Bielawa, Herbert, American composer, pianist, and teacher; b. Chicago, Feb. 3, 1930. He studied music at home; from 1954 to 1956 he served in the U.S. Army in Germany, stationed in Frankfurt am Main, where he also studied conducting with Bruno Vondenhoff. He took courses in piano with Soulima Stravinsky at the Univ. of III. (B.M., 1954); then enrolled at the Univ. of Southern Calif, in Los Angeles, and took courses in composition with Dahl (1960–61), Stevens (1961–64), and Kohs (1961–63); also studied music for cinema with Rosza and Raksin. In 1966 he was appointed to the faculty of San Francisco State Univ., where, in 1967, he established the Electronic Music Studio; he retired in 1991. In his music, he makes unprejudiced use of the entire field of practical resources.
Concert Piece for Orch. (1953); Essay for String Orch. (1958); A Bird in the Bush, chamber opera (1962); Abstractions for String Orch. (1965); 4 Legends for Violins and Cellos (1967); Divergents for Orch. (1969); Fluxbands for 10 Instruments (1981); Duo for Violin and Harpsichord (1984); String Quartet (1989); 50/50 for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano (1991); keyboard pieces; choral works; songs; electronic music.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire