William Bolcom

  • National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award-winner William Bolcom (born May 26, 1938) is an American composer of chamber, operatic, vocal, choral, cabaret, ragtime, and symphonic music.

    Born in Seattle, Washington, he began composition studies at the age of 11 with George Frederick McKay and John Verrall at the University of Washington while continuing piano lessons with Madame Berthe Poncy Jacobson. He later studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College while working on his Master of Arts degree, with Leland Smith at Stanford University while working on his D.M.A., and with Olivier Messiaen and Milhaud at the Paris Conservatoire, where he received the 2éme Prix de Composition.

    He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan’s School of Music in 1973, was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in 1994, and retired in 2008 after 35 years. Bolcom won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 for 12 New Etudes for Piano, and his setting of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience on the Naxos label won four Grammy Awards in 2005.

    As a pianist Bolcom has performed and recorded his own work frequently in collaboration with his wife and musical partner, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. Their primary specialties in both concerts and recordings are cabaret songs, show tunes, and American Popular Songs of the 20th century.

    As a composer, Bolcom has written four violin sonatas; nine symphonies; three operas (McTeague, A View from the Bridge and A Wedding), plus several musical theater operas; eleven string quartets; two film scores (Hester Street and Illuminata); incidental music for stage plays, including Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass; fanfares and occasional pieces; and an extensive catalogue of chamber and vocal works.

    2009 saw the premieres of First Symphony for Band in February by the University of Michigan Symphony Band in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Shakyamuni in February by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for the reopening of Alice Tully Hall; and in May, Lady Liberty by The Master Singers of Lexington [Mass.] and The Ann Arbor Vocal Arts Ensemble and Introduzione e Rondo: HAYDN GO SEEK by the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt in Eisenstadt, Austria, which was featured on Germany’s international broadcast service, Deutsche Welle.

    In February 2008 his Eighth Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by James Levine in Boston, MA and Carnegie Hall/New York. Within the same month the Guarneri and Johannes String Quartets premiered Bolcom’s Octet: Double Quartet.

    Bolcom’s setting of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, a full evening’s work for soloists, choruses, and orchestra, culminated 25 years of work on the piece. The April 8, 2004, performance in Ann Arbor, Michigan, commemorated the reopening of the recently-renovated Hill Auditorium and occurred, almost to the day, 20 years after the U.S. premiere in the same hall. The premiere at the Stuttgart Opera in 1984 was followed by performances in Ann Arbor, Chicago’s Grant Park, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, St. Louis, Carnegie Hall, La Jolla (excerpts), Minneapolis, Costa Mesa, CA, and London’s Royal Festival Hall, the latter performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and broadcast live over BBC Radio 3. The April 2004 performance with the University of Michigan School of Music orchestra, massed choirs, and professional soloists, was recorded by Naxos and won four 2005 Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Producer of the Year, Classical.

    In Spring 2007 Songs of Innocence and of Experience, with animated projections of Blake’s illuminations by Wendall Harrington and live video, was staged in Minneapolis by VocalEssence and a number of artistic partners as the highlight of Illuminating Bolcom, a two and a half-week festival of the composer’s creative genius.

    William Bolcom’s publisher is Edward B. Marks Music Company.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
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    Solo
    3 Novelty Rags(arr.) 510-00011 Piano
    12 Etudes
    For Piano
    440-40004 Piano Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    Decalage
    For Violoncello and Piano
    144-40364 9:00
    Dream Music No. 2
    for Four Players
    444-41013 10:00 Xylorimba, Vibraphone, Antique Cymbals, Cymbals, Tablas (Bongos), Tom-toms, Harpsichord, Celeste
    Octet 12255 20:00 Fl. Cl. Bsn. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb. Pno.
    Octet: Double Quartet
    for 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos
    17390 16:00 2Vln.I, 2Vln.II, 2Vla., 2Vcl.
    Orphee-Serenade 12257 20:00 Fl.(Picc.) Ob. Cl. Bsn. Hn. Pno. Str.(1 1 1 1 1)
    Piano Quintet 10117 20:43 2Vl. Vla. Vcl. Pno.
    Session I
    for Chamber Ensemble
    12264 8:00 Fl./Picc. Ob./E.H. Bsn. Tbn. Vla. Vcl. Perc.
    Sessions II
    For Violin and Viola
    144-40051 6:00 String Duet
    Session III 144-40050 9:30 Small Mixed Ensemble (2-9 Instruments)
    Session IV
    for Chamber Ensemble
    12265 8:00 Cl. Tbn. 2Vla. Vcl. Hp. Pno. 2Perc. Tape (prepared by performers)
    String Quartet No. 8
    Quatuor √Ý cordes No. 8
    12258 20:00 String Quartet
    String Quartet No. 9
    Novella
    12254 30:00
    String Quartet No. 10
    Tenth String Quartet
    12277 20:00
    Theatre of the Absurd
    A Paraphrase for Live Actor, Taped Actors, Tapes, Wind Quintet and Piano
    12278 10:00
    Three Donald Hall Songs
    (Complete)
    12280 10:30::00 Mezzo or Baritone Soloist, Fl. Cl. Hn. Vcl. and Pno.
    Three Irish Songs
    for Medium Voice, Violin, Viola, Cello and Flute
    12282 7:00
    Orchestra
    The Beggar’s Opera
    Adapted by Darius Milhaud (1937) and William Bolcom (1978)
    23406 1 1 1 1, A.Sax. – 0 1 1 0; 1Perc. Hp. Str.
    Commedia, for “Almost” 18th Century Orchestra 12017 10:00 2 2 1 2 – 2(4) 0 0 0; Timp.(ad. lib.) Pno. Str. Soli (1 1 0 1), Tutti
    Fives
    for 24 Strings, Piano
    12027 12:00 Str., Pno
    Fives
    for Solo Violin, Piano and 3 Orchestras
    12029 18:00
    Je Te Veux
    for Voice and Chamber Orchestra(arr.)
    17156 Voice; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    Inventing Flight
    A Suite for Orchestra of Thumbnail Portraits
    16301 17:00 3(dbl. 2.Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 3(dbl.Picc.) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(dbl.Cel.) Hp. Str.
    Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise
    arranged for Voice and Chamber Orchestra
    16934 4:00 Solo Voice; 2(Picc.) 1 2 1 – 2 1 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Timp. Tri. Str.
    Molto Adagio (from Sixth Symphony) 12252 6:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Ninth Symphony
    in one movement
    23404 17:30 3(Picc. dbl Fl.3) 3(E.H. dbl. Ob.3) 3(B.Cl. dbl. Eb Sop.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(3rd dbl. Flugel) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(dbl.Cel.) Str.
    Ragomania-A Classic Festival Overture
    for Orchestra
    12260 10:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Gtr.(El. or Amplified Acoustic) Pno. Hp.(ad lib.) Str.(14 14 10 9 8)
    Seattle Overture
    Seattle on a Beautiful Day
    10176 5:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2(dbl.Cbsn.) – 2 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    Seattle Slew
    (Dance Suite)
    12263 24:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3 – 4 3 3 1; Pno. Hp. Str.
    Summer Divertimento 12269 25:00 3 0 1 1 – 0 1 0 0; Perc. Pno. Hpsd. Str. (3 0 2 2 2)
    Symphony No. 1 12271 18:00 2(Picc.) 1 1 1 – 4 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    Symphony No. 2 in one movement
    “Oracles”
    12272 17:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(E-fl., dbl.E-fl Alto Sax., dbl.B.Cl) 3(Cbsn.) – 2(opt.3 & 4) 2 3 1; 3-5Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    Symphony No. 3
    (formerly titled: “Chamber Symphony”)
    12273 35:00 1 2 1 2 – 2 0 0 0; Pno./Cel./El.Pno. Str. (6 4 4 3 1)
    Symphony No. 4
    1. Soundscape2. The Rose
    12274 35:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl./B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 4 4 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str. Mezzo-sop.
    Symphony No. 5 12275 24:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl./A.Cl./B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    Seventh Symphony
    A Symphonic Concerto
    10150 25:00 Ob. Cl. Bsn. 3Tpt. Tbn. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb soli; 3(dbl. Picc.) 2(E.H.) 2(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 0 2(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    Symphony No. 8
    from “Prophetic Books” by William Blake
    21748 35:00 SATB Chorus; 4(2Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl./B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 6 4 4 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno./Cel. Hp. Str.
    Within the Quota
    Ballet Suite for Orchestra(arr.)
    13936 15:30::00 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 2 1; 2 or 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Str.
    Voice(s) and Orchestra
    Amor
    (Cabaret Song)
    17323 3:08 Solo Sop.; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1(E.H.) 1 1 – 0 1 0 0; Perc. Pno. Kbd.(Marimba sample) Str.
    At the Last Lousy Moments of Love
    (Cabaret Song)
    17324 Solo Sop.; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    Canciones de Lorca
    for Tenor and Orchestra
    17149 30:00 Solo Tenor; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl./B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno./Cel. Hp. Gtr. Str.
    December Lights
    for Children’s Chorus and Orchestra
    17415 4:00 SATB Children’s Chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc., Str.
    Eight Cabaret Songs 17148 20:00 Voice; 1(Picc.)1(E.H.)1(A.Sax./B.Cl.)1 – 1 1 1 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno./Cel. Str.
    Five Cabaret Songs
    for Voice and Chamber Orchestra
    16987 12:00 Voice; 2(dbl. Picc.) 1 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 1 1; Timp. (3 drums) 2Perc. Hp. Pno. Str.
    George
    (Cabaret Song)
    17325 3:31 Solo Sop.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Kbd.(Harp sample) Str.
    Medusa
    Monodrama for Dramatic Soprano and String Orchestra
    16933 25:00 String Orchestra
    Morning and Evening Poems 12253 8:00 Contralto, Tenor, or Countertenor Soloist and Instruments
    Open House
    for Tenor Soloist and Chamber Orchestra
    12256 35:00 Solo Ten.; 1 2 1 2 – 2 0 0 0; Perc. Kbd. Str.
    Song of Black Max 17326 3:20 Solo Sop.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 0 0 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    Songs of Innocence and of Experience
    for Soloists, Madrigal Group, Chorus and Orchestra
    12266 160:00 3 3 3 3(2Sax.) Р6 5 5 3; 6Perc. Org. El.Pno. Harmonica Cel. Hp. Gtr. El.Bass 2El.Vln. Str.Choruses: Mixed, Madrigal, Children’sSoloists: Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Boy Soprano; Country, Rock, and Folk Singers (5 Р10
    Surprise!
    (Cabaret Song)
    17327 0:42 Solo Sop.; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    The Actor
    (Cabaret Song)
    17322 1:30 Solo Sop.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    The Miracle
    Nine Madrigals after Giovanni Pascoli, for Men’s Chorus (TTB), Woodwind Quintet and Percussion
    10121 21:25 TTB Chorus; Fl./Picc. Ob/E.H. BbCl. Hn. Bsn. 2Perc.
    The New York Lights
    from the opera, “A View from the Bridge”
    13486 4:00 Ten. Solo; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Perc. Hp. Kbd. Str.
    Toothbrush Time
    (Cabaret Song)
    17328 3:19 Solo Sop.; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 0 1, A.Sax. – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    The Total Stranger in the Garden
    (Cabaret Song)
    17329 1:54 Solo Sop.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    Whitman Triptych 12289 30:00 Mezzo-sop.; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    Orchestra with Soloist(s)
    Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra 12020 20:00 Solo Cl.; 3 3 2 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 12021 28:00 Solo Pno.; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(Cor) 3 2; Timp, 4Perc. Hp. Str.
    Concerto Grosso
    for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
    10066 16:30 (c. 19: with pauses) Solo Saxophone Quartet; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 2(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra 12022 23:00 Solo Vln.; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; Timp. 2 Perc. Pno.(dbl. Cel.) Hp. Str.
    Gaea
    for 2 Pianos Left Hand and Orchestra
    11322 19:00 Concerto I for Piano Left Hand and Chamber Orchestra (Air and Water) 19′ MS 3(2Picc.) 0 3(EbCl./B.Cl.) 1(Cbsn.) – 0 3(in C) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; 2Perc. Cel. Vla.(full Section)Concerto II for Piano Left Hand and Chamber Orchestra (Fire and Earth)
    Humoresk
    for Organ and Orchestra
    12247 12:00 Solo Org.; 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    Prometheus
    for Solo Piano, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra
    23652 23:00 Solo Pno.; SATB Ch.; 3(3 dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Cel. Str.
    Romanza
    for Violin and String Orchestra
    23527 15:00 Solo Vln.; Str.
    Serenata Notturna for Oboe and String Orchestra 16985 Solo Ob.; Str.
    Spring Concertino
    for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra
    12268 10:00 Solo Ob.; 2 1(E.H.) 2 2; Hn. Hp. Str.
    Opera
    Casino Paradise
    Musical theater opera for 13 singers and 7 instrumentalists. Book and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein.
    17030 3 Reeds, 1 Brass, 2 Keyboards, 1 Percussion (Cabaret version for 3 or 4 singers and 2 keyboard players also available.)
    McTeague
    An Opera in Two Acts
    16648 150:00 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(EbCl. A-Cl. B.CL.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3(Flugelhn. Picc.) 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Sampler Str.
    A View from the Bridge
    An Opera in Two Acts
    16649 124:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Perc. Hp. Kbd. Str.
    A Wedding
    Opera in 2 Acts
    16911 full evening 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl., dbl.Picc.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp.(opt.) Str.
    Onstage Band: Ten.Sax., Ele.Kbd., Ele.Guit., Ele.Bass, Trap Set
    A Wedding
    Opera in 2 Acts (reduced orchestration version)
    23526 full evening 2(2nd dbl. Picc.) 2(2nd dbl.E.H.) 2(1st dbl.Picc.Cl., 2nd dbl. B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0 – 2Perc. Kbd. Str. Onstage Band: Ten.Sax., Ele.Kbd., Ele.Guit., Ele.Bass, Trap Set
    Wind Ensemble
    Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Wind Ensemble 23655 16:30 Solo Sop. Sax.; 6Fl.(1,2 dbl. Picc.), 2Ob., E.H., Eb Cl., 8Cl., B.Cl., 2A.Sax., Ten.Sax., Bar.Sax., 2Bsn., Cbsn. – 3Tpt., 6Hn., 3Tbn., B.Tbn., Euph., Tu.; Timp., 6Perc., Pno.(dbl. Cel.), Cb.
    Concert Suite
    for Eb Alto Saxophone and Band
    10206 14:00
    Concerto Grosso
    for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra (Arrangement for Band)
    21675 16:30 (c. 19: with pauses) Solo Saxophone Quartet; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 2(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    First Symphony for Band 17344 16:00 6Fl.(Fl.1, 2. dbl. Picc.), 3Ob., E.H., E-flat Cl.(dbl. B-flat Cl.), 8Cl., B.Cl., 3Bsn., Cbsn.(dbl. by E-flat Cb.Cl. and/or Sax. ad lib.), Sop.Sax., A.Sax., Ten.Sax., Bar.Sax. – Bb Cornet(may be played by sep. player or Tpt.1), 6Tpt. in C (1. dbl. Picc.Tp
    Five Cabaret Songs
    Arranged for Solo Voice and Winds
    21751 12:00 Solo High Vx.; 2(2 dbl. Picc.) 1 4(4=B.Cl.) 1, 1A.Sax. 1T.Sax. 1Bar.Sax. – 2 0 0 0, Euph.; Pno.(opt, dbl. Accord., Harmonica or Cel.) Cb.
    Trombone Concerto
    Transcription for Concert Band(arr.)
    23610 21:00 Solo Tbn.; 6Fl., 2Ob., E.H., Eb Cl., 6Cl., B.Cl., 2Bsn., Cbsn., S.Sax., A.Sax., T.sax., Bar.Sax. – 3Tpt., 4Hn., 2Tbn., B.Tbn., Euph., Tu.; Timp. 4perc., Hp. Pno.(dbl. Cel.), Cb.

  • Session IV
    for Chamber Ensemble

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