Composer Spotlight: George Crumb

Born in Charleston, West Virginia, October 24, 1929; now living in Media, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia).

“Crumb has just about the most adventurous command of small, delicate shades of timbre of any composer around. I know of no other who has invented so many fascinating new things for singers and instrumentalists to do, or has used the older, familiar inventions . . . with such exquisite finesse.”

Thus did New Yorker critic Andrew Porter sum up his response to George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children. Porter, known as a fervid but highly discriminating champion of new music, based this opinion on repeated encounters with the work, admitting that at the first performance he was “bowled over, like just about everyone else,” but that familiarity deepened his admiration for “one of the most delicate, poetic and beautiful compositions of our day.”

The composer of Ancient Voices and Makrokosmos was born into a musical household (his father was a bandmaster) and went on to obtain his M.A. and D.M.A. at the Universities of Illinois and Michigan. He also studied composition with Boris Blacher at Tanglewood and at the Hochschule in Berlin. His first major teaching position was at the University of Colorado (1959-1965), following which he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught for more than thirty years. Crumb has won most of the prestigious awards and grants available to American composers: Fulbright, Koussevitzky, Rockefeller, Guggenheim, Grammy and National Institute of Arts and Letters among them. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for Echoes of Time and the River, and Ancient Voices of Children won him both the International Rostrum of Composers Award and the Koussevitzky International Recording Award.

The Utah Symphony will be performing George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children and Makrokosmos on March 13 as part of its New Music @ The Rose Chamber Concert Series.  David Crumb, George’s son, will attend the performance.

Ancient Voices of Children
New Music @ The Rose
Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
138 West 300 South, SLC
Thursday, March 13 @ 8:00 PM
Tickets: (801) 355-ARTS (2787)
Buy Tickets Online >>

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