Bassett, Leslie (Raymond)

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Bassett, Leslie (Raymond)

Bassett, Leslie (Raymond), distinguished American composer and teacher; b. Hanford, Calif., Jan. 22, 1923. He received training in piano. He played the trombone in jazz combos, and also was a trombonist during his military service, playing in the 13th Armored Division Band. He then enrolled in Fresno (Calif.) State Coll. (B.A., 1947), and later studied composition with Finney at the Univ. of Mich. (M.M., 1949; D.M., 1956). He also took private lessons with Honegger and Boulanger in Paris in 1950. In 1952 he was appointed to the faculty of the Univ. of Mich., where he was made a prof. in 1965 and was chairman of the composition dept. (1970–85). In 1977 he became the Albert A. Stanley Distinguished Univ. prof. of Music there, retiring in 1992. He held the American Prix de Rome (1961–63), and received the National Inst. of Arts and Letters Award in 1964. In 1966 he received the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Variations for Orch. He held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1973–74 and again in 1980–81. In 1981 he became a member of the American Academy and Inst. of Arts and Letters. In 1988 he held a Rockefeller Foundation grant for study at its Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy. In his music, Bassett pursues the ideal of structural logic within the judicial limits of the modern school of composition, with some serial elements discernible in his use of thematic rhythms and motivic periodicity.


ORCH.: 5Movements (1961;Rome, July 5, 1962); Variations (Rome, July 6, 1963); Colloquy (1968; Fresno, Calif., May 23, 1969); Forces (1972; Des Moines, May 1, 1973); Echoes from an Invisible World (1974–75; Philadelphia, Feb. 27, 1976); Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orch. (1976; Midland, Mich., April 30, 1977); Concerto lirico for Trombone and Orch. (1983; Toledo, Ohio, April 6, 1984); From a Source Evolving (1985; Midland, Mich., Nov. 1, 1986); Concerto for Orchestra (1991; Detroit, Feb. 6, 1992); Thoughts That Sing, Breathe and Burn (1995; Detroit, Feb. 27, 1997); Alto Saxophone Concerto (1999; Montreal, July 5, 2000). band and wind ensembles:Designs, Images, and Textures (1964; Ithaca, N.Y., April 28, 1965); Sounds, Shapes, and Symbols (1977; Ann Arbor, March 17, 1978); Concerto grosso (1982; Ann Arbor, Feb. 4, 1983); Colors and Contours (1984; Boulder, Colo., March 1, 1985); Lullaby for Kirsten (Ann Arbor, Oct. 4, 1985); Fantasy for Clarinet and Wind Ensemble (1986; Ann Arbor, Oct. 2, 1987); Wood and Reed Transformed for Bassoon and Wind Ensemble (1998; Ann Arbor, Feb. 12, 1999). CHAMBERS string quartets (1951, 1957, 1962, 1978); Horn Sonata (1952); Trio for Viola, Clarinet, and Piano (1953); Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass (1954); Viola Sonata (1956); 5 Pieces for String Quartet (1957); Woodwind Quintet (1958); Violin Sonata (1959); Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Piano (1962); Music for Cello and Piano (1966); Nonet (1967); Music for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1968); Sextet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello, and Piano (1971); Sounds Remembered for Violin and Piano (1972); Wind Music for Wind Sextet (1975); Sextet for Flutes, Clarinets, and Strings (1979); Trio for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1980); Concerto da camera for Trumpet and Chamber Ensemble (1981); Duo Concertante for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1984); Dialogues for Oboe and Piano (1987); Brass Quintet (1988); Duo-Inventions for 2 Cellos (1988); Illuminations for Flute and Piano (1989); Arias for Clarinet and Piano (1992); Narratives for Guitar Quartet (1993); Song and Dance for Tuba and Piano (1993); Trio-Inventions for 3 Cellos (1996); Equale for 3 Trombones (1996). KEYBOARD: Piano: 6Pieces (1951); Mobile (1961); Elaborations (1966); (7) Preludes (1984); (5) Configurations (1987). Organ: Voluntaries (1958); 4 Statements (1964); Liturgies (1980). VOCAL: For GYy, Nafim, World, cantata for Chorus, Optional Children, Tenor, 4 Trombones, Organ, and Congregation (1959; Buffalo, Feb. 21, 1960); Moonrise for Women’s Voices and 10 Instruments (1960); Eclogue, Encomium, and Evocation for Women’s Voices, Piano, Harp, and 2 Percussion (1962); Prayers for Divine Service for Men’s Voices and Organ (1965); Notes in the Silence for Chorus and Piano (1966); Collect for Soprano and Tape (1969); Moon Canticle for Amplified Speaker, Soprano, Chorus, and Cello (1969); Celebration in Praise of Earth for Amplified Speaker, Chorus, and Orch. (1970; Berea, Ohio, Oct. 14, 1971); Time and Beyond for Baritone, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1973); A Ring of Emeralds for Chorus and Piano (1979); Pierrot Songs for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1988); Almighty, Eternal for Chorus and Organ (1990); Maker of Our Being for Chorus and Organ (1993); 2 Stephens Songs for Baritone and Piano (1996–98). ELECTRONIC: 3 Studies in Electronic Sound (1965); Triform (1966).


E. Johnson, L B.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire