Wigglesworth, Frank

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Wigglesworth, Frank

Wigglesworth, Frank, American composer and teacher; b. Boston, March 3, 1918. He was educated at Columbia Univ. (B.S., 1940) and Converse Coll., Spar-tanburg, S.C. (M.Mus., 1942), his principal mentors being Ernest White, Luening, and Cowell; Wiggles-worth also studied with Várese (1948-51). He taught at Converse Coll. (1941-42), Greenwich House, N.Y. (1946-47), Columbia Univ. and Barnard Coll. (1947-51), and Queens Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (1955-56). In 1954 he joined the faculty of the New School for Social Research in N.Y., where he was chairman of the music dept. (from 1965); he also taught at the Dalcroze School in N.Y. (from 1959) and at the City Univ. of N.Y.(1970-76). From 1951 to 1954 he was a fellow and in 1969-70 composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome; he held MacDowell Colony fellowships in 1965 and 1972. In 1985 he was composer-in- residence at Bennington College’s Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East. He is a great-nephew of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. His output reflects a fine command of orch., instrumental, and vocal writing; he makes use of both tonal and atonal techniques.


dramatic: Young Goodman Brown, ballet (1951); Between the Atoms and the Stars, musical play (1959); Hamlet, incidental music to Shakespeare’s play (1960); Ballet for Esther Brooks, ballet (1961); The Willowdale Handcar, opera (1969). ORCH.: New England Concerto for Violin and Strings (1941); Music for Strings (1946); Fantasia for Strings (1947); 3 Movements for Strings (1949); Summer Scenes (1951); Telesis (1951); Concertino for Piano and Strings (1953); 3 syms. (1953, 1958, 1960); Concert Piece (1954); Viola Concertino (1965); 3 Portraits for Strings (1970); Music for Strings (1981); Aurora (1983); Sea Winds (1984). CHAMBER: Trio for Flute, Banjo, and Harp (1942); Serenade for Flute, Viola, and Guitar (1954); Brass Quintet (1958); Harpsichord Sonata (1960); Viola Sonata (1965); String Trio (1972); Woodwind Quintet (1975); 4 Winds for Horn, 2 Trumpets, and Trombone (1978); Brass Quintet (1980); Viola Sonata (1980); After Summer Music for Flute, Viola, and Guitar (1983); Honeysuckle for Viola (1984); piano pieces. VOCAL: Isaiah for Chorus and Orch. (1942); Sleep Becalmed for Chorus and Orch. (1950); Super flumina Babilonis for Chorus (1965); Psalm CXLVIII for Chorus, 3 Flutes, and 3 Trombones (1973); Duets, song cycle for Mezzo-soprano and Clarinet (1977-78); various masses; anthems; solo songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire