Bernard Rands

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Bernard Rands (born 2 March 1934 in Sheffield, England)[1] is a British-American contemporary classical music composer. He studied music and English literature at the University of Wales, Bangor,[2] and composition with Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna in Darmstadt, Germany, and with Luigi Dallapiccola and Luciano Berio in Milan, Italy. He held residencies at Princeton University, the University of Illinois, and the University of York before emigrating to the United States in 1975; he became a U.S. citizen in 1983. In 1984, Rands's Canti del Sole, premiered by Paul Sperry, Zubin Mehta, and the New York Philharmonic, won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.[3] He has since taught at the University of California, San Diego, the Juilliard School, Yale University, and Boston University. From 1988 to 2005 he taught at Harvard University, where he is Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music Emeritus.

Rands has received many awards for his work, and was elected and inducted into The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004. From 1989 to 1995 he was composer-in-residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rands's music is widely recorded. The recording of his Canti D'Amor by the men's vocal ensemble Chanticleer won a Grammy Award in 2000.[4] Rands is married to American composer Augusta Read Thomas.[5]






  • Ballad 1 (1970), for mezzo-soprano solo & ensemble
    written for SONOR ensemble, a group formed by Rands. Text by Gilbert Sorrentino.
  • Ballad 2 (1970), for female voice & piano
    commissioned by Jane Manning
  • Metalepsis 2 (1971), for mezzo-soprano solo, small choir & chamber orchestra
    commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, who gave the première in 1972 with soprano Cathy Berberian, conducted by Luciano Berio at the English Bach Festival
  • Ballad 3 (1973), for soprano & tape (plus bell)
  • Wildtrack 2 (1973), for soprano solo & orchestra
  • Canti Lunatici (1980), for soprano & ensemble/orchestra
  • déjà 2 (1980), for female voice solo & ensemble
  • Canti del Sole (1984), for tenor solo & ensemble/orchestra
  • Canti dell'Eclisse (1992), for bass solo & ensemble/orchestra
  • Walcott Songs (2004), for mezzo-soprano & cello
    song-cycle to texts by Derek Walcott, commissioned by the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival; premièred in the Seiji Ozawa Hall in January 2005 by Abigail Fischer (mezzo-soprano) and Norman Fischer (cello)
  • again... (2006), for mezzo-soprano & ensemble
    commissioned by Network for New Music, and premièred by that ensemble in November 2006 with mezzos-soprano Janice Felty


Solo instrumental[edit]

  • Tre Espressione (1960), for piano
  • Formants 1 - Les Gestes (1965), for harp
  • Memo 1 (1971), for contrabass
    commissioned by Barry Guy; premièred at the English Bach Festival, Oxford in 1972
  • Memo 2 (1973), for trombone
  • Memo 3 (1989), for cello
  • Memo 4 (1997), for flute
    commissioned by Ekkehart Trenknner for Judith Pierce, who gave the work's première in 1997
  • Memo 5 (1975), for piano
  • Memo 6 (1999), for alto saxophone
  • Memo 7 (2000), for female voice
  • Memo 8 (2000), for oboe
  • HBDZ (2001), for piano
  • Preludes (2007), for piano
  • Three Piano Pieces (2010)

Music theatre[edit]

  • Ballad 2 (1970), for female voice & piano
    commissioned by Jane Manning
  • Ballad 3 (1973), for soprano & tape (plus bell)
  • Memo 2B (1980), for trombone and female mime
  • Memo 2D (1980), for trombone, string quartet and female mime


  • Sound Patterns 1 (1967), for voices & hands
  • Sound Patterns 2 (1967), for voices, percussion and miscellaneous instruments
  • Per Esempio (1969), for youth orchestra
  • Sound Patterns 3 (1969), for voices (project)
  • Sound Patterns 4 (1969), for miscellaneous instrumental groups (graphic score)
  • Agenda (1970), for youth orchestra


In 2014 Rands was inducted to The Lincoln Academy of Illinois as a Laureate of the Arts and was awarded the Order of Lincoln (the state's highest honor) by the governor of Illinois.[7]


  1. ^ "Bernard Rands: Concerts, Biography and News". BBC. Archived from the original on 10 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Schott Music". Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  3. ^ ""Canti del Sole" for Tenor and Orchestra, by Bernard Rands". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  4. ^ "EAM: Bernard Rands Celebrates 85". Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Bernard Rands : Composer".
  6. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (22 July 2014). "At 50, Festival Is Reunion of Sorts". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Laureates by Year - The Lincoln Academy of Illinois". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  • Kennedy, Michael and Kennedy, Joyce Bourne (eds.) (2006) "Rands, Bernard" The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd rev.) Oxford University Press, Oxford, ISBN 0-19-861459-4

External links[edit]