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David Crumb was born in 1962 into a musical family, and studied cello and piano from an early age. He received his training in composition from the Eastman School and the University of Pennsylvania. Among numerous awards, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship, and grants from Meet The Composer and the A.S.C.A.P. Foundation. Crumb has accepted commissions from the Fromm and Barlow Foundations, the National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors, the Los Angeles Symphony New Music Group, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra/A.S.C.A.P. Foundation. In 2001, his Piano Quartet was selected as a winning entry in the “Discover America V Competition for New American Chamber Works.”

Crumb’s music has been performed throughout the United States and abroad. His imaginative and dramatic compositions are richly tonal, and intensely coloristic. His orchestral music has been performed by the Baltimore Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. Chamber works have been performed by the Parnassus Ensemble, Voices of Change, The Chicago Ensemble, Network for New Music, and Quattro Mani. In 2000, a compact disc recording of Crumb’s Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble, performed by cellist Ulrich Boeckheler, with Orchestra 2001, conducted by James Freeman, was released on the CRI label.

Crumb joined the music faculty at the University of Oregon in 1997, where he continues to serve as a member of the composition department.


2001: Discover America V Competition for New American Chamber Works

2001: Fromm Music Foundation (commission)

1998: Guggenheim Fellowship

1997: MacDowell Colony Artist Residency

1997: National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors Composition Project Award (commission)

1997: Riverside Symphony International Composer Readings

1997: Yaddo Colony Artist Residency

1996: Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program

1996: Meet the Composer Fund

1995: New England Reed Trio Composition Competition, Third Prize

1993: Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program

1992: A.S.C.A.P. Foundation Young Composer Grants

1992: A.S.C.A.P./Raymond Hubbell Music Scholarship Award

1992: Los Angeles Symphony "L.A. Composers Project 2" Award

1992: Orchestra Society of Philadelphia "New Orchestral Project, Philadelphia 1992"

1991: Bowdoin Summer Music Festival Scholarship

1991: University of Pennsylvania Hilda K. Nitzshe Prize

1991: Vanguard Arts Associates Competition, Third Prize

1990-91: University of Pennsylvania Graduate Teaching Assistantship

1989: A.S.C.A.P. Foundation Young Composer Grants

1989: Aaron and Abby Schroeder Fellowship/Margaret Lee Crofts Fellowship, Tanglewood Music Festival

1988: University of Pennsylvania David Halstead Prize

1987: University of Pennsylvania Helen L. Weiss Prize


Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos | Orchestra and Large Ensemble | Piano | Vocal

Chamber Ensembles and Instrumental Solos

Awakening for Trumpet and Percussion
Available From Composer

Harmonia Mundi for Two Pianos and Two Percussion
Available From Composer

Available From Composer

Miniatures for Clarinet
Available From Composer

Movement for String Quartet
Available From Composer

Piano Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello
Available From Composer

September Elegy for Violin and Piano
Available From Composer

Sextet for Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, and Percussion
Available From Composer

Soundings for Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano
Available From Publisher (Frank E. Warren Music Service)

Orchestra and Large Ensemble

Clarino for Large Orchestra (1991, rev. 1993 & 1996) -- 16'
3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 4(E-flat Cl., A.Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Civic Orchestra of Chicago and A.S.C.A.P.
Premiere Information: Chicago Civic Orchestra; Symphony Hall, Chicago; June 12, 1991

Primordial Fantasy for Solo Piano and Large Ensemble
Available From Composer

Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble (1993) -- 21'
Solo Vcl.; 2(Picc., A.Fl.) 1(E.H.) 1(E-flat) 1 - 1 0 0 0; 2Perc. Pno. Hp. 2Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Commission Information: Los Angeles Philharmonic, with assistance from the Timothy Christopher Ware Getty Foundation
Premiere Information: Lynn Harrell, cello, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group; Japan-America Theater, Los Angeles, CA; May 17, 1993

Vestiges of a Distant Time for Small Orchestra (1996) -- 12'
2 2 2 2 - 2 2 1 1; Perc. Pno. Str.
Available from the Presser Rental Library
Premiere Information: Cumberland Valley Chamber Players; David Currie, guest conductor; Thomson Chapel, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA; April 13, 1996

Vocalise for String Orchestra
Available From Composer


Piano Sonata
Available From Composer

The Whisperer for Two Pianos
Available From Composer

Three Pieces for Piano
Available From Composer

Variation on ‘Round Midnight for Solo Piano
Available From Composer


Joyce Songs for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Cello
Available From Composer


Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble

Composers Recordings, Inc. “Chant des Rochers,” Music of our Time: Vol. 4
Ulrich Boeckheler, cello and Orchestra 2001 (James Freeman, director)


Clarino for Large Orchestra

"…attractive, accessible, imaginative, well-crafted…"

-Robert C. Marsh, Chicago Sun-Times

"[David Crumb] evinces a keen sense of the expressive uses of sound-collage and repetition. "Clarino" is visceral in its excitement."

-John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"Crumb…showed talents for imaginative and delicate textures and for putting an eloquently soft period to a piece…"

-Stephan Wigler, Baltimore Sun

Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble

"…expressive and beautiful."

-American Record Guide

"…a glowing work, sumptuous in its sound."

-Robert Carl, Fanfare

"…the major prize on the disc …how can you argue with its intoxicating range of instrumental color?"

-David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

"David Crumb's Variations…basks in a tonal language of appealing vibrancy and poetic appeal…Crumb's animated unfolding of materials has a forceful voice of its own."

-Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Orchestra 2001 picks a winner for cello… Any cellist would be glad to get his fingers on Variations, which takes about a half-hour to perform and conveys so particular and gripping a sound world one is hardly aware of time passing."

-Lesley Valdes, Philadelphia Inquirer

Page last updated September 17, 2003