Blank, Allan, American composer and teacher; b. N.Y., Dec. 27, 1925. He studied at the H.S. of Music and Art in N.Y.; subsequently at the Juilliard School of Music (1945–47), Washington Square Coll. (B.A., 1948), the Univ. of Minn. (M.A., 1950), and the Univ. of Iowa. He was a violinist in the Pittsburgh Sym. Orch. (1950–52). After teaching instrumental music in N.Y. high schools (1956–65), he taught at Western III. Univ. in Macomb (1966–68), Paterson (N.J.) State Coll. (1968–70), Lehman Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (1970–77), and Va. Commonwealth Univ. in Richmond (1978–96). He was also conductor (1984) and music director (1986–89) of the Richmond Community Orch. In his works, Blank strives for lyrical and dramatic expressivity complemented by clarity of line and richness of content.
DRAMATIC: Aria da capo, chamber opera (1958–60); The Magic Bonbons, opera (1980–83); The Noise, opera (1985–86); incidental music to Othello (1983) and Measure for Measure (1984). ORCH.: Concert Piece for Band (1960–63); Music for Orch. (1964–67); Some Thank-You Notes for Jazz Band (1970); 6 Miniatures and a Fantasia (1972); 6 Significant Landscapes for Chamber Orch. (1972–74); Divertimento for Tuba and Band (1979); Kreutzer March for Band (1981); Concertino for Bassoon and Strings (1984); Concertino for Strings (1987); Overture for a Happy Occasion (1987); Concerto for Clarinet and Strings (1990); Concerto for Contrabass and Strings (1995); Violin Concerto (1995); Statements and Interactions for Horn and Strings (1995); Music for Small Orch. (1995); Saxophone Concerto (1999). CHAMBER: 5 string quartets (1958, 1981, 1989, 1998, 1998); Wind Quintet (1968–70); Bicinium I to VII for Various Instruments (1974–93); Trio for Trumpet, Horn, and Trombone (1975); An American Medley for Brass Quintet, Flute, and Percussion (1976); Paganini Caprices for 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, and Tuba (1976); Music for Tubas (1977); 4 Inventions for Bassoon and Piano (1979); Fantasy on Cantillation Motives for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1983); Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano (1983); 2 Studies for Brass Quintet (1984); Concertino for 5 Players (1984–86); Polymorphics for Double Wind Quintet (1988); Nocturne for Bassoon and Harp (1988); Sonata for Solo Violin (1990); Divertimento for Woodwind Quintet (1991); 3 Windgrams for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1991); Introduction and 3 Episodes for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1991); Around the Turkish Lady for Alto Saxophone (1991); 4 Studies for Contrabass (1992); 3 Bouquets for Bassoon and Contrabass (1992); The 3 Graces for 3 Flutes (1992); A Twosome Frolic for Violin and Cello (1993); Elegy for Violin and Organ (1993); 5 Pieces for Clarinet (1993); Dualisms for Violin and Organ (1994); 2 Pieces for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1996); Trio for Flute, Bassoon, and Piano (1997); Trio for Flute, Violin, and Harpsichord (1997); 3 Duos for 2 Flutes (1998); Duos for 2 Bassoons (1999). Piano: Rotation (.1959-60); Restatement of Romance (1973); Sonata (1992). VOCAL: Esther’s Monologue, cantata for Soprano, Oboe, Viola, and Cello (1970); Lines from Proverbs for Chorus (1973); Coalitions for Soprano and 6 Instrumentalists (1975); 2 Holy Sonnets by John Donne for Alto, Oboe, English Horn, Viola, and Harp (1977); American Folio for Chorus, Piano, and/or Optional Instruments (1979); Some Funnies and Poems for Narrator and Piano (1982); Lines by Horace for Chorus (1989); Peace Cantata for Chorus and Orch. or Piano (1989); Friday Evening Service for Soloist, Chorus, Organ, Flute, and Cello (1990); A Shout of Praise for Chorus (1993); The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls for Chorus and Piano (1994); Poems from the Holocaust for Soprano, Contrabass, and Piano (1996); A Noiseless Patient Spider for Bass-baritone and Piano (1999).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire