Drawn from the works of Henry Purcell - 1979
  • Percussion Duo - 1979
  • Second String Quartet - 1979
  • Fortune - 1979
  • Two-Part Symphony - 1978
  • Archaeopteryx for Bass Trombone and 10 Players - 1978
  • Archangel for Bass Trombone and String Quartet - 1977
  • Fast Fantasy - 1977
  • The Winds - 1977
  • Six Pieces for Violin and Piano - 1977
  • Second Piano Sonata - 1976
  • Percussion Symphony - 1976
  • Tashi - 1975/6
  • Cello Variations II - 1975
  • Hyperion - 1975
  • A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky - 1975
  • The W. of Babylon, a baroque burlesque in two acts - 1975
  • Cello Variations II - 1975
  • Second Piano Concerto - for Amplified Piano and Orchestra - 1974
  • Fantasia - 1974
  • Arabia Felix - 1973
  • Grand Union - 1973
  • Third Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano - 1973
  • Speculum Speculi - 1972
  • Concerto for Amplified Violin and Orchestra - 1972
  • On Alligators - 1972
  • First String Quartet - 1972
  • Violin Variations - 1972
  • Grand Bamboula - 1971
  • Chamber Concerto for Tuba with 12 Winds and 12 Drums - 1970
  • Ringing Changes - 1970
  • Cello Variations - 1970
  • A Song to the Lute in Musicke - 1970
  • Contrafactum - 1969
  • Time's Encomium - 1969
  • Nature's Concord - 1969
  • First Piano Sonata - 1969
  • The Politics of Harmony - 1967
  • Duo for Violin and Piano - 1967
  • The Bells for carillon - 1965
  • Bicinium - 1966
  • Salve Regina:John Bull - 1966
  • Harpsichord Divisions - 1966
  • First Piano Concerto - 1966
  • Janissary Music - 1966
  • Orchestral and Electronic Exchanges - 1965
  • Composition for Oboe and Piano - 1965
  • Chamber Concerto for Oboe and 10 Players - 1965
  • Composition for Violin and 10 Instruments - 1964
  • Chamber Concerto for Flute and 10 Players - 1964
  • Flute Variations I - 1963
  • Chamber Concerto for Cello and 10 Players - 1963
  • Piano Variations - 1963
  • Bearbeitungen ueber das Glogauer Liederbuch - 1962
  • Second Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano (Piece for Stefan Wolpe) - 1962
  • Duuiensela for cello and piano - 1962
  • Invention for Percussion Quintet - 1962
  • Concert for Double Bass Alone - 1961
  • Evolutio for organ - 1961
  • Evolutio Transcripta for chamber orchestra - 1961
  • Madrigale Spirituale sopra salmo secondo - 1960
  • Music for Orchestra - 1956

Notable students

Footnotes

  1. ^ Adams, Stephen (2008). Brokeback Mountain to be turned into an opera, Telegraph.co.uk.Last Updated: 11:52AM BST 10/06/2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Shoard, Catherine (2008) "Will Brokeback Mountain: the opera have us singing for joy?", guardian.co.uk Film. June 10, 2008 12:15 PM. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (2008). 'Brokeback Mountain' Rendered Even Gayer With Announcement Of New Opera, Defamer.com. Jun 9, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Katz, Ivan (2008). Bad Idea, Mr. Wuorinen [Brokeback Mountain opera], HuffingtonPost.com. Posted June 11, 2008, 12:27 PM (EST). Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  5. ^ Kerner, Leighton,Haroun and the Sea of Stories, New York City Opera, 10/31/04, Opera News January 2005 http://www.metoperafamily.org/operanews/review/review.aspx?id=528&issueID=43
  6. ^ Peter G. Davis, "Good Time Charlie". New York, 15 November 2004.

References and interviews

Burbank, Richard D., Charles Wuorinen: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press, 1994. ISBN 0-313-25399-4

External links

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File:Charles Wuorinen at desk
Charles Wuorinen at desk

Charles Wuorinen (b. June 9, 1938, in New York City) is a U.S. composer. Wuorinen is a prolific composer in all genres and a high profile proponent of contemporary music. In 1970, Wuorinen became the youngest composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music (for the electronic work Time's Encomium) while his many other awards include a MacArthur Fellowship.

An indication of Wuorinen's historical importance can be seen in the fact that in 1975 Igor Stravinsky's widow gave Wuorinen the composer's last sketches for use in A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky. Wuorinen was the first composer commissed by the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi (Movers and Shakers); and likewise the first to compose for Michael Tilson Thomas' New World Symphony (Bamboula Beach). Fractal geometry and the pioneering work of Benoit Mandelbrot have played a crucial role in several of his works including Bamboula Squared for orchestra and computer generated sounds and Natural Fantasy, a work for organ.

Wuorinen is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. According to The New York Times[citation needed], "Charles Wuorinen has taken the decrees of 12-tone music and made them sing."

Wuorinen's most recent commission is from the Teatro Real in Madrid to compose the operatic version of Annie Proulx's short story (later Ang Lee's movie) "Brokeback Mountain"[1], though this has caused considerable speculation[2][3] and criticism[4].

Contents

Compositions

Wuorinen has written more than 250 compositions to date. His newest works include Eighth Symphony for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Scherzo a solo for Peter Serkin, Fourth Piano Sonata for Anne-Marie McDermott, Second Piano Quintet (for Peter Serkin and the Brentano Quartet), and Synaxis a sinfonia concertante for four soloists with strings and timpani. In the 2008-2009 season Serkin and the MET Orchestra under James Levine premiered Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra. Upcoming projects include an opera on Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain for Gerard Mortier and the Teatro Real in Madrid. Wuorinen’s previous opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories based on the novel of Salman Rushdie with libretto by poet James Fenton was premiered by the New York City Opera in Fall 2004[5].

His works have been recorded on nearly a dozen labels including several releases on Naxos, Albany Records (Charles Wuorinen Series), John Zorn’s Tzadik label, and a CD of piano works performed by Alan Feinberg on the German label Col Legno.

Writings and lectures

Wuorinen is the author of Simple Composition. Wuorinen describes the book as

written by a composer and ... addressed to other composers — intending or actual, amateur or professional. Thus it is similar in intent to certain older books on the subject like Thomas Morley's A Plain and Easie Introduction to Practical Musicke (1597), for instance.... It outlines present practice, and while it can be used for purely didactic purposes, it can also be employed in composing "real" music.

Wuorinen has lectured at universities throughout the United States and abroad, and has served on the faculties of Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Universities, the University of Iowa, University of California (San Diego), Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Rutgers University.

Performance and conducting

Wuorinen has also been active as a performer, a pianist and a conductor of his own works as well as other 20th-century repertoire. His orchestral appearances have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the American Composers Orchestra.

In 1962 he co-founded the Group for Contemporary Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance of new chamber music.[6] In addition to cultivating a new generation of performers, commissioning and premiering hundreds of new works, the Group has also been a model for similar organizations which have appeared in the United States since its founding.

Influence

His works have influenced a number of other composers. Robert Black cited Wuorinen as a particular influence on his own style of composition. Black also recorded Wuorinen's New York Notes.

Selected works

  • Oros - 2009
  • Marimba Variations - 2009
  • The Haroun Pianobook - 2009
  • Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra - 2008
  • Viola Variations - 2008
  • Metagong - 2008
  • Trio for Flute, Bass Clarinet and Piano - 2008
  • Second Piano Quintet - 2008
  • Synaxis - 2007
  • Fourth Piano Sonata - 2007
  • Spin 5 for Violin and 18 Players - 2006
  • Iridule for Oboe and 6 players - 2006
  • Eighth Symphony (Theologoumena) - 2006
  • Flying to Kahani for piano and chamber orchestra - 2005
  • Theologoumenon for orchestra - 2005
  • Duo Sonata for Flute and Piano - 2004
  • Ashberyana - texts of John Ashbery - 2004
  • Fourth Piano Concerto - 2003
  • Fenton Songs II - poems of James Fenton - 2002
  • Buttons and Bows (or Superparticular Variations) - 2001
  • September 11, 2001 - text of W.H. Auden - 2001
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories - libretto by James Fenton, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie - 2001[7]
  • Fourth String Quartet - 2000
  • Cyclops 2000 for 20 Players - 2000
  • An Orbicle of Jasp - 1999
  • Brass Quintet - 1999
  • Lepton - 1998
  • Symphony Seven - 1997
  • Fenton Songs - poems of James Fenton - 1987
  • Cello Variations III - 1987
  • Schoenberg Orchestra Variations Op. 31 recast for two pianos 1996
  • The River of Light - inspired by scenes from Dante's Paradiso - 1996
  • The Great Procession - inspired by scenes from Dante's Pugatorio - 1995
  • Sonata for Guitar and Piano - 1995
  • Guitar Variations - 1994
  • Percussion Quartet - 1994
  • Piano Quintet - 1994
  • Christes Crosse (after Thomas Morley) - 1994
  • The Mission of Virgil -inspired by scenes from Dante's Inferno - 1963
  • Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra - 1993
  • Saxophone Quartet - 1992
  • Microsyphony - 1992
  • Missa Renovata - 1992
  • A Winter's Tale - text by Dylan Thomas - 1991
  • Delight of the Muses - based on works of Mozart - 1963
  • String Sextet - 1989
  • Genesis for chorus and orchestra - 1989
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano - 1988
  • Galliard for chamber orchestra - 1987
  • Five: Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra - 1987
  • Third Piano Sonata - 1986
  • The Golden Dance - 1986
  • Bamboula Beach - 1986
  • Double Solo for Horn Trio - 1985
  • Horn Trio Continued - 1985
  • Natural Fantasy - 1985
  • Trombone Trio - 1985
  • Prelude to Kullervo - 1985
  • Crossfire - 1984
  • Movers and Shakers - 1984
  • Bamboula Squared - 1984
  • Third Piano Concerto - 1983
  • Spinoff - 1983
  • Piano Trio - 1983
  • Divertimento for Alto Saxophone and Piano - 1982
  • Mass - 1982
  • New York Notes - 1982
  • Horn Trio - 1981
  • Capriccio for piano - 1981
  • Short Suite for orchestra - 1981
  • Trio for Bass Instruments - 1981
  • The Celestial Spehere, an oratorio - 1980
  • The Blue Bamboula - 1980
  • The Magic Art: An Instrumental Masque Drawn from the works of Henry Purcell - 1979
  • Percussion Duo - 1979
  • Second String Quartet - 1979
  • Fortune - 1979
  • Two-Part Symphony - 1978
  • Archaeopteryx for Bass Trombone and 10 Players - 1978
  • Archangel for Bass Trombone and String Quartet - 1977
  • Fast Fantasy - 1977
  • The Winds - 1977
  • Six Pieces for Violin and Piano - 1977
  • Second Piano Sonata - 1976
  • Percussion Symphony - 1976
  • Tashi - 1975/6
  • Cello Variations II - 1975
  • Hyperion - 1975
  • A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky - 1975
  • The W. of Babylon, a baroque burlesque in two acts - 1975
  • Cello Variations II - 1975
  • Second Piano Concerto - for Amplified Piano and Orchestra - 1974
  • Fantasia - 1974
  • Arabia Felix - 1973
  • Grand Union - 1973
  • Third Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano - 1973
  • Speculum Speculi - 1972
  • Concerto for Amplified Violin and Orchestra - 1972
  • On Alligators - 1972
  • First String Quartet - 1972
  • Violin Variations - 1972
  • Grand Bamboula - 1971
  • Chamber Concerto for Tuba with 12 Winds and 12 Drums - 1970
  • Ringing Changes - 1970
  • Cello Variations - 1970
  • A Song to the Lute in Musicke - 1970
  • Contrafactum - 1969
  • Time's Encomium - 1969
  • Nature's Concord - 1969
  • First Piano Sonata - 1969
  • The Politics of Harmony - 1967
  • Duo for Violin and Piano - 1967
  • The Bells for carillon - 1965
  • Bicinium - 1966
  • Salve Regina:John Bull - 1966
  • Harpsichord Divisions - 1966
  • First Piano Concerto - 1966
  • Janissary Music - 1966
  • Orchestral and Electronic Exchanges - 1965
  • Composition for Oboe and Piano - 1965
  • Chamber Concerto for Oboe and 10 Players - 1965
  • Composition for Violin and 10 Instruments - 1964
  • Chamber Concerto for Flute and 10 Players - 1964
  • Flute Variations I - 1963
  • Chamber Concerto for Cello and 10 Players - 1963
  • Piano Variations - 1963
  • Bearbeitungen ueber das Glogauer Liederbuch - 1962
  • Second Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano (Piece for Stefan Wolpe) - 1962
  • Duuiensela for cello and piano - 1962
  • Invention for Percussion Quintet - 1962
  • Concert for Double Bass Alone - 1961
  • Evolutio for organ - 1961
  • Evolutio Transcripta for chamber orchestra - 1961
  • Madrigale Spirituale sopra salmo secondo - 1960
  • Music for Orchestra - 1956

Notable students

Footnotes

  1. ^ Adams, Stephen (2008). Brokeback Mountain to be turned into an opera, Telegraph.co.uk.Last Updated: 11:52AM BST 10/06/2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Shoard, Catherine (2008) "Will Brokeback Mountain: the opera have us singing for joy?", guardian.co.uk Film. June 10, 2008 12:15 PM. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (2008). 'Brokeback Mountain' Rendered Even Gayer With Announcement Of New Opera, Defamer.com. Jun 9, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Katz, Ivan (2008). Bad Idea, Mr. Wuorinen [Brokeback Mountain opera], HuffingtonPost.com. Posted June 11, 2008, 12:27 PM (EST). Retrieved June 14, 2008.
  5. ^ Kerner, Leighton,Haroun and the Sea of Stories, New York City Opera, 10/31/04, Opera News January 2005 http://www.metoperafamily.org/operanews/review/review.aspx?id=528&issueID=43
  6. ^ Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  7. ^ Peter G. Davis, "Good Time Charlie". New York, 15 November 2004.

References and interviews

External links


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