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Chihara, Paul (Seiko)

Chihara, Paul (Seiko)

Chihara, Paul (Seiko), American composer, arranger, and teacher; b. Seattle, July 9, 1938. As an American of Japanese descent, he was relocated with his family to Minadkoka, Idaho, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He received piano lessons as a child, and then studied English literature at the Univ. of Wash. (B.A., 1960) and at Cornell Univ. (M.A., 1961; D.M.A., 1965), where he also received instruction in composition from Robert Palmer. He also studied composition with Boulanger in Paris (1962–63), Pepping in Berlin (1965–66), and Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summer 1966). From 1966 to 1974 he taught at the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles. After serving as the Andrew W. Mellon Prof, at the Calif. Inst. of Technology (1975), he taught at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts (1976). He was the first composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Chamber Orch. under Neville Marriner (1971–74), and also composer-in-residence of the San Francisco Ballet (1979–87). In 1963 he won the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award. Chihara returned to the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles in 1998, becoming a prof, in 2000. In 2000 he directed the light projections for perf. with the Milwaukee Sym. Orch. under Andreas Delfs of Scriabin’s Prometheus. Chihara has explored serial techniques, occasionally adopting aleatory procedures. An oriental influence is heard in a number of his scores, and in his choral works he follows the time-honored polyphonic methods of the Renaissance. In addition to his many concert scores and works for film and television, he has also worked on Broadway, arranging music for Sophisticated Ladies (1980) and composing music for James Clavell’s SHOGUN, the Musical (1990).


DRAMATIC: Ballet: Shinju (Lovers Suicide; 1975); Mistletoe Bride (1978); The Infernal Machine (1978–80; rev. as the musical Oedipus Rag); The Tempest (1980).orch.: 2 viola concertos (1963, 2000); Forest Music (1968; Los Angeles, May 2, 1971); Windsong for Cello and Orch. (1971); Grass for Double Bass and Orch. (1971; Oberlin, Ohio, April 14, 1972); Ceremony III for Flute and Orch. (1973), IV (1973), and V, Symphony in Celebration (1973–75; Houston, Sept. 8, 1975); Guitar Concerto (1974); Concerto for Saxophone and Orch. (1978; Boston, Jan. 30, 1981); Sym. No. 2, Birds of Sorrow (1979; Los Angeles, March 10, 1982); Aubade for Chamber Orch. (1989); Concerto for String Quartet and Orch., Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (1997–2000; Salt Lake City, March 15, 2001); Love Music, concerto for Violin, Clarinet, and Orch. (2000).chamber:Logs for Double Bass (1966); Branches for 2 Bassoons and Percussion (1966); Driftwood for String Quartet (1967); Redwood for Viola and Percussion (1967); Willow, Willow for Bass Flute, Tuba, and Percussion (1968); Logos XVI for Amplified String Bass and Tape (1970); Ceremony I for Oboe, 2 Cellos, Double Bass, and Percussion (1971) and 77 for Amplified Flute, Amplified Flute, 2 Amplified Cellos, and Percussion (1972); Elegy for Piano Trio (1974); The Beauty of the Rose is in its Passing for Bassoon, 2 Horns, Harp, and Percussion (1976); 2 string quartets: No. 1, Primavera (1977) and No. 2, Sequoia, with Tape (1980); Sinfonia Concertante for 9 Instruments (1980); Ellington Fantasy for String Quartet (1981); G. Schirmer, piano trio (1982); String Trio (1984); Shogun Trio for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1987); Forever Escher for Double Quartet (String Quartet and Saxophone Quartet) (1995; Chautauqua, July 15, 1999); Mambo Cane (“A Dog’s Mambo”) for Concert Wind Ensemble (1996); Minidoka for Viola, Clarinet, Harp, Percussion, and Tape (N.Y., Nov. 20, 1996); Viola Sonata, De Profundis (1998; also as a Clarinet Sonata and as a Soprano Saxophone Sonata). vocal:Magnificat for 6 Women’s Voices (1965); Psalm XC for Chorus (1965); Nocturne for 24 Solo Voices (1966); Ave MariaScarborough Fair for 6 Men’s Voices (1971); A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal for Chorus (1972); Lie Lightly Gentle Earth for Chorus (1973); Missa Carmi-num (“Folk Song Mass”) for 8 Voices (1975); Midoka (Reveries of..) for Chorus, Percussion, and Tape (San Francisco, Nov. 14, 1998); Under the Greenwood Tree for Chorus, after Shakespeare and Marlowe (1999); Siren Songs for Soprano, Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, after Jack Larson and Langston Hughes (1999). other: Reorchestration of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E minor, op.11 (2000–01); more than 80 film and television scores.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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