Reynolds, Roger (Lee)

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Reynolds, Roger (Lee)

Reynolds, Roger (Lee) , American composer and teacher; b. Detroit, July 18, 1934. He studied engineering physics (B.S.E., 1957) and was a student of Ross Lee Finney (composition; B.M., 1960; M.M., 1961) at the Univ. of Mich, in Ann Arbor; he was also a co-founder of the ONCE festival there in 1961. He also studied with Roberto Gerhard at the Univ. of Mich, in I960, following him to the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood during the summer of 1961, and winning the Koussevitsky Prize there. In 1962–63 a Fulbright fellowship enabled him to work at the WDR electronic studio in Cologne. He held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1963–64. From 1966 to 1969 he was a fellow of the Inst. of Current World Affairs in Tokyo, where he was co-organizer of the Cross Talk concerts and the Cross Talk festival. He taught at the Univ. of Calif, at San Diego from 1969; he was founder-director of its Center for Music Experiment and Related Research (1971–77), and then chairman of the music dept. (1979–81). As a guest composer and lecturer, he was active in both the U.S. and abroad. In 1982 he was visiting prof. of composition at Yale Univ., and in 1992–93 was the Rothschild composer-in-residence at the Peabody Cons. of Music in Baltimore. In addition to his numerous articles on music, he publ, the studies Mind Models: New Forms of Musical Experience (1975), A Searcher’s Path: A Composer’s Ways (1987), and A Jostled Silence: Contemporary Japanese Musical Thought (serialized in Perspectives of New Music, XXX, 1 and 2, 1992, and XXXI, 2, 1993). In 1971 he received a National Inst. of Arts and Letters award. In 1975, 1978, 1979, and 1986 he held NEA grants. He won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1989 for his Whispers Out of Time for Strings. In 1990 he received a Suntory Foundation commission. In 1991–92 he received a Koussevitzky Foundation commission. In his music, Reynolds owes much to the examples set by Ives, Varèse, and Cage. He makes use of every resource available to the contemporary composer, from traditional instruments and voices to electronics and computer-generated sounds.


DRAMATIC: The Emperor of Ice Cream, theater piece for 8 Voices, Piano, Contrabass, and Percussion (1962; concert version, N.Y., March 19, 1965; stage version, Rome, April 27, 1965; rev. 1974); I/O for 9 Women Vocalists, 9 Male Mimes, 2 Flutes, Clarinet, Projections, and Live Electronics (1970; Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 24, 1971); A Merciful Coincidence (VOICESPACE II), music theater (Bourges, June 9, 1976); The Tempest, incidental music to Shakespeare’s play, for Electroacoustic Sound, Voices, and Instruments (Lenox, Mass., July 30, 1980); Ivanov, incidental music to Chekhov’s play, for Computer-processed Sound (1991; Mito, Japan, Jan. 1992). ORCH. : Grafiti (1964; Seattle, May 2, 1965); Threshold (1967; Tokyo, June 7, 1968);”…between…” for Chamber Orch. and Live Electronics (1968; Chicago, March 10, 1970); Only Now, and Again for 23 Winds, Piano, and Percussion (Milwaukee, May 6, 1977); Fiery Wind (N.Y., Feb. 13, 1978); Archipelago for Chamber Orch. and Computer-generated Tape (1982–83; Paris, Feb. 15, 1983); Transfigured Wind II for Flute, Orch., and Computer-generated Tape (N.Y., June 4, 1984); The Dream of the Infinite Rooms for Cello, Orch., and Computer-generated Tape (1986; Cleveland, March 2, 1987); 3 syms.: Symphony [Vertigo] for Orch. and Tape (San Francisco, Dec. 9, 1987), Symphony [Myths] (Tokyo, Oct. 25, 1990), and Symphony [The Stages of Life] (1991–92; Los Angeles, April 4, 1993); Whispers Out of Time for Strings (Amtierst, Mass., Dec. 11, 1988); Dreaming (1992; N.Y., Jan. 10, 1993). CHAMBER: Situations for Cello and Piano (1960); Continuum for Viola and Cello (1960); Consequent for Alto Flute, Violin, Bassoon, and Piano (1961); Wedge for Chamber Ensemble (1961); Mosaic for Flute and Piano (1961); String Quartet No. 2 (1961); Quick Are the Mouths of Earth for Chamber Ensemble (1964–65; N.Y., Nov. 24, 1965); Gathering for Woodwind Quintet (1965; Amsterdam, July 12, 1966); Ambages for Flute (1965); Ping for Piano, Flute, Percussion, Slides, Films, Live Electronics, and Tape (Tokyo, June 5, 1968); Traces for Piano, Flute, Cello, Tape, and Live Electronics (N.Y., Dec. 17, 1968); “…from behind the unreasoning mask” for Trombone, Percussion, and Tape (Las Vegas, Jan. 20, 1975); The Promises of Darkness for Chamber Ensemble (1975; N.Y., Jan. 8, 1976); Less Than Two for 2 Pianos, 2 Percussion, and Computer-generated Tape (1977–79; Washington, D.C., Feb. 23, 1979); Shadowed Narrative for Chamber Quartet (1977–82; N.Y., March 29, 1982); “…the serpent-snapping eye” for Trumpet, Percussion, Piano, and Computer-generated Tape (1978; San Diego, Jan. 31, 1979); Transfigured Wind I for Flute (1983), III for Flute, Chamber Ensemble, and Computer-generated Tape (Los Angeles, June 22, 1984), and IV for Flute and Tape (N.Y., Feb. 10, 1985); Aether for Violin and Piano (Washington, D.C., Oct. 29, 1983); Mistral for 6 Brass, 6 Strings, and Amplified Harpsichord (1984; N.Y., Feb. 12, 1985); Summer Island (Islands from Archipelago I) for Oboe and Computer-generated Tape (1984); Coconino…a shattered landscape for String Quartet (London, Nov. 10, 1985); The Behavior of Mirrors for Guitar (N.Y., Feb. 9, 1986); Autumn Island (Islands from Archipelago II) for Marimba (Washington, D.C., Nov. 7, 1986); Personae for Violin, Chamber Ensemble, and Computer-generated Sound (N.Y., March 26, 1990); Dionysus for 8 Instruments (Bloomington, Ind., July 1, 1990); Focus a beam, emptied of thinking, outward… for Cello (1989; N.Y., Feb. 27, 1992); Visions for String Quartet (Tokyo, May 27, 1992); Kokoro for Violin (1992); Ariadne’s Thread for String Quartet and Computer-generated Sound (Radio France, Paris, Dec. 2, 1994). Piano : Fantasy for Pianist (Warsaw, Sept. 26, 1965); Variation (1988; N.Y., Dec. 3, 1991). VOCAL : Sky for Soprano, Alto Flute, Bassoon, and Harp (1961); A Portrait of Vanzetti for Narrator, Instruments, and Tape (1963); Masks for Chorus and Orch. (1965); Blind Men for Chorus, Brass, Piano, and Percussion (Tanglewood, Aug. 15, 1966); Again for 2 Sopranos, 2 Flutes, 2 Contrabasses, 2 Trombones, 2 Percussion, Tape, and Amplification (St.-Paul-de-Vence, France, July 20, 1970); Compass for Tenor, Bass, Cello, Contrabass, Projections, and Tape (1972–73; Los Angeles, March 16, 1973); The Palace (VOICESPACE IV) for Bass-baritone, Tape, and Staging (1978–80; La Jolla, Calif., Dec. 19, 1980); Sketchbook (for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”) for Alto, Piano, and Electronics (N.Y., May 14, 1985); Not Only Night for Soprano, Piccolo, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Tape (Los Angeles, Nov. 7, 1988); Odyssey for Soprano, Bass-baritone, 16 Instruments, Computer-processed Sound, and Lighting (1989–93; Paris, June 17, 1993); last things, I think, to think about for Bass-baritone, Piano, and Computer-processed Sound (N.Y., Nov. 17, 1994). OTHER : Still (VOICESPACE I) for Electroacoustic Sound (1975); Eclipse (VOICESPACE III) FOR Computer-generated and Electroacoustic Sound (1979–80; also as a media piece, 1982); Vertigo for Computer-processed Sound (1985; also with synthesized video, 1986); The Vanity of Words (VOICESPACE V) for Computer-processed Sound (1986) Versions/Stages I-IV Computer- processed Sound (1988–91) and V for Computer-generated Sound (1986).


R. R.: Portrait of a Composer (N.Y., 1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire