Burton, Stephen Douglas

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Burton, Stephen Douglas

Burton, Stephen Douglas, American composer and teacher; b. Whittier, Calif., Feb. 24, 1943. He studied at the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons, of Music (1960–62), with Henze at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and at the Peabody Cons, of Music in Baltimore (M.M., 1974). In 1969 he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. After teaching at the Catholic Univ. of America in Washington, D.C. (1970–74), he joined the faculty of George Mason Univ. in Fairfax, Va., in 1974, serving as a prof, there from 1983. In 1996 he was selected as its Heritage Chair in Music, a lifetime appointment. He publ, the widely used book Orchestrtion (1982). With Gillian Anderson, during the years 1997-99, he restored the original film scores for Ben Hur (1926), The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Cecil B. deMille’s The Ten Commandments (1923), which reopened the restored Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood in 1998, and Douglas Fair- banks Sr.’s, Robin Hood (1923?). While Burton’s music draws upon the totality of modern resources, it remains faithful to the directness, energy, and spirit of the American experience.


DRAMATIC: The Nightingale and the Rose, chamber ballet (1968; also as Eurydice for Violin, Clarinet, Trombone, Piano or Celesta, and Percussion, 1977); No Trifling with Love, opera (1970); An American Triptych, 3 1-act operas: Maggie, after Crane, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, after Hawthorne, and Benito Cereño, after Melville (1974-75; Alexandria, Va., July 29, 1988); The Starchild, children’s opera (1975); The Duchess of Malfi, opera (1975-78; Vienna, Va., Aug. 18, 1978); Finisterre, dance piece (Newport, R.I., Aug. 21, 1977); The Merchant of Venice, incidental music to Shakespeare’s play (1988); Brotherhood, music theater (1991–92).orch.:Sinfonia per Roma (1963); Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orch. (1965; also as Concerto for Violin and Piano); 7 syms.: No. 1 (1967; Berlin, Jan. 31, 1968), No. 2, Ariel, for Baritone or Mezzo-soprano and Baritone and Orch., to poems by Sylvia Plath (Washington, D.C., Oct. 19, 1976), No. 3, Songs of the Tulpehocken, for Tenor and Orch. (Reading, Pa., Feb. 22, 1976), No. 4, Homage to Bach, for Organ and Orch. (1980), No. 5, Prelude (1981), No. 6, I Have a Dream, for Soprano, Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (Washington, D.C, May 17, 1987), and No. 7, The Tempest: Homage to Shakespeare (Long Island, N.Y., March 1988); Dithyramb (Washington, D.C, Oct. 10, 1972); Stravinskyiana, flute concerto (Chicago, Feb. 14, 1972; also for Flute and Piano); Variations on a Theme by Mahler for Chamber Orch. (Washington, D.C, Oct. 10, 1982); Fanfare for Peace (Washington, D.C, Sept. 1983); Pied Piper Overture (Washington, D.C, Feb. 1, 1983); Ode (1986).chamber:Notturno/Elegy for Cello (1972); Partita for Violin (1972); Burlesque for Clarinet, Piano, and String Quartet (1972); String Quartet, Quartet Fantasy (Washington, D.C, Feb. 9, 1974); Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1975); Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Piano (London, July 28, 1975); 3 Poems for Flute (1976); Fantocciata, trio sonata/collage for Flute, Oboe, and Harpsichord or Piano (1976); Divertimento for Wind Quintet (1976); Dances for Flute and Guitar (1984).vocal:Ode to a Nightingale for Soprano and Orch. (1962; Berlin, Oct. 9, 1963); Requiem Mass for 6 Soloists, Chorus, and Orch., in memory of President John F. Kennedy (1963); 6 Hebrew Melodies after George, Lord Byron for Medium Voice and String Quintet (1967; also for Medium Voice and Piano, 1973); Sérénade for Soprano, Flute, Harp, and String Quartet (1967); Los Desastres de la Guerra for Men’s Chorus, Organ, Piano, and Percussion (1971); Sechs Lieder nach Gedichten von Hermann Hesse for High Voice and Piano (Washington, D.C, May 26, 1974; also for High Voice and 13 Instruments, 1977); Requiescat for Chorus (1975); From Noon to Starry Night for Chorus and Chamber Orch. (1989); The Burning Babe, cantata for Vocal Quartet or Chamber Chorus, Recorder, Oboe d’amore, Renaissance Harpsichord, and Renaissance String Quintet (1998; N.Y., Jan. 1999).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Burton, Stephen Douglas

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