Benson, Warren (Frank)
Benson, Warren (Frank)
Benson, Warren (Frank), American composer and teacher; b. Detroit, Jan. 26, 1924. He studied percussion and horn at Detroit’s Cass Technical H.S. before pursuing training in theory at the Univ. of Mich. (B.M., 1949; M.M., 1951).After teaching percussion at the Univ. of Mich. (1943) and playing timpani in the Detroit Sym. Orch. (1946), he was a Fulbright music teacher at Anatolia Coll. in Salónica, Greece (1950–52). Returning to the U.S., he was director of the band and orch. at Mars Hill (N.C.) Coll. (1952–53). He served as prof. of music and composer-in-residence at Ithaca (N.Y.) Coll. (1953–67), where he was founder-director of its percussion ensemble. From 1967 until his retirement in 1993 he was prof. of composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. From 1986 to 1988 he was also the Algur H. Meadows Distinguished Visiting prof. of Composition at Southern Methodist Univ. in Dallas. In 1981-82 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. Benson has described his output as inclusive in nature, ranging from the tonal to the atonal in a style that remains uniquely his own. In addition to his idiomatic scores for percussion and wind ensemble, he has composed song cycles of high quality. He also publ. a vol. of verse entitled “...And My Daddy Will Play the Drums” (1999).
DRAMATIC: Odysseus, dance-drama (Salónica, Greece, May 1951); Bailando, ballet (1965). ORCH.: aDelphic Serenade (1953); 5 Brief Encounters for Strings (1961); Sym. for Drums and Wind Orch. (1962); Theme and Excursions for Strings (1963); Chants and Graces for Strings, Piccolo, Harp, and Percussion (1964); Horn Concerto (1971); The Man With the Blue Guitar (1980); Beyond Winter: Sweet Aftershowers for Strings (1981); Concertino for Flute, Strings, and Percussion (1983). Band: Transylvania Fanfare, concert march (1953); Night Song (1958); Juniperus (1959); Polyphonies for Percussion (1960); Remembrance (1963); The Leaves Are Falling (1964); Ginger Marmalade (1978); Sym. No. 2, Lost Songs (1983); Dawn’s Early Light (1987); Meditation on I am for Peace (1990). WIND ENSEMBLE: Star-Edge for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (1965); Recuerdo for Oboe, English Horn, and Wind Ensemble (1965); Helix for Tuba and Wind Ensemble (1966); The Solitary Dancer (1966); The Mask of Night (1968); The Passing Bell (1974); Wings (1984); Other Rivers (1984); Danzón- memory (1991); Adagi-etto (1991); Dux Variations (1992); Divertissement (1993); The Drums of Summer (1997); Daughter of the Stars (A Reminiscence on Shenandoah) (1998). CHAMBER: Marche for Woodwind Quintet (1955); Quintet for Oboe or Soprano Saxophone and Strings (1957); Percussion Trio (1957); Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1959); 3 Pieces for Percussion Quartet (1960); Streams for 7 Percussion (1961); Wind Rose for Saxophone Quartet (1967); 2 string quartets (1969, 1985); Capriccio for Piano Quartet (1972); The Dream Net for Alto Saxophone and String Quartet (1976); Largo Tah for Bass Trombone and Marimba (1977); Winter Bittersweet for 6 Percussion (1981); Elegy for Horn and Organ (1982); Thorgard’s Song for Horn, Crotales, Chimes, Glockenspiel, and Vibraphone (1982); Fair Game for Clarinet, Trumpet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1986); The Red Lion for Vibraphone and Piano (1988); Steps for Brass Quintet (1988); many pieces for Solo Instrument. VOCAL: Psalm XXIV for Women’s Voices and String Orch. (1957); Love Is for Antiphonal Choruses (1966); Shadow Wood for Soprano and Wind Ensemble or Chamber Orch. (1969; rev. 1992); Nara for Soprano, Flute, Piano and 2 Percussion (1970); Songs of O for Chorus, Brass Quintet, and Marimba (1974); The Beaded Leaf for Bass and Wind Orch. (1974); Of Rounds for Antiphonal Choruses and Chamber Ensemble (1975); Earth, Sky, Sea for Chorus, Flute, Bass Trombone, and Marimba (1975); 5 Lyrics of Louise Bogan for Mezzo-soprano and Flute (1978); Meditation, Prayer, and Sweet Hallelujah for Antiphonal Choruses and Piano (1979); Songs for the End of the World for Mezzo-soprano, English Horn, Horn, Cello, and Marimba (1980); Moon, Rain, and Memory Jane for Soprano and 2 Cellos (1984); Dos Antífonas Lindas for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Viola (1985); Songs and Asides About Love for Baritone, Viola, and Guitar (1999); Love and the Lady for Mezzo-soprano and Cello (1999); many other vocal works.