Maxfield, Richard (Vance)

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Maxfield, Richard (Vance)

Maxfield, Richard (Vance), American composer; b. Seattle, Wash., Feb. 2, 1927; d. (suicide) Los Angeles, June 27, 1969. He studied at the Univ. of Calif., Berkeley, with Sessions, and at Princeton Univ. with Babbitt (M.F.A., 1955); also took courses with Krenek. He held a Fulbright fellowship (1955–57), which enabled him to continue his training with Dallapiccola in Florence and Maderna in Milan. He became deeply engaged in acoustical electronics. He taught experimental music at the New School for Social Research in N.Y. (1959–62) and then at San Francisco State Coll. He contributed essays to avant-garde publications; 2 of them, in free verse, were publ, in Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, ed. by E. Schwartz and B. Childs (N.Y., 1967). He acquired an excellent technique of composition in the traditional idiom before adopting an extreme avant-garde style. He took his own life by self-defenestration from a hotel room.


Classical Overture (1942); Trio for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1943); Septet for 2 Flutes, 3 Clarinets, Horn, and Bassoon (1947); Sonata for Solo Violin (1949); Violin Sonata (1950); String Trio (1951); Sonata for Solo Flute (1951); Structures for 10 Wind Instruments (1951); II Variations for String Quartet (1952); 5 Movements for Orch. (1956); Chamber Concerto for 7 Instruments (1957); Structures for Orch. (1958); Sine Music (1959); Stacked Deck, opera for Tape, Actors, and Lighting (1959); Perspectives for Violin and Tape (1960); Peripeteia for Violin, Saxophone, Piano, and Tape (1960); Clarinet Music for 5 Clarinets and Tape (1961); Cough Music, with sonic materials obtained from coughs and other bronchial sound effects recorded during a modern dance recital and electronically arranged in a piece of tussive polyphony (N.Y., Jan. 13, 1961); Toy Symphony for Flute, Violin, Wooden Boxes, Ceramic Vase, and Tape (1962); African Symphony (1964); Venus Impulses for Electronic Sound (1967).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire