Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wind Band Composer Snapshot: Morton Gould

Morton Gould(1913-1996) American Pianist/Composer/Conductor

- child prodigy with abilities in improvisation and composition(writing at age 6)
- studied at the Institute of Musical Art(Now Julliard)
- During the Great Depression(in his teens) he worked in playing piano in movie theaters, as well as with vaudeville acts in NYC.
- When Radio City Music Hall opened(1932), he was hired as the staff pianist.

Morton Gould Circa 1941

- By 1935, he was conducting and arranging orchestral programs for New York's WOR radio station, where he reached a national audience. He combined popular music with classical.
- Was a sought after orchestral conductor in America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, and Australia. With his orchestra, he recorded music of many classical standards, including Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on which he also played the piano.

- Grammy Award(1966) for his recording of Ives' 1st Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. - received the American Symphony Orchestra League's Gold Baton Award(1983).
- President of ASCAP(1986-1994). [American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers]
- He was adept at incorporating styles into his repertoire as they emerged, including a rapping narrator and a singing fire department into commissions for the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony.
- Received the Kennedy Center Honor in recognition of a lifetime contributions to American culture(1994).
- Posthumously award a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award(2005)

- Wrote for orchestra, film, broadway, ballet, piano, voice, and band.

Major Works for Band:
Symphony No. 4 for Band or West Point Symphony(1952) 16Min Grade VI
- In 2 movements: I. Epitaphs and II. Marches
- Premiered April 13th 1952 at West Point with the composer conducting
- A few pieces were composed for the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the US Military Academy
- inspired partly by the cemetery on the West Point grounds, was to evoke the Long Gray Line, the generations of Army soldiers on parade.

Santa Fe Saga(1956) 10min Grade V
 - commissioned by Dr. Edwin Franko Goldman
- Premiered on Mar. 9, 1956 at the American Bandmasters Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico
- 4 distinct sections “Rio Grande”, “Round-up”, “Wagon Train”, and “Fiesta”
- Was collaboration with ballet choreographer. Elliot Feld.
- Based upon the sounds of folk life in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

- Commissioned by Dr. William D. Revelli, University of Michigan for CBDNA
- Premiered1962, with the composer conducting the Indiana University Symphonic Band.
- In 5 movments: I. Slow, mysterious,II. Moving exaltedly, III. Moving forcefully, IV. Slow—quietly vibrant, V. Brisk-fleeting.

Mini-Suite for Band(1968) 4:30Min Grade II
- 3 Movements: I. Birthday March, II. A Tender Waltz, III. Bell Carol
- Transcribed from piano works written for his pre-teen daughters, Abby and Deborah
- Music for young band by a master composer

Gould Conducting the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl

"Composing is my life blood." - Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Morton Gould

No comments: