Maslanka, David, American composer; b. New Bedford, Mass., Aug. 30, 1943. He studied at the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons. of Music (1961–65), where he received training in composition from Joseph Wood, and at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1963–64). While at Mich. State Univ. to complete his doctorate (1965–70), he pursued further studies in composition with H. Owen Reed and Paul Harder. He taught at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Geneseo (1970–74), Sarah Lawrence Coll. (1974–80), N.Y.U. (1980–81), and Kingsborough Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (1989–90). Since then, Maslanka has devoted himself fully to composition, accepting commissions in the genre of wind music, in which he is nearly peerless. After 1980 he began exploring the potential of wind instruments, promoting the explosive capabilities of their massed sonorities especially when bolstered by percussion. His Sym. No. 2 is almost volcanic in its visceral impact. On April 17, 1998, his Sea Dreams was premiered simultaneously on the Internet on 7 university campuses, from Ore. to N.Y, in a unique “netcast.”
dramatic:Death and the Maiden, chamber opera (1974). orch.: Sym. No. 1 (1970); Fragments for Chamber Orch. (1971); Intermezzo for Chamber Orch. (1979); A Child’s Garden of Dreams, Book 2 (1989); Music for Strings (1992). symphonic band or wind ensemble: Concerto for Piano, Winds, and Percussion (1974–75); Prelude on a Gregorian Tune (1981); A Child’s Garden of Dreams, Book 1 (1981); Syms. No. 2 (1985), No. 3 (1991), No. 4 (1993), and No. 5 (2000); In Memoriam (1989); Golden Light (1990); Concerto for Marimba and Band (1990); Montana Music: Chorale Variations (1993); Tears (1994); Laudamus Te (1994); A Tuning Piece: Songs of Fall and Winter (1995); Hell’s Gate for Saxophone Trio and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (1996); Morning Star (1997); Sea Dreams, concerto for 2 Horns and Wind Orch. (1997); UFO Dreams, concerto for Euphonium and Wind Ensemble (1998); Concerto for Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (1999). chamber: String Quartet (1968); Trio for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1973); 4 Pieces for Clarinet and Piano (1975–79); Variations on “Lost Love” for Marimba (1977); Orpheus for 2 Bassoons and Marimba (1977); Cello Songs for Cello and Piano (1978); Music for Dr. Who for Bassoon and Piano (1979); 3 wind quintets (1981, 1986, 1999); Arcadia I for Cello Quartet (1982) and II, concerto for Marimba and Percussion Ensemble (1982); Saxophone Sonata (1988); Little Concerto for 6 Players (1990); Crown of Thorns for Keyboard Percussion Ensemble (1991); Oboe Sonata (1992); Montana Music: 3 Dances for Percussion (1992); Montana Music: Fantasy on a Chorale Tune for Violin and Viola (1993); Horn Sonata (1996; rev. 1999); Mountain Roads for Saxophone Quartet (1997); Song Book for Saxophone and Marimba (1998). vocal:The Nameless Fear, or, the Unanswered Question Put Yet Another Way for Chorus, Speakers, Guitars, Harpsichord, Flute, Bassoon, and Percussion (1973); 5 Songs for Soprano, Baritone, and Chamber Orch. (1976); Lincoln Speaks at Gettysburg for Tenor, Alto Flute, and Contrabass (1984); A Litany for Courage and the Seasons, 6 songs for Chorus, Clarinet, and Vibraphone (1988); Mass for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Organ, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (1992–96).
—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire