American composer; b. Seattle, Oct. 15, 1923. He studied composition with Hindemith at Yale Univ. (M.B., 1949; M.M., 1950), took courses in conducting with Bernstein and operatic stage direction with Goldovsky at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, and in 1948-49 attended the Univ. and Cons, in Zurich. In 1951 he joined the faculty of Washington Univ. in St. Louis, where he founded the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, directing it through 1971. In 1971-72 he was a visiting prof. at Queens Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y., and then was again on the faculty of Washington Univ. until 1989. He received an award from the American Academy and Inst. of Arts and Letters in 1977 and an opera fellowship from the NE A in 1979. Blumenfeld has concentrated his compositional efforts on vocal and dramatic music for various media.
DRAMATIC: Opera: Amphitryon Five (1962; rev. 2001); Fourscore: An Opera of Opposites, after Nestroy (1980–86); Breakfast Waltzes, after Molnar (1991; Des Moines, July 12, 1997); Seasons in Hell: A Life of Rimbaud (1992-94; Cincinnati, Feb. 8, 1996); Borgia Infami, after Klabund and Hugo (1998–99). ORCH.: Miniature Overture (1958); Illuminations: Symphonic Fragments after Rimbaud (1992; Cincinnati, April 15, 1993); Voci Luminose for 2 Violins and Orch. (Umeâ, Sweden, Nov. 8, 1996).VOCAL: 3 Scottish Poems for Chorus (n.d.); 4 Tranquil Poems for Men’s Chorus, after D.H. Lawrence (n.d.); War Lament for Chorus and Guitar, after Sassoon (1970); Eros-capes for Medium Voice and 9 Instruments (1971); Song of Innocence for Mixed Chorus, Chamber Chorus, Soloists, and Orch., after Blake (1973); Starfires for Soprano, Tenor, and Orch. (1975); Rilke for Voice and Guitar (1975); Voyages for Baritone, Viola, Guitar, and 2 Percussion, after Hart Crane (1977); Silen-tium: 9 Songs for Medium Voice and Piano, after Osip Mandel-stam (1979); Circle of the Eye, 11 songs for Medium Voice and Piano, after Tom McKeown (1979); La Voix reconnue for Soprano, Tenor, and Chamber Ensemble, after Verlaine (1980); La Face cendrée for Mezzo-soprano, Cello, and Piano, after Rimbaud (1981); Charioteer of Delphi for Baritone, Viola, and Guitar, after Merrill (1985); Carnet de damné for Mezzo-soprano and 8 Players, after Rimbaud (1987); Ange de flamme et de glace for Medium Voice, 7 Players, and Tape, after Rimbaud (1990); Mythologies for Baritone, Woman Speaker, Flute, Clarinet, 3 Cellos, and 2 Percussion, after Derek Walcott (1990); Songs of Cassis for Baritone and Piano (1995); A l’Ouest de la lune for Soprano, Tenor, Flute, Clarinet, Viola, and Cello, after Verlaine (1995); Vers Sataniques for Baritone, Soprano, and Orch., after Baudelaire (1997).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire