Imbrie, Andrew (Welsh)

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Imbrie, Andrew (Welsh)

Imbrie, Andrew (Welsh), distinguished American composer and pedagogue; b. N.Y., April 6, 1921. He studied piano and composition with Ornstein (until 1942), and also received instruction in composition from Boulanger (1937) and in piano with R. Casadesus (1941). From 1937 he pursued composition studies with Sessions, graduating from Princeton Univ. with a B.A. in 1942. After serving in the U.S. Army during World Warb II, he completed his studies with Sessions at the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley, wherehe took his M.A. in 1947. In the latter year he joined its faculty as an instructor in music, becoming an asst. prof. in 1951, assoc. prof. in 1957, and prof. in 1960, a position he held until 1991. He also taught at the San Francisco Cons. of Music, serving as chairman of its composition dept. from 1970. In 1991 he was the composer-in-residence at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. In 1982 he was the Jacob Ziskind Visiting Professor at Brandeis Univ. He was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome (1947–49), returning there on a Guggenheim fellowship (1953–54) and as its composer-in-residence (1967–68). In 1960-61 he was in Tokyo on a second Guggenheim fellowship. In addition to various commissions, he won the N.Y Music Critics’s Circle Award for his first String Quartet (1944), the Alice M. Ditson Award (1947), and the Naumburg Award for his Violin Concerto (1954). His Requiem was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2000. In 1969 he was elected a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters, and in 1980 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Imbrie’s style of composition is marked by an expressive melodic line, while the polyphony is vigorously motile; harmonic confluence is dissonant but euphonious.


dramatic: Opera: 3 Against Christmas or Christmas in Peebles Town (1960; Berkeley, Dec. 3, 1964); Angle of Repose (San Francisco, Nov. 6, 1976). ORCH.: Ballad (1947; Rome, June 20, 1949); Violin Concerto (1954; Berkeley, April 22, 1958); Little Concerto for Piano, 4-Hands, and Orch. (1956; Oakland, Nov. 14, 1961); Legend (San Francisco, Dec. 9, 1959); 3 syms.: No. 1 (1965; San Francisco, May 11, 1966), No. 2 (San Francisco, May 20, 1970), and No. 3 (Manchester, England, Dec. 4, 1970); Chamber Sym. (Hanover, N.H., Aug. 11, 1968); Cello Concerto (1972; Oakland, April 30, 1973); 3 piano concertos: No. 1 (Saratoga, Calif., Aug. 4, 1973), No. 2 (1974; Terre Haute, Ind., Jan. 2, 1976), and No. 3 (1992; N.Y., April 21, 1993); Flute Concerto (N.Y., Oct. 13, 1977). CHAMBER: 5 string quartets (1942, 1953, 1957, 1969, 1987); 2 trios for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1946, 1989); Divertimento for Flute, Bassoon, Trumpet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1948); Serenade for Flute, Viola, and Piano (1952); Impromptu for Violin and Piano (1960); Cello Sonata (1966);3 Sketches for Trombone and Piano (1967); Dandelion Wine for Oboe, Clarinet, String Quartet, and Piano (1967); To A Traveler for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1971); Pilgrimage for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1983); Dream Sequence for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1986); 3 Piece Suite for Harp and Piano (1987); Earplay Fantasy for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1996); Spring Fever for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, and Contrabass (1997); Chicago Bells for Violin and Piano (1997); Soliloquy for Violin (1998); Piano Quartet (1998). keyboard: piano: Sonata (1947); Short Story (1982); Daedalus (1986); Mukashi mukashi (Once Upon a Time) for 2 Pianos (1997). organ:Prelude (1987). VOCAL: On the Beach at Night for Chorus and String Orch., after Walt Whitman (1949); Drum- Taps for Chorus and Orch., after Walt Whitman (1960); Prometheus Bound for 3 Soloists, Double Chorus, Orch., and Dance (1979); 5 Roethke Songs for Soprano and Piano (1980); 3 Campion Songs for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, and Piano (1981); Song for St. Cecilia’s Day for Chorus, Brass, Percussion, 2 Pianos, Flute, and 2 Violins (1981); Requiem: In memoriam John Imbrie for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1984); Adam for Soprano, Chorus, and Small Orch., after late medieval and American Civil War era texts (1994); Songs of Then and Now for Girl’s Chorus, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion, after R.L. Stevenson, e.e. cummings, and Shakespeare (1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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