Archive for the “Deaths” Category

umamlok-simonpauly

I’m sad to learn of the passing of Ursula Mamlok, a persuasive composer of elegant post-tonal works. Like Ralph Shapey and Stefan Wolpe, her compositions referred to serialism while also retaining pitch centricity as a unifying principle.One can hear a particularly compelling example, her Concerto for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra, below.

I met Ms. Mamlok twice, once at a concert and once at a grad school audition at MSM. I was struck by her keen intellect and insightful comments.

 

Comments Comments Off on Ursula Mamlok (1923-2016)

Photo: David Rose

Peter Maxwell Davies

English composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies died on Monday, March 14th 2016. At the age of 81, Davies passed away in his Orkney home. The cause of death was leukemia. In 2004, Davies was appointed Master of the Queen’s Music.

Farewell to Stromness is one of Davies most popular works for solo piano. The piece is a piano interlude from his work The Yellow Cake Revue, a work he created for the campaign against the proposed uranium mine on the Oakley Isles.

In this recording of his Symphony No. 7, Davies displays his skills as both composer and conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Comments Comments Off on RIP Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

stucky_steven_hoebermann948-284

Eminent composer, college professor, and Lutoslawski scholar Steven Stucky has died, aged 66. The cause was brain cancer. Below, listen to one of his beguiling works, the Notturno movement from Serenade for Wind Quintet.

Comments Comments Off on RIP Steven Stucky

Pierre Boulez, one of the great composers and conductors of our time, has passed away.

Comments Comments Off on RIP Pierre Boulez

The extraordinary pianist and composer Paul Bley, has passed away. 

Comments Comments Off on RIP Paul Bley

Saddening news. Gunther Schuller has died at the age of 89. A musical polymath, Schuller was active as a composer, conductor, arranger, historian, educator, arts administrator and, earlier in his career, French horn player. He pioneered the concept of “Third Stream” music: works that combine influences and materials from jazz and classical music.

In Schuller’s honor, today I’m listening to a Boston Modern Orchestra Project recording of his pieces for jazz quartet and orchestra. Given all of the attempts over the years to synthesize jazz and classical, it is amazing how fresh these pieces remain, how effortlessly Schuller (and BMOP) move from one style to another, and how seamlessly they blend the two.

I was looking forward to this summer’s tribute to Schuller at the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood. Now this concert, with Magical Trumpets, a new work by Schuller, as well as his formidable Concerto da Camera, will serve as an elegy in memory of an extraordinary man of extraordinary talents.

Comments Comments Off on RIP Gunther Schuller (1925-2015)

lou_reed_286

“One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

– Lou Reed

Much of my music passes the above “into jazz” marker. That said, Lou Reed taught me a great deal about productivity, creativity, and the maxim that “sometimes, less is more.”

Sad tonight for Laurie Anderson, and for us, who are deprived of more “more with less.”

Comments Comments Off on RIP Lou Reed (1942-2013)


Earlier today, Kyle Gann reported on his blog that composer, educator, and writer William Duckworth has succumbed to pancreatic cancer. He was 69. Tom Huizenga has more over at NPR Classical.

I’ve long been an admirer of Bill’s music and writings. After a colleague mentioned his illness to me, I corresponded with him a few months ago, letting him know how helpful his book Talking Music was to my students and mentioning a former student we both had in common (Ashi Day). Bill was very gracious. I’m pleased to have told him before his passing about the great value of his work to young musicians, composers in particular.


One of the ways I’ll commemorate Duckworth’s life is by spending time with two of his best works; the first, the aforementioned book, Talking Music, a collection of interviews with composers that sets the bar high for such volumes. The other, Andy Lee’s recording of Time Curve Preludes (available via Irritable Hedgehog).

Comments Comments Off on RIP William Duckworth (1943-2012)




Today would have been Lukas Foss’s ninetieth birthday, and I’m remembering him fondly. Linked here is a piece I wrote for NewMusicBox, commemorating him after his passing in 2009.
Thanks to Frank J. Oteri for digging it out of their online archives.

Comments Comments Off on Lukas …

We’re saddened to learn of the passing of composer Nathan Brock. Nathan was on faculty at University of San Diego and did post-doctoral research at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Jay Batzner has known Nathan since they did their undergraduate studies together. He shares a remembrance on his blog.

Here’s a link to one of Nathan’s recent pieces, “Cenotaph,” a flute and cello duo.

Comments 2 Comments »