Felciano, Richard

views updated

Felciano, Richard

Felciano, Richard, American composer; b. Santa Rosa, Calif., Dec. 7, 1930. He studied with Milhaud at Mills Coll. in Oakland, Calif. (1952) and subsequently at the Paris Cons. (1953–55). As a student living in San Francisco, he supported himself by singing in a liturgical choir of men and boys, during which time he twice sang the complete liturgical year in Dominican chant and from neumatic notation. This experience had a profound effect on his style, even in orchestral and electronic music, and it was reinforced by several residencies at the Abbey of Solesmes while he was a student in Paris. After a period of service in the U.S. Army, he studied privately with Dallapiccola in Florence. While there, he met and married Rita Baumgartner, a native of Zurich, who later, as Rita Felciano, became a recognized American dance critic. In 1959 he took his Ph.D. at the Univ. of Iowa. In 1964 he received a Ford Foundation fellowship to serve as composer-in-residence to Cass Technical H.S. in Detroit, during which time he composed a number of works for student ensembles, some of which employed aleatory techniques and graphic notation. Returning to San Francisco in 1965, he received a series of commissions for the Roman Catholic liturgy in the wake of the liberalizing directives of the 2nd Vatican Council (1964). One of these commissions, Pentecost Sunday, introduced electronic sound into liturgical music and assumed a permanent place in its repertory. In 1967 he was appointed resident composer to the National Center for Experiments in Television in San Francisco, a pioneering effort by the Rockefeller Foundation to explore television as a non-documentary, non-narrative medium. As a participant in this project, he created Linearity, a television piece for harp and live electronics, the first musical work using the technical properties of a television system as an instrumental component. In the same year, he joined the music faculty of the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley. In 1968 he received a Guggenheim fellowship and in 1971 a 2-year fellowship from the Ford Foundation as composer-in-residence to the City of Boston. During that residency, he created a 14-channel electronic environment with light sculptures of his own design for Boston City Hall and Galactic Rounds (1972), an orchestral work whose climax deploys rotating trumpets and trombones to create Doppler shifts, an early indication of his interest in acoustics which was to become pronounced in later decades. In 1974 he received an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1975 was a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Study and Conference Center in Bellagio. From 1974 to 1978 he served as a panelist for the NBA and from 1976 to 1980 was an Art Commissioner for the City of San Francisco. In 1976 he was commissioned to compose a work joining an Eastern with a Western instrument for the 12th World Congress of the International Musicological Soc. at Berkeley, a pioneering forum in the growth of East-West studies in music. The result was In Celebration of Golden Rain (1977) for Indonesian gamelan and pipe organ, a work which addressed the conflicting scales, design, and intent of the instruments of these 2 cultures as a problem of symbiosis rather than one of fusion, making a philosophical as well as a musical statement. Many subsequent works show the influence of non-Western cultures. In 1982–83 he was active at IRCAM in Paris, where his encounter with the new field of cognitive psychology in its musical applications gave a scientific articulation to a lifelong interest in acoustics. He returned to Berkeley and in 1987 founded the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), an interdisciplinary facility linking music, cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, and architecture. His interest in the latter is reflected in his musical analysis and commentary inM. Treib, Space Calculated in Seconds: The Philips Pavilion, Le Corbusier, Varese (Princeton, N.J., 1996). In 1999 he received a Library of Congress Koussevitzky commission. His music reflects an acute interest in acoustics and sonority, and an attempt to cast them in ritual, architectural, or dramatic forms.


DRAMATIC : Opera Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (San Francisco, April 4, 1964). ORCH.: Mutations (1966); Galactic Rounds (1972); Orchestra (San Francisco, Sept. 24, 1980); Organ Concerto (1986); Camp Songs for Chamber Orch. (1992); Sym. for Strings (1993); Overture Concertante for Clarinet and Orch. (1995). CHAMBER: Evolutions for Clarinet and Piano (1962); Contractions, mobile for Woodwind Quintet (1965); Aubade for String Trio, Harp, and Piano (1966); Spectra for Double Bass and Flutes (1967); In Celebration of Golden Rain for Indonesian Gamelan and Western Pipe Organ (1977); from and to, with for Violin and Piano (1980); Crystal for String Quartet (1981); Of Things Remembered for Harp, Flute, and Viola (1981); Salvador Allende for String Quartet, Clarinet, and Percussion (1983); Volkan for 5 Flutes (1 Player) (1983); Pieces of Eight for Double Bass and Organ (1984); Dark Landscape for English Horn (1985); Lontano for Harp and Piano (1986); Constellations for Multiple Brass Quintets and Horn Choir (1987); Shadows for 6 Players (1987); Masks for Flute and Trumpet (1989); Palladia for Violin, Piano, and Percussion (1989); Primal Balance for Contra-bass and Flute (1991); Cante jondo for Bassoon, Clarinet, and Piano (1993); String Quartet (1995); Woodwind Quintet (1999). KEYBOARD : Piano : Gravities for Piano, 4-Hands (1965); 5 Short Piano Pieces (1986); Prelude (1997; rev. 1998). Organ : On the Heart of the Earth (1976). VOCAL: The Eyes of All for Voices (1955); Communion Service for 2 Equal Voices and Organ (1961); A Christmas Madrigal for Chorus and Brass Ensemble (1964); 4 Poems from the Japanese for Women’s Voices, 5 Harps, and Percussion (1964); The Captives for Chorus and Orch. (1965); Give Thanks to the Lord, anthem for Small Chorus (1966); Short Unison Mass for Voices and Organ (1966); Pentecost Sunday: Double Alleluia for Unison Chorus, Organ, and Electronic Sounds (1967); Glossolalia for Baritone, Organ, Percussion, and Electronic Sounds (1967); Songs of Darkness and Light for Chorus and Organ (1970); Te Deum for Soloists, 3 Boy Sopranos, Chorus, Marimba, and Organ (1974); Alleluia to the Heart of (the) Matter for 2 Equal Voices and Organ (1976); The Seasons for Chorus (1978); The Tuning of the Sky for Voices (1978); Lumen for Soprano and Organ (1980); Mass for Catherine of Siena for Chorus and Organ (1981); Furies for 3 Sopranos and 3 Flutes (1988); Mad With Love for Unison and Mixed Chorus and Handbells (1993); Streaming/Dreaming for Soprano (1994); Vac for Woman’s Voice, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1995); Walden for Soprano and Organ or String Quartet (1998). ELECTRONIC : S o u n d : Words of St. Peter for Chorus, Organ, and Electronic Sounds (1965); Crasis for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, Harp, Percussion, and Electronic Sounds (1967); Noosphere I for Alto Flute and Electronic Tape (1967); Background Music, theater piece for Harp and Live Electronics (1969); 6 Electronic Dances (1969); The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria, electronic score for Arrabal’s play (1969); Quintet, “Frames and Gestures” for String Quartet, Piano, and Electronic Sounds (1970); Lamentations for Jani Christou for 12 Instruments and Electronic Sounds (1970); Sic Transit for Equal or Mixed Voices, Organ, Electronic Sounds, and Light Sources (1970); Litany for Organ and Electronic Tape (1971); Signs for Chorus, Electronic Sounds, and 3 Slide Projectors (1971); Out of Sight for Chorus, Organ, and Electronic Sounds (1971); God of the Expanding Universe for Organ and Electronic Sounds (1971); Ekagrata for Organ, 2 Drummers, and Electronic Sounds (1972); I Make My Own Soul From All the Elements of the Earth for Organ and Electronic Sounds (1972); Stops for Organ and Electronic Sounds (1972); The Angels of Turtle Island for Soprano, Flute, Violin, Percussion, and Live Electronics (1972); 2 Public Pieces for Unison Voices and Electronic Sounds (1972); The Passing of Enkidu for Chorus, Piano, Percussion, and Electronic Sounds (1973); Hymn of the Universe for Chorus and Electronic Sounds (1973); Susani for Chorus, Organ, Bell-tree, and Electronic Sounds (1974); Chod for

Violin, Cello, Contrabass, 2 Percussion, Piano, and Live Electronics (1975); And From the Abyss for Tuba and Electronic Sounds (1975); Windows in the Sky for Unison Chorus, Organ, and Electronic Sounds (1976); Alleluia to the Heart of Stone for Reverberated Recorder (1984); The Hollow Woods for 2 Recorders and Live Electronics (1989); Responsory for Man’s Voice and Interactive Live Electronics (1991); A Japanese Songbook for Soprano and Electronic Sounds (1992). OTHER: V i d e o : Instruments of Violence (1967); Linearity for Harp and Live Electronics (1968); Mother Goose: A Parable of Man (1970); Point of Inflection (1971); The Place for No Story (1972); also Trio for Speaker, Screen, and Viewer, interactive piece for broadcast television (1968); Islands of Sound, environmental music for 14 Carillons (1975); Berlin Feuerwerkmusik for 3 Mobile Carillons at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airfield (1987).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire