Michael Colgrass (b. 1932) began his musical career in Chicago where his first professional experiences were as a jazz drummer (1944-49). He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1954 with a degree in performance and composition and his studies included training with Darius Milhaud at the Aspen Festival and Lukas Foss at Tanglewood. He served two years as timpanist in the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart, Germany and then spent eleven years supporting his composing as a free-lance percussionist in New York City where his wide-ranging performance venues included the New York Philharmonic, American Ballet Theater, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the original West Side Story orchestra on Broadway, the Columbia Recording Orchestra’s Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky series, and numerous ballet, opera and jazz ensembles. He organized the percussion sections for Gunther Schuller’s recordings and concerts, as well as for premieres of new works by John Cage, Elliott Carter, Edgard Varese, and many others. During this New York period he continued to study composition with Wallingford Riegger (1958) and Ben Weber (1958-60).
Colgrass has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, The Boston Symphony (twice), The Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (twice), the National Arts Centre Orchestra (twice), Canadian Broadcast Corporation, The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Manhattan and Muir String Quartets, The Brighton Festival in England, The Fromm and Ford Foundations, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and numerous other orchestras, chamber groups, choral groups and soloists.
He won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Déjà vu, which was commissioned and premiered by the New York Philharmonic. In addition, he received an Emmy Award in 1982 for a PBS documentary “Soundings: The Music of Michael Colgrass.” He has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships, A Rockerfeller Grant, First Prize in the Barlow and Sudler International Wind Ensemble Competitions, and the 1988 Jules Leger Prize for Chamber Music.
Among his most recent works are Ghosts of Pangea (2000) for orchestra, commissioned by the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, for their millennium celebration, Dream Dancer (2001) for alto saxophone and wind orchestra, commissioned by the World-Wide Concurrent Premieres & Commissioning Fund, Inc. for 25 wind ensembles, and Crossworlds (2002) for flute piano and orchestra commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and premiered with soloists Marina Piccinini and Andreas Heafliger.
As an author, Colgrass recently published his first book, My Lessons With Kumi, a teaching tale and exercise book, outlining his techniques for performance and creativity. He also gives workshops throughout the world on the psychology and technique of performance, drawing on his extensive American and European studies in a wide spectrum of performing arts.
He lives in Toronto and makes his living internationally as a composer. His wife, Ulla, is a journalist and editor who writes about music and art.
Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation Solo Compositions Mystic With A Credit Card Trombone, Piano Tales Of Power Piano Te Tuma Te Papa Sets bongos, Suspended Cymbal, Marimba, Triangle, Crotales, Piccolo Wood Block, Stainless steel kitchen bowls, Cowbell, Cymbal, Gong, Wood Block, Vibraphone, Temple Bowls, Conga, Bass Drum, Djembe, Prepared Piano Wild Riot Of The Shaman’s Dreams Flute Wolf solo Cello Wolf Cello Songs Mystery Flowers Of Spring solo soprano voice, pno. New PeopleSeven Songs for Mezzo Soprano, Viola and Piano Mezzo Soprano, Viola, Piano Chamber Music Demon 5:00 or 011:00 Solo amp. Piano; pre-recorded tape; boy – girl conversation; 2 0 3(B.Cl.) 1, A.Sax. – 4 4 3 1; 4Perc. Str. FashbacksFor Brass Quintet full score, trumpet in, trumpet in, Horn in F, trombone, tuba Folklines full score, String quartet Hammer and Bow Violin, Marimba Memento(Version for Two Pianos) 2 Pianos 4 Hands Pan Trio Mixed Ensemble Rhapsody clarinet in Bb, Violin, Piano Strangers- Irreconcilable Variations full score, cl., vla., pno. Orchestra Divertimento 8:00 Perc. Pno. Str. Ghosts of Pangea: A Fantasy of Cultures Meetingfor Orchestra 22:00 3(2nd dbl. Picc., 3rd dbl. Alto Fl.) 2(2nd dbl. E.H.) 3(B.Cl., 2nd dbl. Eb Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; 5Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str. Letter From Mozart Flute, Tenor, Clarinet, Harp, Bassoon, Trumpet, Tuba, Cello, Violin I, Violin II, ContraBass, Viola, Piano, Oboe, Percussion, Horn Letter from Mozart 15:00 2(dbl. Picc./dbl.A.Fl.) 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; 4Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str. The Schubert Birds 17:00 2(dbl. Picc./dbl.A.Fl.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(Eb Cl./dbl.B.Cl.) 2(dbl.Cbsn) – 2 2 0 0; 3Perc. Str. Sea Shadows 6:00 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Hp. Str. Seventeen 10:00 3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str. Soloist and Orchestra Arias 30:00 Solo clarinet; 2 (fl. 1 dbl. a. fl.; fl. 2 dbl. picc.)/1/eng.hn./b.cl./1/cbn. – 2 2 2 1; Timp. 3Perc. Cel. Hp. Str. Aurasfor Harp and Orchestra 17:00 Solo harp; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Perc. Pno. Cel. Str. Chaconne for Viola and Orchestra 30:00 Solo Vla.; 3(dbl. Picc.) 0 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str. Concertmasters for Three Violins and Orchestra 20:00 Solo Vln. (3); 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Cel. Hpschd., 2Hp. Str. Crossworlds: Concerto for Flute and Piano 36:00 Solo fl., solo pno.; picc./2(eng.hn.)/Eb cl./1/b.cl. – 4 2 2 0; Timp. 4Perc. Cel. Hp Str. Delta 18:00 Solo violin, cello, percussion; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0; Str. Déjà Vufor Percussion Quartet and Orchestra 18:00 Solo percussion (4); 3(Picc.) 0 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Pno. Cel., 2Hp. Jazz bass. Str. Memento for Two Pianos and Orchestra 17:00 Solo piano (2); picc./2/e.hn./2/b.cl./2/cbn.; 4/3/3/0; 4Perc. Cel. Hp. Str. Nightingale, Inc. 1:00:00 Solo lyric soprano, high male voice, baritone (3), bass voice; SATB chorus; pno., elec. pno., drum set, chimes, vib., jazz sax.(fl., cl.) Side by Sidefor Harpsichord, altered Piano and Orchestra 20:00 Solo Hpsch.(db. Pno.); 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 3(E-flat Cl., B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 2 2 2(B.Tbn.) 0; Timp. 3Perc. Cel. Hp. Str. Snow Walker 21:00 Solo organ; 2 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str. Urban Requiem 28:00 Solo SATB saxophones; fl.(2) (picc.), a. fl., ob.(2), eng.hn., cl.(2), b.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), tba.; cb., timp., perc.(4), synth., hp. Chorus and Orchestra Best Wishes U.S.A. 29:00 Solo SATB voices; SATB chorus (2); 2 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Elec.Pno. Cel. Gtr. Banjo, Harmonica, Ukulele, Accordian, jazz A.Sax., jazz bass; Str. Image of Man: A Concert Theatre Piece for Chorus and Orchestra 20:00 Solo soprano, alto (2), tenor, baritone, bass voices; actor, hecklers; SATB chorus; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Str. Image Of Man-Concert Th Theatre of the Universe 17:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass voices; SATB chorus; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; perc.(4), pno., cel., 2Hp. str. Zululandfor Wind Ensemble and Voices 9:45 Mixed Voices; Picc., 6Fl., 2Ob., E-flat Cl., 6Cl., B.Cl., 2Bsn.(2nd dbl. Cbsn.), S.Sax., A.Sax., T.Sax., Bar.Sax – 6Tpt., 4Hn., 4Tbn., Treble Euph., Euph., Tu., Cb.; Timp. 6Perc. Wind Ensemble Arctic Dreams 27:00 fl.(6), ob.(3), Eb cl., cl.(6), b.cl., cb.cl., bsn.(3), cbsn., s.sax., a.sax., b.sax.; hn.(6), tpt.(6), tbn.(4), b. tbn.(2), bar.hn.(2), tba.(2); cb., timp., perc.(4), pno./cel., hp. Bali 8′ Wind Ensemble Dream Dancer 21:00 Solo alto sax.; fl.(3) (dbl. picc., alto fl.), ob.(2) (2-dbl. eng.hn.), cl.(2) (Eb cl.), b.cl., bsn.(2), cbsn.; hn.(4), tpt.(3), tbn.(3), tba.; cel./pno., hp., timp., perc.(4) Déjà Vu-Mixed Percussion Raag Malafor Wind Ensemble 13:00 6Fl.(1dbl. Picc.), 2Ob., 6Cl., B.Cl., Eb Contralto Cl., 2Bsn., A.Sax., T.Sax., B.Sax.; 4Hn., 6Tpt., 3Tbn., Euph., Tba.; 5Perc.(inc. Timp.) Synth., Pno. Winds Of Nagual Concert Band The Winds of Nagual 25:00 fl.(6) (fl. 1-3 dbl. picc.; fl. 5-6 dbl. a. fl.), Eb cl, cl.(6), ca.cl., b.cl., cb.cl., cbsn., s.sax., a.sax.; hn.(6), tpt.(6) (tpt. 5-6 dbl. cor.), flg. hn., tbn.(4), b. tbn.(2), bar.hn., tba.; cb., perc., pno.(cel.), hp. Young Band Apache Lullaby Concert Band Apache Lullaby 4’45” School Band Bali Concert Band Beethoven Machine, The Concert Band The Beethoven Machine 6′ School Band Déjà Vufor Percussion Quartet and Orchestra (Band Setting) 18:00 Solo percussion (4); fl.(6) (2 dbl. picc.; 2 dbl.a. fl.), cl.(6) (1 dbl. Eb cl.; 1 dbl. b.cl.), cb.cl., bsn.(3)(cbsn.), s.sax.(dbl. a.sax.); hn.(4), tpt.(6) (2 dbl. flg. hn.), tbn.(6), bar.hn., tba.; cb.(2), pno., cel., hp.(2) Gotta Make Noise Concert Band Gotta Make Noise 3’30” School Band Mysterious Village Concert Band Musical Theater Something’s Gonna Happen(The Tower) 45:00 Minimum 18 singing/acting children; opt. mimed parts; kybd., fl. Virgil’s Dream 35:00 Mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone; 4 instrumentalists (act, mime, sing); cl., jazz bass, elec. pno.(opt. acoustic pno.), perc.(glsp., vib., drum set, congas, maracas)
THE SCHUBERT BIRDS
Colgrass’s imagination gave us some fine solo writing, and some vivid color…
–Mark DeVoto, Boston Music Intelligencer
for Wind Ensemble and Voices