William Bolcom, composer
Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America, and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. He was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Twelve New Etudes for piano.
Premieres in 2012: Second Piano Quintet by the Pro Arte Quartet and pianist Christopher Taylor in Madison, Wis.; Chestnuts [4 songs] by Emalie Savoy, soprano, Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, Dimitri Pittas, tenor, Joshua Hopkins, baritone, and Warren Jones, piano in Carnegie Hall/New York; Gettysburg, July 1, 1853 by Nathan Wyatt, baritone and Lucas Wong, piano in Los Angeles, CA; Ninth Symphony by Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra [Rice University], Larry Rachleff, conductor in Houston, TX; and The Jersey Side by soprano Christine Brewer and pianist Roger Vignoles in wigmore Hall/London.
In September 2006 Bolcom's Canciones de Lorca with tenor Placido Domingo, the Pacific Symphony, and conductor Carl St. Clair, was premiered at the gala opening concert of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA.
Bolcom taught composition at the University of Michigan from 1973-2008. Named a full professor in 1983, he was Chairman of the Composition Department from 1998 to 2003 and was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in the fall of 1994. He retired from teaching in 2008.
In addition to their performances, Bolcom and Morris have recorded over two dozen albums together. Their first one, After the Ball, garnered a Grammy nomination for Joan Morris. Recent recordings include: two albums of songs by lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg and Gus Kahn on Original Cast Records; Bolcom’s complete Cabaret Songs, written with lyricist Arnold Weinstein, on Centaur; and Someone Talked! Memories of World War Ii with tenor Robert White and narrator Hazen Schumacher.
Recent recordings of his works include: From the Diary of Sally Hemings, written with playwright Sandra Seaton, performed by soprano Alyson Cambridge and pianist Lydia Brown, and available on White Pine Records; Little Suite of Four Dances and Concert-Piece with clarinetist Maureen Hurd and available on MSR Recordings. For more information, consult RECORDINGS.
Photo credit: Katryn Conlin