Kupferman, Meyer

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Kupferman, Meyer

Kupferman, Meyer, American composer, clarinetist, and teacher; b. N.Y, July 3, 1926. He attended N.Y/s H.S. of Music and Art and then Queens Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (1943–45). He was active as a clarinetist and taught at Sarah Lawrence Coll. (from 1951); was also composer-in-residence at the Calif. Music Center in Palo Alto (from 1977). With John Yannelli, he founded the recording and publishing company Soundspells Productions in 1986. He publ. the book Atonal Jazz (1993). In 1975 he received a Guggenheim fellowship and in 1981 an award from the American Academy and Inst. of Arts and Letters. While he has principally applied serial procedures in his music since 1948, his vast catalog of works is nevertheless highly eclectic, displaying significant examples of neo-Classicism, electronic music, and jazz.


dramatic:Opera : In a Garden, after Gertrude Stein (N.Y, Dec. 29, 1949); Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, after Gertrude Stein (1952; rev. 1963); The Curious Fern and Voices for a Mirror (both perf. in N.Y, June 5, 1957); Draagenfut Girl, children’s opera (N.Y, May 8, 1958); The Judgement (Infinities No. 18a) (1966-67); Prometheus (1975-77); The Proscenium (1991); The Waxing Moon (1993). Ballet: Persephone (1968); The Possessed (1974); O Thou Desire Who Art About to Sing (1977); Icarus (1980). orch.: 3 piano concertos (1948, 1978, 1993); Divertimento (1948); 11 numbered syms.: No. 1 (1950), No. 2, Chamber Symphony (1950), No. 3, Little Symphony (1952; rev. 1983), No. 4 (1955; Louisville, Jan. 28, 1956), No. 5, Lyric Symphony (1956), No. 6, Symphony of the Yin-Yang (1972), No. 7 (1974), No. 8, Steps (1975), No. 9 (1979), No. 10, F.D.R. (1981; for the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Franklin D. Roosevelt), and No. 11 (1983); Jazz Symphony for Mezzo-soprano, Jazz Saxophonist, and Orch. (Middletown, N.Y, Oct. 14, 1988); Ostinato Burlesque (1954; orchestration of a 1948 piano piece); Variations (1958); Concerto for Cello and Jazz Band (Infinities No. 5; 1962; rev. 1982); Infinities No. 14 for Trumpet and Chamber Orch. (1965); Schemata (Infinities No. 20; 1967); Infinities No. 24 for Strings (1968); Concerto for Cello, Tape, and Orch. (1974); Sculptures (1974); Symphonia Breve (1975); Passage for Strings (1976); Violin Concerto (1976); Atto (1977); Concerto for 6 Solo Instruments and Orch. (1978); Sound Objects No. 10 for Small Orch. (1979); Phantom Rhapsody for Guitar and Small Orch. (1980); Sound Phantoms No. 8 (1980); Tuba Concerto (1983); Challenger (1983); Clarinet Concerto (1984); Quasar Infinities (1984); Wings of the Highest Tower (1988); Overture for Double Orch. (1988); Savage Landscape (1989); Symphonic Odyssey (1990); Double Concerto for 2 Clarinets and Orch. (1991); Ice Cream Concerto, concerto grosso for 11 Instruments (1992); Hot Hors D’Oeuvres for Small Orch. (1993); Concerto for Amplified Guitar and Small Orch. (1993); Hexagon Skies, concerto for Amplified Guitar and Small Orch. (1994); Banners for Small Orch. (1995). chamber: 5 numbered string quartets, including Nos. 4 (1958) and 5 (1959); Concerto for 11 Brass (1948); Wind Quintet (1958); Infinities, cycle of 34 pieces on the same tone row, mostly for Chamber Groupings (1961–83); Moonchild and the Doomsday Trombone for Oboe, Voice, and Jazz Band (1968); Fantasy Concerto for Cello, Piano, and Tape (1974); Abracadabra Quartet for Piano and String Trio (1976); The Red King’s Throw for Clarinet, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1977); Masada, chamber sym. for Flute, Clarinet, Cello, Double Bass, Piano, and Violin (1977); Sound Objects, cycle of 10 pieces, mostly for Chamber Groupings (1978–79); Sound Phantoms, cycle of 10 pieces, mostly for Chamber Groupings (1979–81); Jazz Essay for Saxophone Quartet (1982); Symphony for 6 for Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Violin, Cello, and Bass (1984); Quintet for Piano and Strings (1985); And 5 Quartets for 5 String Quartets (1986); Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (1986); Rock Shadows for Brass Quintet (1986); Summer Music for 2 Guitars, Flute, and Cello (1987); Top Brass 5 for 5 Trumpets (1989); Moontrek Fantasy for Trumpet, Flute, Cello, and Piano (1989); Triple Suite for 3 Flutes Doubling Piccolo (1989); Currents for Violin and Piano (1992); Chaconne Sonata for Flute and Piano (1993); Going Home for Guitar Quartet (1994); Pipe Dream Sonata for Guitar (1994). piano pieces. vocal:Prometheus profundis for Chorus, Brass, and Percussion (1975); Ode to Shreveport, cantata for 4 Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1985); A Crucible for theMoon for Soprano, Alto Saxophone, and Percussion Orch. (1986); Wicked Combinations, song cycle for Mezzo- soprano and Piano (1989); The Shadows of Jersalem for Mezzo-soprano, Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire