Schwantner, Joseph, American composer and teacher; b. Chicago, March 22, 1943. He studied classical guitar and composed jazz pieces in his youth before pursuing his training with Bernard Dieter at the American Cons. of Music in Chicago (B.M., 1964) and with Donato and Stout at Northwestern Univ. (M.M., 1966; D.M., 1968). In 1965, 1966, and 1968 he received BMI Student Composer awards. In 1970 he won the first Charles Ives Scholarship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He taught at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (from 1970), where he then was a prof. of composition (from 1980). He also was composer-in-residence of the St. Louis Sym. Orch. (1982–85), the Cabrillo Music Festival (1992), and the Sonoklect New Music Festival (1993). In 1974, 1977, 1979, and 1988 he received NEA composer fellowship grants. He held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1978. In 1979 he won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his orch. score Aftertones of Infinity. In 1981 he received a first-prize Kennedy Center Freidheim Award. His early works followed the dictates of serialism, but he eventually developed an eclectic style, incorporating tonal materials into harmonically complex works. Interested in new colors, textures, and timbres, he often employs tonalities produced by a wide spectrum of musical instruments.
DRAMATIC: Ballet : Through Interior Worlds (Seattle, Oct. 9, 1992; concert version, Nashville, Term., Oct. 7, 1994). ORCH .: Modus Caelestis (1973); And the Mountains Rising Nowhere (1977); Aftertones of Infinity (1978; N.Y., Jan. 29, 1979); From a Dark Millennium (1981); Distant Runes and Incantations for Piano and Chamber Orch. (Pasadena, Calif., June 1, 1984); Someday Memories (1984; St. Louis, May 16, 1985); A Sudden Rainbow (1984; St. Louis, Jan. 31, 1986); Toward Light (1986; Canton, Ohio, March 15, 1987); From Afar, fantasy for Guitar and Orch. (1987; N.Y., Jan. 8, 1988); Piano Concerto (N.Y., July 8, 1988); Freeflight (1989); A Play of Shadotvs, fantasy for Flute and Orch. (N.Y., April 16, 1990); Percussion Concerto (1991; N.Y, Jan. 6, 1995). CHAMBER : Diaphonia Intervallum for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Ensemble (1965); Chronicon for Bassoon and Piano (1968); Consortium I for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, and Cello (1970) and II for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Piano, and Percussion (1971); Elixir for Flute and 5 Players (1974); Autumn Canticles for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1974); In Aeternum for Cello and 4 Players (1975); Canticle of the Evening Bells for Flute and 12 Players (1976); Wind Willow, Whisper for Chamber Ensemble (1980); Through Interior Worlds for Chamber Ensemble (1981); Music of Amber for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Percussion, and Piano (1981); Velocities for Marimba (1990). VOCAL : Wild Angels of the Open Hills, song cycle for Soprano, Flute, Harp, and Chamber Ensemble (1977); Sparrows for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (1979); 2 Poems of Agueda Pizarro for Voice and Piano (1981); New Morning for the World: Daybreak of Freedom for Speaker and Orch., after Martin Luther King Jr. (1982); Magabunda (Witchnomad), song cycle for Soprano and Orch. (1983); Dreamcaller, song cycle for Soprano, Violin, and Chamber Orch. (St. Paul, Minn., May 11, 1984).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire
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