Behrens, Jack

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Behrens, Jack

Behrens, Jack, American composer and teacher; b. Lancaster, Pa., March 25, 1935. He was a student of Bergsma, Persichetti, and Mennin at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (B.S., 1958; M.S., 1959), and then of Kirchner and Sessions at Harvard Univ. (Ph.D., 1973); he also studied with Milhaud at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School (summer 1962) and with Wolpe and Cage in Saskatchewan (summers 1964-65). From 1962 to 1966 he taught at the Univ. of Saskatchewan, where he was head of the theory dept. at its cons. He taught at Simon Fraser Univ. (1966–70) and at Calif. State Coll. in Bakersfield (1970–76). In 1976 he became a member of the faculty of music at the Univ. of Western Ontario, where he was chairman of the theory and composition dept. until 1980; he then served as dean of the faculty (1980–86). Behrens’s music is in a sophisticated modern idiom, with judicious use of both serial and aleatorie procedures.


DRAMATIC: Opera: TheLayofThtym (Regina, Saskatchewan, April 13, 1968). ORCH.: Trumpet Concerto (1955); Introspection for Strings (1956); Declaration (1964); The Sound of Milo (1970); Triple Concerto for Clarinet, Violin, Piano, and Orch. (1971); Fantasy on Francis Hopkinson’s My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free for Small Orch. (1976); New Beginnings (1976); A Greeting (1977); Fantasia on a Fragment for Fortepiano and Chamber Orch. (1984); Landmarks (1991). CHAMBER: Quarter-Tone Quartet for Strings (1960); Green Centre for Winds (1964; rev. 1990); Serenades for Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, and Cello (1969); Happy Birthday John Cage I and II for Solo Instruments (1972); Clarinet Quintet (1974); Bass Variants for Double Bass (1977); Dialogue for Cello and Piano (1980); String Quartet, In Nomine (1980); Fiona’s Flute for Flute and Piano (1982); Well-tempered Duo for Cello and Fortepiano (1984); Reflections for Viola and Clarinet (1990); Reverberations for Trumpet (1990). Piano: Passacaglia (1964; rev. 1976); Taos Portraits (1976); Music for 2 Pianos (1979); Aspects for 3 Pianos (1983). VOCAL: Early Song for Tenor or Baritone, Flute, Oboe, Horn, Violin, and Viola (1965); Looking Back for Soprano, Flute, and Piano (1979); A Fable—For the Whaling Fleets for Narrator, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1985; rev. 1990); I Have Mislaid Something and The Death of the Loch Ness Monster for Baritone, Flute, and Piano (1985); many choral pieces.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire