Wuensch, Gerhard (Joseph)

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Wuensch, Gerhard (Joseph)

Wuensch, Gerhard (Joseph), Austrian-Canadian composer and teacher; b. Vienna, Dec. 23,1925. He received training in musicology at the Univ. (Ph.D., 1950) and in piano and composition at the Academy of Music (diplomas in both, 1952) in Vienna. As a Fulbright fellow, he pursued studies in theory with Pisk and Kennan at the Univ. of Tex. (1954-56). After teaching at Butler Univ. in Indianapolis (1956-63), he settled in Canada and taught at the univs. of Toronto (1964-69) and Calgary (1969-73). In 1973 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Western Ontario in London, where he was chairman of the theory and composition dept. (1973-76) and a prof. (1978-91). In 1991 he was made prof, emeritus. As a composer, his works reveal a familiarity with a wide spectrum of styles and genres.


dramatic: Labyrinth, ballet (1957); II Pomo d’Oro, comedy-ballet (1958); Nice People: 3 Scenes from Contemporary Life, chamber opera (1990; London, Ontario, Nov. 28, 1991). ORCH.: Nocturne (1956); Variations on a Dorian Hexa-chord (1959); 3 syms.: No. 1 (1959), No. 2 for Band (1960), and No. 3 for Brass and Percussion (1967); Ballad for Trumpet and Orch. (1962); Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orch. (1971); Scherzo for Piano and Winds (1971); Concerto for Bassoon and Chamber Orch. (1976); Concerto for Organ, 3 Trumpets, Timpani, and Strings (1976); Ad Usum Ligorum, concerto for 2 Pianos and Orch. (1981); Serenade for a Summer Evening (1986); Variations and Fugue on a Mozartian Theme (1986). CHAMBER: Trio for Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano (1948); 2 string quartets (1953, 1963); 2 woodwind quintets (1963, 1967); Music for 7 Brass Instruments (1966); 4 Mini-Suites for Accordion (1968); Polysonics for Variable Instrumentation (1969); Cameos for Flute and Piano (1969); Music Without Pretensions for Accordion and String Quartet (1969); Suite for Trumpet and Organ (1970); Variations for Clarinet and Piano (1971); 6 Duets for Flute and Clarinet (1971); Prélude, Aria, and Fugue for Accordion and Brass Quartet (1971); Musica Giocosa for Flute and Piano (1976); Ménage à Trois for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1987); Recycling for Tuba, Horn, and Piano (1989). Piano: Esquisse (1950; rev. 1970); 2 mini suites (1969, 1976); 12 Glimpses into 20th Century Idioms (1969); Valses nostalgiques for Piano, 4-Hands (1972); Sonata for Piano, 4-Hands (1977); Ping Pong Anyone? (1986). VOCAL: Symphonia sacra for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Brass, Percussion, and Organ (1961); Vexilla regis prodeunt for Soloists, Chorus, and Organ (1968); 6 Songs for Voice, Flute, and Accordion (1970); Laus sapientiae for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus, Organ, Brass, and Orch. (1977); Songs, Lieder, and Melodies for Voice, Clarinet, and Piano (1982); 4 Episodes from the Gospel of St. John for Soloists, Chorus, Congregation, and Organ (1988); Pygmalion for Baritone and String Quartet (1989; London, Ontario, Jan. 29, 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire