William Bolcom

William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America, and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Bolcom was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his 12 New Etudes for Piano.

Photo: www.bolcomandmorris.com

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William Bolcom

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    About

    The eclecticism at the heart of American music takes a vital new twist in the work of contemporary composer William Bolcom, for whom non-specialization has become a raison d’être. A composer of songs, operas, and instrumental works; a pianist of distinction who frequently accompanies his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, in recital; an artist who has worked in a variety of idioms from classical to cabaret, Bolcom is a fresh voice on the American music scene.

    Born in Seattle on May 26, 1938, Bolcom studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College, with Leland Smith at Stanford University, and with both Milhaud and Olivier Messiaen in Paris. He settled in New York in the 1960’s, and immersed himself for a time in the ragtime of Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake, as well as pursuing a fascination for another Blake: the mystical English Romantic poet, William. This latter interest culminated in 1984 with Bolcom’s powerful cycle Songs of Innocence and of Experience, in which he set 46 Blake poems for solo voice and piano, orchestra, and chorus.

    Bolcom’s music demonstrates his flair for the dramatic, his fondness for experimentation, and his knack for combining pre-existing styles with his own dissonant textures and jaunty vernacular idiom. His catalogue encompasses the 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning 12 New Etudes for piano, ten string quartets, and five piano concerti. For the stage he has composed Dynamite Tonight (1963), Greatshot (1969), Theatre of the Absurd (1970), and A View from the Bridge (1998), plus the highly acclaimed McTeague, an opera based on Frank Norris’ novel, which had its premiere at Chicago’s Lyric Opera in 1992. Bolcom has also constructed many a delightful cabaret evening of his songs, among them the very winning Amor. He taught at the University of Michigan from 1973 to 1988.

    –Thomas Hampson and Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, PBS I Hear America Singing

     

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    George

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    Gettysburg: July 1, 1863

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    Donald Hall

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    How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around

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    Alice Fulton

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    I Knew a Woman

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    Theodore Roethke

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    I Saw Eternity

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    Louise Bogan

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    Just Once

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    Anne Sexton

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    Lady Death

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    Lady Luck

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    Maya Angelou

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    Jane Kenyon

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    Elizabeth Bishop

    Louise Bogan

    Gwendolyn Brooks

    Edna St. Vincent Millay

    H. D.

    Emily Dickinson

    Alice Fulton

    Denise Levertov

    Marianne Moore

    Anne Sexton

    May Swenson

    Laura Sonnets

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    William Bolcom

    Let Evening Come

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    Love in the Thirties

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    Song Collection: Cabaret Songs, Vol. 1

    Man Eating

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    Minicabs

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    Miracle Song

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    Never More Will The Wind

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    H. D.

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    Night Practice

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    May Swenson

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    O Cheese

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    Donald Hall

    Song Collection: Three Donald Hall Songs

    O To Be a Dragon

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    Marianne Moore

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    Oh Close the Curtain

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    Arnold Weinstein

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    Old Addresses

    Song Collection

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    Mark Doty

    Langston Hughes

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    Ezra Pound

    A.D. Winans

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    Open House

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    Theodore Roethke

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    Otherwise

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    Jane Kenyon

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    Over the Piano

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    Arnold Weinstein

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    Peonies at Dusk

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    Pity Me Not Because the Light of Day

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    Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    Places To Live

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    Arnold Weinstein

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    Poet Pal of Mine

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    Radical Sally

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    Satisfaction

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    Scented Herbage of My Breast

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    Song of Black Max (as told by the de Kooning boys)

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    Surprise!

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    'Tis Not That Dying Hurts Us So

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    The Actor

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    The Bustle in a House

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    The Clearing

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    Jane Kenyon

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    The Crazy Woman

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    Gwendolyn Brooks

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    The Embrace

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    Mark Doty

    Song Collection: Old Addresses

    The Fish

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    Elizabeth Bishop

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    The Junction, On a Warm Afternoon

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    Howard Nemerov

    The Right Thing

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    Theodore Roethke

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    The Sage

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    Denise Levertov

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    The Serpent

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    Theodore Roethke

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    The Sick Wife

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    Jane Kenyon

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    The Total Stranger in the Garden

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    Thius, King of Orf

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    Three Donald Hall Songs

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    To My Old Addresses

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    Kenneth Koch

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    Toothbrush Time

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    Twilight: After Haying

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    Wheel of the Oxcart

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    Videos

    Recordings

    Joyce & Tony: Live at Wigmore Hall

    (William Bolcom, Celius Dougherty and Stephen Foster)

    2015

    An American Kaleidoscope

    (William Bolcom, John Woods Duke and Ned Rorem)

    2012

    Something to Sing About

    (Samuel Barber, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, John Harbison, Charles Ives and Ned Rorem)

    2011

    Serious Fun!

    (David N. Baker and William Bolcom)

    2005

    American Classics: William Bolcom: Songs

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    2004

    American Classics: Songs of Innocence and Experience

    (William Bolcom)

    2004

    Cabaret Songs (Complete)

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    2003

    Voices of Our Time - Dawn Upshaw

    (William Bolcom, Ruth Crawford Seeger, John Harbison, George Crumb and Charles Ives)

    2000

    Blue - Complete Cabaret Songs

    (William Bolcom)

    2001

    A View From the Bridge

    (William Bolcom)

    1999

    Moonlight Bay

    (William Bolcom, Oley Speaks, George M. Cohan, Paul Dresser, Victor Herbert and Carrie Jacobs-Bond)

    1999

    Open House

    (Robert Beaser and William Bolcom)

    1998

    American Anthem: From Ragtime to Art Song

    (Samuel Barber, Lee Hoiby, Charles Ives, John Musto, John Jacob Niles, Ned Rorem, Traditional, Aaron Copland and William Bolcom)

    1998

    Sure on This Shining Night

    (Samuel Barber, George Whitefield Chadwick, Charles Ives, John Corigliano, Aaron Copland, William Bolcom, Ned Rorem, Richard Hageman, Charles Griffes, Victor Herbert, Horatio Parker, John Musto, Amy Marcy Beach, Theodore Chanler and Virgil Thomson)

    1997

    American Songbook - The American Music Collection, Vol. 3

    (Amy Marcy Beach, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Betty Jackson King, Libby Larsen and Kurt Weill)

    1996

    American Song Recital

    (Leonard Bernstein, William Bolcom, Paul Bowles, John Corigliano, John Woods Duke, Richard Hundley, Lori Laitman, John Musto and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    1992

    Songs of America

    (William Bolcom, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Stephen Foster, Charles Ives, Carrie Jacobs-Bond, Sergius Kagen, Theodore Roethke, Ned Rorem, Carl Sandburg, William Jay Smith and Gertrude Stein)

    1988

    Blah Blah Blah & Other Trifles

    (David N. Baker, Leonard Bernstein and William Bolcom)

    1988

    Heartbeats: The AIDS Quilt Songbook

    (William Bolcom, Chris DeBlasio, John Harbison, Libby Larsen, John Musto and Donald Wheelock)

    1980

    Sheet Music

    I Will Breathe a Mountain

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Pity Me Not Because the Light of Day
    2. How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around
    3. The Crazy Woman
    4. Just Once Text: Anne Sexton
    5. Never More Will The Wind
    6. The Sage Text: Denise Levertov
    7. O To Be a Dragon
    8. The Bustle in a House
    9. I Saw Eternity
    10. Night Practice
    11. The Fish

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Laura Sonnets

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): I. Sonetto 5
    II. Sonetto 90
    III. Sonetto 267
    IV. Sonetto 286
    V. Sonetto 292

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Let Evening Come

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Ailey, Baldwin, Floyd, Killens, and Mayfield
    2. 'Tis Not That Dying Hurts Us So
    3. Let Evening Come

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Minicabs

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Old Addresses

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Lady Death
    2. Histrion
    3. Ballad of the Landlord
    4. The Embrace
    5. Africa
    6. To My Old Addresses

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

    Open House

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Open House
    2. Give Way, Ye Gates
    3. The Waking
    4. The Serpent
    5. I Knew a Woman
    6. First Meditation
    7. The Right Thing

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

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