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Colgrass, Michael (Charles)

Colgrass, Michael (Charles)

Colgrass, Michael (Charles), American composer; b. Chicago, April 22, 1932. He received training in percussion and composition at the Univ. of 111. (Mus.B., 1956), and also studied composition with Foss at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summers, 1952, 1954) and Milhaud at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School (summer, 1953). He then took private composition lessons with Riegger (1958–59) and Ben Weber (1959–62) in N.Y. After working as a freelance solo percussionist in N.Y. (1956–67), he settled in Toronto, where he devoted himself fully to composition. In 1964 and 1968 he held Guggenheim fellowships, and in 1978 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Déjà vu, a concerto for four Percussionists and Orch. In his output, he has utilized various styles and techniques, with percussion often playing a significant melorhythmic role.


DRAMATIC: Virgil’s Dream, music theater (1967); Nightingale, Inc., comic opera (1971); Something’s Gonna Happen, children’s musical (1978). orch.:Divertimento for 8 Drums, Piano, and Strings (1960); Rhapsodic Fantasy for 15 Drums and Orch. (1965); Sea Shadow (1966); As Quiet as...(1966); Auras for Harp and Orch. (1973); Concertmasters for 3 Violins and Orch. (1975); Letter from Mozart (1976); Déjà vu for 4 Percussionists and Orch. (1977); Delta for Clarinet, Violin, and Percussion Orch. (1979); Memento for 2 Pianos and Orch. (1982); Chaconne for Viola and Orch. (Toronto, Sept. 27, 1984); Demon for Amplified Piano, Percussion, Tape, Radio, and Orch. (1984); The Schubert Birds (1989); Snow Walker for Organ and Orch. (1990); Arctic Dreams for Symphonic Band (1991). chamber:3 Brothers for 9 Percussion (1951); Percussion Music for 4 Percussion (1953); Chamber Music for 4 Drums and String Quartet (1954); Percussion Quintet (1955); Variations for 4 Drums and Viola (1957); Fantasy Variations for Solo Percussion and 6 Percussion (1960); Rhapsody for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1962); Light Spirit for Flute, Viola, Guitar, and Percussion (1963); Night of the Raccoon for Harp, Flute, Keyboard, and Percussion (1978); Flashbacks for 5 Brass (1979); Winds of NagualA Musical Fable for Wind Ensemble (Boston, Feb. 14, 1985); Strangers: Irreconcilable Variations for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano (1986); String Quartet, Folklines (1987); piano pieces. vocal:The Earth’s a Baked Apple for Chorus and Orch. (1969); New People for Mezzo-soprano, Viola, and Piano (1969); Image of Man for 4 Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1974); Theatre of the Universe for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orch. (1975); Best Wishes, U.S.A. for 4 Solo Voices, Double Chorus, 2 Jazz Bands, Folk Instruments, and Orch. (1976).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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