Ward, Robert (Eugene)

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Ward, Robert (Eugene)

Ward, Robert (Eugene), American composer and teacher; b. Cleveland, Sept. 13, 1917. He studied with Rogers, Royce, and Hanson at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y (B.Mus., 1939) and with Jacobi at the Juilliard Graduate School in N.Y (certificate, 1946); he also studied conducting with Stoessel and Schenkman and received some training in composition from Copland. He taught at Columbia Univ. (1946-48) and at the Juilliard School of Music (1946-56). He also was music director of the 3rd Street Music Settlement (1952-55), then was vice-president and managing ed. of the Galaxy Music Corp. (1956-67). After serving as president of the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem (1967-74), where he continued as a teacher of composition until 1979, he held the chair of Mary Duke Biddle Prof, of Music at Duke Univ. (1979-87). In 1950, 1952, and 1966 he held Guggenheim fellowships; in 1962 he won the Pulitzer Prize in Music and the N.Y. Music Critics’ Circle Award for his opera The Crucible. In 1972 he was elected a member of the National Inst. of Arts and Letters. He evolved an effective idiom, modern but not aggressively so; composed a number of dramatic and compact stage works on American subjects.


dramatic: Opera: He Who Gets Slapped (1955; N.Y, May 17,1956; rev. 1973); The Crucible (NY., Oct. 26, 1961); The Lady from Colorado (Central City, Colo., July 3, 1961; rev. as Lady Kate, 1981; Wooster, Ohio, June 8, 1994); Claudia Legare (1973; Minneapolis, April 14,1978); Minutes till Midnight (1978-82; Miami, June 4,1982); Abelard and Heloise (1981); Roman Fever (1993). B a 1 1 e t : The Scarlet Letter (1990). ORCH .: Slow Music (1938); Ode (1939); 6 syms.: No. 1 (N.Y, May 10, 1941), No. 2 (1947; Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 1948), No. 3 (Washington, D.C., March 31, 1950), No. 4 (1958), No. 5, Canticles of America, for Soprano, Baritone, Narrator, Chorus, and Orch., after Whitman and Longfellow (1976), and No. 6 (1989); Jubilation Overture (Los Angeles, Nov. 21, 1946); Concert Piece (1947-48); Concert Music (1948); Night Music for Small Orch. (1949); Fantasia for Brass Choir and Timpani (1953); Euphony (1954); Divertimento (1960); Night Fantasy for Band (1962); Invocation and Toccata (1963); Antiphony for Winds for Woodwinds and Percussion (1968); Piano Concerto (1968); Sonic Structure (1981); Dialogues for Violin, Cello, and Orch. (1983; arr. for Piano Trio, 1984); Tenor Saxophone Concerto (1984; rev. 1987); Byways of Memories (1991). CHAMBER: 2 violin sonatas (1950, 1990); String Quartet (1966); Raleigh Divertimento for Wind Quintet (1986); Appalachian Ditties and Dances for Violin and Piano (1989); piano pieces. VOCAL: Fatal Interview for Soprano and Orch. (1937); Jonathan and the Gingery Snare for Narrator, Small Orch., and Percussion (N.Y, Feb. 4,1950); Sacred Songs for Pantheists for Soprano and Orch. (1951); Earth Shall Be Fair, cantata for Soprano, Chorus, Children’s Chorus, Organ, and Orch. (1960); Let the Word Go Forth for Chorus and Instruments (1965); Sweet Freedom Songs, cantata for Bass, Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (1965); Images of God for Chorus (1989); songs.


K. Kreitner, R. W.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1988).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire