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Albert, Stephen (Joel)

Albert, Stephen (Joel)

Albert, Stephen (Joel), distinguished American composer and teacher; b. N.Y., Feb. 6, 1941; d. in an automobile accident in Truro, Mass., Dec. 27, 1992. He studied piano, horn, and trumpet in his youth. He received training in composition from Siegmeister in Great Neck, N.Y. (1956–58), from Milhaud at the Aspen (Colo.) School of Music (summer, 1958), and from Rogers at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (1958–60). After studies with Blomdahl in Stockholm, he pursued training with Castaldo at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (B.M., 1962) and with Rochberg at the Univ. of Pa. (1963). He received 2 Rome Prizes (1965, 1966) and 2 Guggenheim fellowships (1967-68; 1978-79). In 1967-68 he held a Ford Foundation grant as composer-in-residence of the Lima, Ohio, public schools and community orch. He taught at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (1968–70), Stanford Univ. (1970–71), Smith Coll. (1974–76), Boston Univ. (1981–84), and the Juilliard School in N.Y. (1988–92). In 1985 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his 1st sym., RiverRun. From 1985 to 1988 he was composer-in-residence of the Seattle Sym. Orch., and later of the Bowdoin (Maine) Summer Music Festival (1991–92). As a composer, Albert breathed life into traditional forms; his works are marked by expert craftsmanship, intensity, passion, and lyricism.


ORCH.: Bacchae Prologue (1967); Leaves from the Golden Notebook (1970; Chicago, Dec. 2, 1971); Voices Within (Tanglewood, Aug. 14, 1975); 2 syms.: No. 1, RiverRun (1983-84; Washington, D.C., Jan. 17, 1985) and No. 2 (1992; N.Y., Nov. 10, 1994); In Concordiam for Violin and Orch. (Pittsburgh, Dec. 19, 1986; rev. 1988); Anthem and Processionals (Seattle, March 7, 1988); Cello Concerto (Baltimore, May 31, 1990); Tapioca Pudding (Baltimore, April 18, 1991); Wind Canticle for Clarinet and Orch. (Philadelphia, Oct. 17, 1991). CHAMBER: Illuminations for 2 Pianos, Brass, Harps, and Percussion (1962); Imitations (after Bartók) for String Quartet (1963); Cathedral Music/Concerto for 4 Quartets for 2 Amplified Flutes and 2 Amplified Cellos, of 2 Horns, Trumpet, and Trombone, of 2 Percussion, Amplified Harp, and Amplified Guitar, and of Electric Organ, Electric Piano, and 2 Pianos (1971–72); Tribute for Violin and Piano (Washington, D.C., Oct. 28, 1988). VOCAL: Supernatural Songs for Soprano and Orch. (1964); Wedding Songs for Soprano and Piano (1964); Bacchae Canticles for Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (Lima, Ohio, May 1968); Wolf Time for Soprano, Orch., and Amplified Instruments (1968-69; Seattle, Dec. 3, 1970); To Wake the Dead for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Harmonium, Piano, Violin, and Cello (Geneseo, N.Y., Nov. 28, 1978); Into Eclipse for Tenor and 13 Instrumentalists (1981; Washington, D.C., March 7, 1982; also for Tenor and Orch., Seattle, Sept. 8, 1986); TreeStone for Soprano, Tenor, and 12 Instrumentalists (1983-84; N.Y., Jan. 16, 1985; also for Soprano, Tenor, and Orch., N.Y., May 13, 1989); Flower of the Mountain for Soprano and Orch. (1985; N.Y., May 17, 1986); The Stone Harp for Tenor, Timpani, and Harp (N.Y., Feb. 18, 1988; withdrawn; rev. for Soprano or Tenor, Percussion, Harp, 2 Violas, and 2 Cellos, N.Y., March 7, 1989); Distant Hills for Soprano, Tenor, and 11 Instrumentalists (1989; N.Y., April 27, 1990; also for Soprano, Tenor, and Orch., N.Y., Feb. 8, 1992); Sun’s Heat for Tenor and 11 Instrumentalists (1989; N.Y., April 27, 1990; also for Tenor and Orch., N.Y., Feb. 8, 1992); Rilke Song for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (N.Y., March 7, 1991); Ecce Puer for Soprano, Oboe, Horn, and Piano (Philadelphia, April 11, 1992).


M. Humphrey, S. A. (N.Y., 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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