Stephen Albert

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This article is about the American composer. For the Australian actor, Baamba, see Stephen Albert (actor).
Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert (6 February 1941 – 27 December 1992)[1] was an American composer.

Biography[edit]

Born in New York City, Albert began his musical training on the piano, French horn, and trumpet as a youngster. He first studied composition at the age of 15 with Elie Siegmeister,[2] and enrolled two years later at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Bernard Rogers. Following composition lessons in Stockholm with Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Albert studied with Joseph Castaldo at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (BM 1962); in 1963 he worked with George Rochberg at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1965 he won a Rome Fellowship to study in Rome at the American Academy. [3]

From 1985 to 1988 he worked as the Seattle Symphony's composer-in-residence.[1][4]

His notable students included Daniel Asia.

Albert was killed in an automobile accident on Cape Cod on December 27, 1992.[5][6][7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Stephen Albert won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Symphony No. 1, RiverRun.[5][6] He posthumously won a Grammy Award in 1995 in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category for his Cello Concerto as performed by Yo-Yo Ma[8] in a 1990 recording with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Zinman.[9]

The slow movement and emotional core of Christopher Rouse's 1994 Symphony No. 2 is dedicated to the memory of Albert, who was a colleague and close friend of Rouse.[10] The work is recorded on TELARC CD-80452, issued in 1997.

Works[edit]

A number of his works were based on James Joyce texts, including "Tapioca Pudding," "Winter Canticle" and "Ecce puer" from Joyce's poem of the same name.[11]

His famous Concerto for Cello and Orchestra started out as a request by the Baltimore Symphony in 1987 for a 15 minute orchestral piece. In 1988 the commission was changed to a concerto for Yo-Yo Ma. The composer credited Ma with his help completing the work. Albert started with material drawn two earlier works from 1988, "Anthem and Processionals" and "The Stone Harp." He started the composition in 1989 and finished in 1990. The premiere was on March 31, 1990 and featured Yo-Yo Ma along with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Zinman. A revised version was featured on a 1993 album, "The New York Album."[12]

According to Yo-Yo Ma, the composition was a "kind of catharsis." It incorporated struggles in his life, including his writer's blocks and the death of his father. The work is dedicated to the memory of his father.[13]

Orchestral[edit]

Concertante[edit]

  • Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (1990) - 30 minutes
  • Distant Hills (orchestra version) (1989) - 31 minutes
  • Flower of the Mountain from “Distant Hills” (orchestra version) (1985) - 16 minutes
  • In Concordiam (1986) - 17 minutes
  • Into Eclipse (orchestra with voice version) (1981) - 30 minutes
  • Sun’s Heat from “Distant Hills” (orchestra version) (1989) - 15 minutes
  • Winter Canticle (1991) - 14 minutes
  • Wolf Time (1968) - 20 minutes

Ensemble (7 or more players)[edit]

  • Distant Hills (chamber version) (1989) - 31 minutes
  • Flower of the Mountain from “Distant Hills” (chamber version) (1985) - 16 minutes
  • Sun’s Heat from “Distant Hills” (chamber version) (1989) - 15 minutes
  • TreeStone (1983) - 45 minutes

Chamber[edit]

  • Tribute (1988) - 9 minutes

Choral[edit]

  • Bacchae: A Ceremony in Music (1967) - 8 minutes

Vocal[edit]

  • Ecce Puer (1992) - 6 minutes
  • Rilke Song - On Nights Like This (1991) - 5 minutes
  • The Stone Harp (1988) - 14 minutes
  • To Wake the Dead (1977) - 25 minutes
  • Wedding Songs (1964) - 10 minutes

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Randel, Don Michael, ed. (1996). "Albert, Stephen (Joel)". The Harvard biographical dictionary of music. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-674-37299-9. 
  2. ^ "Albert, Stephen Joel". Who Was Who in America, 1993-1996, vol. 11. New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. 1996. p. 3. ISBN 0-8379-0225-8. 
  3. ^ "History of the Rome Prize in Music Composition" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Stephen Albert". G. Schirmer Inc. October 1996. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Kozinn, Allan (December 29, 1992). "Stephen J. Albert, 51, Composer; Won a Pulitzer for His 'Riverrun'". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Stephen Albert". Variety. January 4, 1993. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ Wigler, Stephen (December 29, 1992). "Stephen Albert, his melodious music helped define the 'New Romanticism'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ "The 1995 Grammy Winners". The New York Times. March 3, 1995. Retrieved June 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ Grayson, David. Liner notes to "The New York Album." 1994.
  10. ^ Rouse, Christopher. Symphony No. 2: Program Note by the Composer. 1994. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Grayson, David.
  12. ^ Grayson, David.
  13. ^ Grayson, David.
  14. ^ Price, Walter (April 23, 1989). "STEPHEN ALBERT: Symphony "RiverRun"; National Symphony...". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ Dickinson, Peter (June 1990). "Albert In Concordiam; Treestone". Gramophone. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ Schwartz, Steve (August 2007). "ALBERT: Symphony No. 1 'RiverRun'. Symphony No. 2. - Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Paul Polivnick.". Classical CD Review. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]