Wilson, Richard (Edward)

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Wilson, Richard (Edward)

Wilson, Richard (Edward), American composer, pianist, and teacher; b. Cleveland, May 15, 1941. Following lessons in piano, theory, and composition at the Cleveland Music School Settlement (1954-59), he pursued his studies with Moevs (composition) at Harvard Univ. (A.B., 1963), at the American Academy in Rome, and at Rutgers Univ. (M.A. in theory, 1966). He also studied piano with Shure in Aspen, Colo., and N.Y. (1960), and with Wührer in Munich (1963). In 1966 he joined the faculty of Vassar Coll., where he was made a prof. of music in 1976. He also served as chairman of its music dept. (1979-82; 1985-88; 1995-98). In 1992 he became composer-in-residence of the American Sym. Orch. in N.Y. He received annual ASCAP awards from 1970. In 1986 he received the Walter Hinrichsen Award of the American Academy and Inst. of Arts and Letters. In 1992-93 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. He received the Stoeger Prize of the Chamber Music Soc. of Lincoln Center in 1994. He has received commissions from the Chicago Chamber Musicians (String Quartet No. 4, 1997) and the Koussevitzky Foundation (Triple Concerto, 1999). In his output, Wilson has followed a freely atonal course with special attention paid to lyrical expressivity.


dramatic: Opera: Ethelred the Unready (1993-94). ORCH.: Initiation (1970); Concerto for Voice and Chamber Orch. (1979; Poughkeepsie, NY., Jan. 13, 1980); 11 Sumner Place for Symphonic Band (1981; NY., June 23, 1982); Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orch. (1983); 2 syms.: No. 1 (Kingston, N.Y., Oct. 19, 1984) and No. 2 (1986; Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., Jan. 30, 1987); Jubilation for Wind Ensemble (Poughkeepsie, NY., June 7, 1987); Silhouette (London, Nov. 12, 1988); Suite for Small Orch. (Great Barrington, Mass., Sept. 10, 1988); Articulations (San Francisco, May 11, 1989); Piano Concerto (N.Y., May 5, 1991); Agitations (1994); A Child’s London for Narrator and Orch. (Woodstock, N.Y., March 8, 1997); Triple Concerto for Horn, Bass Clarinet, Marimba, and Orch. (N.Y., March 17, 1999); Intimations for Piano and Orch. (Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., Feb. 11, 2000). CHAMBER: Trio for Oboe, Violin, and Piano (1964); Fantasy and Variations for Chamber Ensemble (1965; N.Y., April 27, 1967); Concert Piece for Violin and Piano (1967); 4 string quartets: No. 1 (1969), No. 2 (1977), No. 3 (1982), and No. 4 (1997; N.Y., Jan. 17,1998); Quartet for 2 Flutes, String Bass, and Harpsichord (1969); Music for Cello (1971; N.Y., Jan. 24, 1972); Music for Flute (1972); Wind Quintet (1974); Serenade: Variations on a Simple March for Clarinet, Viola, and Brass (1978); Deux pas de trois: Pavane and Tango for Flute, Oboe, and Harpsichord (1979); Profound Utterances: Music for Bassoon (1980); Figuration: Music for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano (1980); Short Notice for Clarinet and Cello (1981); Gnomics for Flute, Oboe, and Clarinet (1981); Character Studies for Oboe and Piano (1982); Dithyramb for Oboe and Clarinet (1982); Suite for Winds (1983); Line Drawings for 2 Clarinets (1984); Flutations for Flute (1985); Lord Chesterfield to His Son for Cello (1987); Music for Viola (1988); Contentions for Chamber Ensemble (1988); Viola Sonata (1989); Intonations, 5 pieces for Horn (1989); Affirmations for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1990; N.Y., March 7, 1991); Touchstone for Flute (1991; rev. 1995); Civilization and Its Discontents for Tuba (1992); 3 Interludes for Violin and Piano (1996; Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Nov. 23, 1997). Piano: Eclogue (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Dec. 5, 1974); Sour Flowers: 8 Piano Pieces in the Form of an Herbal (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Sept. 19, 1979); A Child’s London, 6 pieces (1984); Fixations (1985; Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Jan. 28, 1986); Intercalations (NY., Nov. 9, 1986). VOCAL: In Schrafft’s for Men’s Chorus and Piano, 4-Hands (1966; also for Chorus, Clarinet, Harpsichord, and Marimba, 1979); A Dissolve for Women’s Chorus (1968); Can for Chorus (1968); Light in Spring Poplars for Chorus (1968); Soaking for Chorus (1969); Home from the Range for Chorus (1970); Elegy for Chorus (1971); Hunter’s Moon for Chorus (1972); The Ballad of Longwood Glen for Tenor and Harp (1975); August 22 for Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (1976); A Theory for Soprano and Vibraphone (1980); 3 Painters for High Voice and Piano (1984); Tribulations, 5 songs for Voice and Piano (1988); Persuasions for Soprano, Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, and Harpsichord (Washington, D.C., Nov. 30,1990); The 2nd Law for Baritone and Piano (1991); On the Street for Baritone and Piano or Strings (1992); Poor Warren for Chorus and Piano (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., March 28, 1995); Pamietam for Mezzo-soprano and Orch. (Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., Oct. 27, 1995); 5 Love Songs on Poems of John Skelton for High Voice and Piano (1995); Transfigured Goat for Soprano, Baritone, Clarinet, and Piano (Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Nov. 8, 1996).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire