Drew, James, multifaceted American composer, playwright, pianist, and teacher; b. St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 9, 1929. He studied at the N.Y. School of Music (1954–56), with Varese (1956), and with Riegger (1956–59). Following further training at Tulane Univ. (M.A., 1964), he pursued postgraduate studies at Washington Univ. in St. Louis (1964–65). In 1972–73 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. He taught at Northwestern Univ. (1965–67), Yale Univ. (1967–73), the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood (summer, 1973), La. State Univ. (1973–76), Calif. State Univ. at Fullerton (1976–77), and the Univ. of Calif, at Los Angeles (1977–78). As a composer and playwright, Drew has pursued an active career outside of academia. Except for master classes and lectures, he has worked since 1980 on independent projects for the theater, concert stage, and film. His Grey Wolf Atelier International, which is devoted to the arts education of children, parents, and teachers, was founded in 1993. With his colleague, the educator Mary Gae George, the Atelier operates in Florica, Utah, Ind., and the Netherlands. He also is composer/director of the Nighttown Opera Theatre.
DRAMATIC Toward Yellow, ballet (1970); Mysterium, television opera (1974–75); Crucifixus Domini Christi (1975); Suspense Opera (1975); Dr. Cincinnati (1977); 5 O’clock Ladies (1981); Himself, the Devil (1982); Whisper, video piece (1982); Becket: The Final Moments, automated drama (1984); One Last Dance, theater and/or video piece (1985); Blue in Atlantis, audio-theater piece (1986); ”Live” from the Black Eagle (1987–88); Rat’s Teeth (1989); Surprise Operas (1989); Theater of Phantom Sounds (1993); The Voice (1995); Club Berlin is Closed: Hello?, theater piece (1995); Survivors in Pale Light (1996); Cantolobosolo, monodrama- audiotheater (1997); Powder Songs of the Lady Magicians (1997–98); The Ringing Hour, miracle play (1998–99); The Clown’s Evening (1999). ORCH.: Passacaglia (1957); Contrappunto (1965); 3 syms.: No. 1 for Chamber Orch. (1968), No. 2 for Chorus and Orch. (Norfolk, Va., Aug. 20,1971), and No. 3 (1977; Providence, R.I., April 6, 1991); Symphonies for Orch., Chorus, and 3 Conductors (1969); 2 violino grande concertos (1969, 1993); October Lights (New Haven, Conn., Oct. 18, 1969); 2 viola concertos (1973; Cellar-Use’s Alleluias, 1996–97); Metal Concerto for Percussion (N.Y., Feb. 2,1971); Percussion Concerto (1972–73; N.Y., March 21, 1973); West Indian Lights (Tanglewood, Aug. 9, 1973); Metal Assemblage for Wind Orch. (1976); Violin Concerto (1977); Sinfonia for Strings (1980); Concerto for 2 Violins and Orch. (1981); St. Mark Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano, and Brass or Winds (1981); Open/Closed Forms for Chamber Orch. (1983); Courtyard Music for Chamber Orch. and Kinisones (1983); Faustus: An Epilogue for 2 Pianos, Viola, and Chamber Orch. (1984); Donaldsonville: Steeples, Whistles, Fog (1988); Piano Concerto, The Celestial Cabaret (1991); Inaudible Answers (1992); Concerto for Cello and Chamber Orch. (1994); Walden Songs for Chamber Orch. (1994); Contrabass Concerto, Jacopo’s Sub-Harmonic Hymns (1999). CHAMBER: Indigo Suite for Piano, Double Bass, and Percussion (1959); Divisiones for 6 Percussion (1962); Piano Trio (1962); Polifonica I for Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, String Quartet, and Piano (1963) and II for Flute and Percussion (1966); Almost Stationary for Piano Trio (1971); Gothic Lights for Brass (1972); 3 string quartets (1972–75; 1977;1989); Epitaphium pour Stravinsky for 3 Trombones, Horn, Tuba, and Piano (1973); Trio for the Fiery Messengers for Piano Trio (1979); Violin Sonata (1979); Cello Sonata (1980); Sonata for Solo Viola (1983); American Elegy for Brass Quintet (1983); Chartres Street Processional for Brass (1986); The Bejesus Redemption Psalter for Percussion (1987); Lincoln Center Blues for Any Instrument or Piano (1987); Some Sad Songs and Marches for Brass (1988); Antitangoes for Flute and Contrabass (1992); Book of Lights for Clarinet, Cello, Viola, and Piano (1993); Elephants Coming for String Quartet (1994); Sonata Appassionata for Cello and Piano (1994); Sacred Dances of the Tunnel Saints for 2 Pianos and 2 Percussionists (1995); Hypothetical Structures for 2 Pianists (1996); Submerged Choruses for 2 or More Pianists (1998); Snow Under Candlelight for Piano (1999); Winter Coloraturas for 1 or 2 Pianists (2000). VOCAL : The Lute in the Attic for Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Cello, and 3 Gongs (1963); The Fading of the Visible World, oratorio for Soprano, Tenor, Bass, Chorus, and Orch. (1975); The Orangethorpe Aria for Soprano, Piano Trio, and Clarinet (1978); Trinity for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1983); Dublin Dream Songs for Soprano and Percussionist (1992); Many Moons, Many Winters for Soprano and String Orch. (1994).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire