Richard Edward Wilson

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Richard Edward Wilson
Rw publicity photo 1.jpg
Born (1941-05-15) May 15, 1941 (age 74)
Cleveland, Ohio,
United States
Residence Poughkeepsie, New York
Education Harvard University, Rutgers University
Occupation Composer, pianist, professor
Website
www.richardwilson.org

Richard Edward Wilson (born May 15, 1941) is an American composer of orchestral, operatic, instrumental, and chamber music. Wilson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was at a young age drawn to the concerts of George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1963, Wilson graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University, where he studied with Robert Moevs and Randall Thompson. He later received an MA from Rutgers University. He is currently Mary Conover Mellon Professor of Music at Vassar College, where he has taught since 1966. Since 1992 he has been composer-in-residence with the American Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Wilson's compositions are marked by a stringent yet lyrical atonality which often sets him apart from the established schools of modern American music: minimalism, twelve-tone, neo-romanticism, and avant-garde. Two of his works, Eclogue for solo piano, and his String Quartet No. 3, are considered high points of twentieth-century American music. His large-scale orchestral works include the Symphony No. 1, premiered by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Articulations, written for the San Francisco Symphony. Wilson is also the composer of the one-act whimsical opera, Æthelred the Unready, based on the exploits of the ill-advised Saxon king, Ethelred II of England.

He classified the three types of irregular resolutions of dominant seventh chords.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Wilson has been praised by 21st Century Music as a "splendidly talented and highly accomplished composer whose music rewards seeking out" [2] and by the New York Sun as "possessed of a hard-won idiom that has grown and developed over the years into a probing blend of wit, classic form, modern harmony, and impressionistic color."

The New Yorker has called his String Quartet No. 3 a "richly wrought and unusual composition," [1] while the New York Times has deemed it "a work of substance and expressivity ... [that] merits a place in the active repertory."

In a review of a recent concert, Bernard Holland of the New York Times wrote, "Richard Wilson's Diablerie [2] stood apart, contemporary in its vocabulary and grammar but pursuing always the long, lyrical, sometimes operatically expressive lines and Romantic-era concerto writing."[3] A review in Strings Magazine heralded the same composition as "another gem in Wilson's mélange of solo pieces." [4]

Honors[edit]

In 2004 Wilson received an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, from which he previously received the Walter Hinrichsen Award. Other recent honors include: the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Cleveland Arts Prize; residencies at the Bogliasco Foundation and the Bellagio Center in Italy; and commissions from the Koussevitsky and Fromm Foundations, Chamber Music America, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Works list[edit]

Orchestra[edit]

  • (1970) Initiation [3]
  • (1979) Violin Concerto [4]
  • (1983) Bassoon Concerto [5]
  • (1984) Symphony No. 1 [6]
  • (1986) Symphony No. 2 [7]
  • (1991) Piano Concerto [8]
  • (1991) Articulations[9]
  • (1994) Agitations[10]
  • (1994) Triple Concerto [11]
  • (1995) Pamietam[12]
  • (1997) A Child's London[13]
  • (1999) Intimations[14]
  • (2003) Peregrinations[15]
  • (2003) Silhouette with Revelry[16]
  • (2004) Four Love Songs[17]
  • (2006) Chamisha Tehillim[18]
  • (2008) The Cello Has Many Secrets[19]
  • (2010) Symphony No. 3
  • (2010) Soundcheck

Works for mixed ensemble[edit]

  • (1963) Suite for Five Players[20]
  • (1964) Trio for Oboe, Violin and Cello [21]
  • (1965) Fantasy and Variations[22]
  • (1967) Concert Piece[23]
  • (1969) Music for Violin and Cello[24]
  • (1969) Quartet for Flutes, Bass, and Harpsichord [25]
  • (1974) Wind Quintet[][26]
  • (1977) Canzona[27]
  • (1978) Serenade: Variations on a Simple March[28]
  • (1979) Deux pas de Trois[29]
  • (1980) Figuration[30]
  • (1981) Short Notice[31]
  • (1981) Gnomics[32]
  • (1982) Character Studies[33]
  • (1982) Dithyramb[34]
  • (1983) Suite for Winds [35]
  • (1984) Line Drawings[36]
  • (1988) Contentions[37]
  • (1989) Sonata for Viola and Piano [38]
  • (1990) Affirmations[39]
  • (1996) Three Interludes for Violin and Piano[40]
  • (2000) Motivations[41]
  • (2003) Piano Trio [42]
  • (2005) Brash Attacks[43]
  • (2005) Senza Furore[44]
  • (2011) Speculation [45]
  • (2011) Mixed Signals for Violin and Piano
  • (2012) Quintet for Clarinet and Strings on YouTube

Works for string quartet[edit]

  • (1969) String Quartet No. 1 [46]
  • (1977) String Quartet No. 2 [47]
  • (1982) String Quartet No. 3 [48]
  • (1998, 2001) String Quartet No. 4 [49]
  • (2008) String Quartet No. 5

Works for solo piano[edit]

  • (1963) Three Short Pieces for Piano[50]
  • (1974) Eclogue[51]
  • (1979) Sour Flowers
  • (1984) A Child's London[52]
  • (1985) Fixations[53]
  • (1986) Intercalations[54]
  • (2009) Mnemonics
  • (2013) Charades

Works for solo instruments[edit]

  • (1971) Music for Solo Cello[55]
  • (1972) Music for Solo Flute[56]
  • (1980) Profound Utterances[57]
  • (1985) Flutations[58]
  • (1987) Lord Chesterfield to His Son[59]
  • (1988) Music for Solo Viola[60]
  • (1989) Intonations[61]
  • (1992) Civilization and Its Discontents[62]
  • (1995) Touchstones[63]
  • (2000) Ironies[64]
  • (2004) Diablerie[65]
  • (2003) Organicity[66]
  • (2006) Gravitas[67]

Works for voice[edit]

  • (1975) The Ballad of Longwood Glen[68]
  • (1980) A Theory[69]
  • (1984) Three Painters[70]
  • (1988) Tribulations[71]
  • (1990) Persuasions[72]
  • (1991) The Second Law[73]
  • (1992) On the Street[74]
  • (1995) Five Love Songs on Poems by John Skelton[75]
  • (1996) Lights on the River[76]
  • (1996) Transfigured Goat[77]
  • (2000) Three Songs on Poems by John Ashbery[78]
  • (2005) Visits to St. Elizabeth's [79]
  • (2006) Three Songs on Poems by Paul Kane[80]
  • (2006) I Walked Through the Medieval Town[81]
  • (2009) Two Songs on Poems by Eamon Grennan
  • (2009) Four Songs on Poems by John Updike
  • (2012) With Lullay, Lullay Like a Child
  • (2013) Miss Foggerty's Cake
  • (2013) Psalm 42 in Gaelic on YouTube

Works for choir[edit]

  • (1968) A Dissolve[82]
  • (1968) Can[83]
  • (1968) Light in Spring Poplars[84]
  • (1968, 1972) In Schrafft's[85]
  • (1969) Soaking[86]
  • (1970) Home From the Range[87]
  • (1971) Elegy[88]
  • (1972) Hunter's Moon[89]
  • (1976) August 22[90]
  • (1995) Poor Warren[91]
  • (2013) Fables: Three Poems of Ennis Rees after Aesop

Opera[edit]

  • (1994, 2001) Aethelred the Unready[92]

Concert band[edit]

  • (1981) Eleven Sumner Place[93]
  • (1987) Jubilation[94]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  • International Who's Who
  • "Richard Wilson and His Music" by Bernard Jacobson
  • "Richard Wilson," entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001), vol 27, p. 425.
  • "Richard Wilson," entry in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (1986), vol. 4, pp. 539–40.
  • "Richard Wilson," entry in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 5th edition with supplement (1971), ed. N. Slonimsky, p. 254.
  • "Richard Wilson," entry in The Norton/Grove Concise Encyclopedia of Music (1994), ed. Stanley Sadie, p. 891.
  • James Reel: "A Modernist with a Taste for the Premodern: Composer Richard Wilson" Fanfare, xxiv/4 (2001), 93-6, 98.
  • Ping-Ting Lan: New Resources in Twentieth-Century Piano Music and Richard Wilson’s "Eclogue" (diss., U. of North Texas, 1974).
  • Mary Frantz: Richard Wilson: The Solo Piano Works (diss., U. of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992).

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Wilson (8 March 2011). "Irregular resolutions of one dominant seventh into another" (PDF). EUNOMIOS. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  2. ^ David Cleary (1 April 2001). "Affirming Richard Wilson" (PDF). 21st Century Music. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  3. ^ Bernard Holland (26 June 2006). "Piano Performances Stand Out at Mannes College Festival". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  4. ^ Jennifer Caine (1 July 2008). "Diablerie for Solo Violin". Strings Magazine. Retrieved 2011-04-26.