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Douglas Townsend (1921-2012)

Douglas Townsend, composerAmerican composer and native New Yorker Douglas Townsend was still actively composing, teaching and writing until just days before his death, at age 90, in Manhattan on August 1, 2012. After graduating from Manhattan's famed High School of Music and Art he privately studied composition with a succession of well-known composers of the day: Tibor Serly, Stefan Wolpe, Aaron Copland, Otto Luening, and Felix Greissle. He enjoyed early success when, at only 17 years of age, his Contra Dances won a nationwide contest for student composers and was performed by the CBS Symphony on a national radio broadcast (Bernard Herrmann conducting). Then, at age 24, his Sonatina for Piano No. 1 was premiered by concert pianist Ray Lev at Carnegie Hall. Over the next seven decades and into his final year, 2012, Townsend continued to compose over 100 original works: symphonies, concertos, chamber and ballet music, film scores, and incidental music for theatrical productions. His vocal works include operas, operettas and choral music; and he has written extensively for wind ensembles and concert bands. He was the recipient of numerous commissions and grants, including ones from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Music Center, Meet the Composer, and ASCAP. In 2012 he won the Composers Concordance "Generations" Composition Competition in the category "age 70 and up" for his Dr. Jolly's Quick Step for brass quintet and percussion. Townsend's original works are published by C.F. Peters, Carl Fischer, Theodore Presser, Boosey & Hawkes, Alfred, Shawnee & Tetra/Continuo, recorded, videotaped, podcast, broadcast, performed and/or reviewed, as have his editions of over 60 compositions from the 18th and 19th centuries which he brought to light and prepared for performance with the aid of numerous research grants.

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Townsend Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
Sonatina for Piano No. 1(1943)
Septet for Brass (1945)
Four Characteristic Pieces, piano (1947)
Penny Opera: Simple Simon Tips His Hat, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Ivan and His Shadow, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Fox and Crow, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Ant and Grasshopper, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Baker and Poet, opera (1947)
Seven Pieces, piano (1947)
Scherzo, trombone (or euphonium or baritone horn) and piano (1948)
Fantasy, small orchestra (1949)
Divertimento, fl, ob, cl, bsn and strings (1949)
Canzona, flute, viola and bassoon (1950)
Sonatina for Piano No. 2 (1950)
By Special Arrangement, medium voice, violin, 2 guitar (classical/acoustic) and banjo (1951) [arr. of traditional songs]
Paul Bunyan and the Whistling River, folk operetta (1951)
Paul Bunyan and the Termites, folk operetta (1951)
The Infinite: A Modern Ballet, piano 4-hands (1952; arr. 2009 for orchestra)
Three Ravens, A Choral Fantasy, chorus [SATTBB] (1953)
Steamboat Bill, folk operetta, in one act (1953)
Ballet Suite, 3 clarinets (1954)
8 x 8: Variations on a Theme by Milhaud, film score, soprano recorder (or picc or fl), tpt (or cl or ob), vc (or bsn) and pf (1955)
    - written for Hans Richterís classic surrealist film "8 x 8: A Chess Sonata for Film"
    - 8 x 8: Dance Improvisation and Fugue, recorder (or flute or piccolo) and piano (1956)
Adagio for Strings, string orchestra (1955)
Lima Beans, chamber opera (1955) [libretto: Alfred Kreymborg]
Hush'd be the Camps Today, narrator, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1955) [text: Walt Whitman]
Chamber Concerto No. 1, violin and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1956)
Pastoral, film score (1956) [director: Irving Kriesberg]
Suite for Piano and Percussion (1956)
Build with One Hand, incidental music (1956) [for play by Joseph Kramm]
Four Fantasies on American Folk Songs, piano 4-hands (1956) (arr. for orchestra, 1957) [op. 4]
Duo for Violas (1957) [op. 5]
Tower Music, brass quintet (1957) [op. 7]
Symphony for Strings No. 1, string orchestra (1958)
Let's Away with Study, female chorus [SSAA] and woodwind quintet (1958) [text: 16th cent.]
Chamber Concerto No. 2, trombone (or baritone horn) and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1959)
The Floating Geezle, chamber opera (1960) [text: Oscar Brand] [for elementary or middle school voices]
Chamber Symphony No. 1, 9 winds (fl, ob, cl, bsn, 2 hn, tpt, trom, tuba) (1960)
Five Madrigals, chorus (1962; pub. 1988)
Trio for Three Flutes (or recorders) (1964) [also listed as "Suite for 3 Recorders"]
Nine Ecossaises, band (1965)
Chamber Concerto No. 3, flute, horn, piano and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1970)
In Memoriam: Adagio and Andante, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1972)
Suite No. 1 for String Orchestra (or String Quintet) (1972)
Sonatina, flute and piano (1974)
Chamber Symphony No. 2, 9 winds and strings (1975)
Eighteenth Century Air, solo brass quartet (2 trom/baritones/euphoniums, 2 tubas) and band (1976)
Christmas Carols from Lands Afar (4 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ) (1977)
Carols for Christmastide (3 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ) (1977)
Suite No. 2, string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977) [each mvt can be performed separately]
    - Fantasy on "All the Pretty Little Horses", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "The Streets of Laredo", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "Wee Cooper of Fife", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
Medley for a Lonesome Cowboy (3 pieces), chorus and piano (1978)
Betty Botter's Butter, solo soprano (or tenor), chorus and piano (1978)
Good King Wenceslas, solo tenor & bass, chorus and piano (1978) [op. 11, no. 4]
Suite of Carols (3 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ; or orchestra) (1978)
Three Sea Chanties, chorus and piano (1978)
The Chemical Song, chorus and jazz piano (1978) [text: teaches various chemical compounds of everyday materials]
Sleeping Innocence - a lullaby, chorus and piano (1979) [text: Bonnie Bowman] [op. 15, no. 1]
Symphony for Strings No. 2, string orchestra (1979)
Fantasy on Motives of Burt Bacharach, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1979)
Old Words to New Music: When Hearts in May, chorus and piano (1980)
Old Words to New Music: Friendship, chorus and piano (1980) [text: medieval]
Gentlewoman's Polka, band (1980)
Dr. Jolly's Quickstep, brass quintet and percussion (1981) [arr. 2010 for concert band]
Concertino for Piano and Four Diverse Instruments, piano, any 3 treble instruments and 1 bass instrument (1985)
    - Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra (1985)
    - Concertino for Piano and Four Diverse Instruments, piano, fl, ob, cl and bsn (1985; arr. 2008)
The Ridgefield Rag, piano 4-hands (1985; arr. 1985 for band; arr. 1986 for piano 4-hands and orchestra)
The 54th Street Rag, piano (1987) (arr. 1988 for piano and band; arr. 2010 for piano 4-hands and orchestra)
Triatina, string trio (violin, viola, cello) (1987)
Andante (In Memoriam), band (1989)
Fantasy on "Silent Night", band (1990)
Fantasy on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", band (1990)
Overture Concertante, 10 solo wind instruments (4 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn) and orchestra (1992)
Concerto in the Old Style, 3 violins and string orchestra (1994; arr. 2011 3 violins and piano)
Polonaise a la Chopin, piano (1995)
Rondino Scherzino, band (1997)
Go Tell Aunt Rhody, piano 4-hands (1998)
Russian Dance, youth string orchestra (1998)
The Welsh Flautist (10 traditional Welsh melodies arranged), flute and piano (1998)
Theme and Variations, youth string orchestra, w/opt. percussion (2000)
Quartets for Developing Violinists, 4 violins (2003)
    - Concertino, 2 solo violins and 2 violins (Douglas Townsend)
     - Song Without Words (Douglas Townsend)
     - Heidenröslein, D. 257 (Franz Schubert)
    - Ein feste Burg (J.S. Bach)
    - Scherzo (Douglas Townsend)
Six Fantasies on Christmas Carols, piano 4-hands (2003) [all mvts can be performed separately]
Galop, youth string orchestra (2004)
Fantasy on "Wassail Song", band (2006)
Three Fantasies on Christmas Carols, band (1990-2006)
Sonatina for Piano No. 3 (2006) [for youth performers]
Mass in Miniature, female chorus [SS or SSA] and piano (or organ) (2007)
Concerto for Oboe (or Bassoon) and Strings (or string quartet) (2008) [based on musical ideas of Domenico Scarlatti]
Three Fantasies on Christmas Carols, orchestra, and opt. chorus (1990-2008)
Ave Maria, soprano, alto and piano (or organ) (2010) [also arr. for female chorus [SA] and piano]
Children of Light, chorus (2010) [text: New Testament]
Two Rags and an Interlude, piano 4-hands and orchestra (2010) [contains Ridgefield Rag (1985) and 54th Street Rag (1987)]
In Memoriam 9/11 (The Lament for Sumer and Urim), 2 sopranos, narrator and piano (2011) [text: 4000 year old Sumerian]
A Simple Suite for Strings (5 mvts), youth string orchestra (or string quartet) (2011)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Townsend Links     ~ top of page ~
Dramatic/Theater
Penny Opera: Simple Simon Tips His Hat, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Ivan and His Shadow, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Fox and Crow, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Ant and Grasshopper, opera (1947)
Penny Opera: Baker and Poet, opera (1947)
Paul Bunyan and the Whistling River, folk operetta (1951)
Paul Bunyan and the Termites, folk operetta (1951)
The Infinite: A Modern Ballet, piano 4-hands (1952) [also arr. for orchestra]
Steamboat Bill, folk operetta, in one act (1953)
Lima Beans, chamber opera (1955) [libretto: Alfred Kreymborg]
The Floating Geezle, chamber opera (1960) [text: Oscar Brand] [for elementary or middle school voices]

Orchestra
The Infinite: A Modern Ballet, piano 4-hands (1952; arr. 2009 for orchestra)
Fantasy, small orchestra (1949)
Divertimento, fl, ob, cl, bsn and strings (1949)
Adagio for Strings, string orchestra (1955)
Four Fantasies on American Folk Songs, piano 4-hands (1956) (arr. for orchestra, 1957) [op. 4]
    - Follow the drinking gourd
    - The new river train
    - Johnny has gone for a soldier
    - Two in one ("Old Joe Clark" and "Sourwood Mountain")
Symphony for Strings No. 1, string orchestra (1958)
In Memoriam: Adagio and Andante, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1972)
Suite No. 1 for String Orchestra (or String Quintet) (1972)
Chamber Symphony No. 2, 9 winds and strings (1975)
Suite No. 2, string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977) [each mvt can be performed separately]
    - Fantasy on "All the Pretty Little Horses", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "The Streets of Laredo", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "Wee Cooper of Fife", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
Symphony for Strings No. 2, string orchestra (1979)
Fantasy on Motives of Burt Bacharach, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1979)
Russian Dance, youth string orchestra (1998)
Theme and Variations, youth string orchestra, w/opt. percussion (2000)
Galop, youth string orchestra (2004)
Three Fantasies on Christmas Carols, orchestra, and opt. chorus (1990-2008)
    - The Coventry Carol (1991)
    - All through the Night (1990)
    - Wassail Song (2008)
A Simple Suite for Strings (5 mvts), youth string orchestra (or string quartet) (2011)

Band
Nine Ecossaises, band (1965)
Eighteenth Century Air, solo brass quartet (2 trom/baritones/euphoniums, 2 tubas) and band (1976)
Gentlewoman's Polka, band (1980)
Dr. Jolly's Quickstep, band (2010) [arr. from work for brass and percussion]
The Ridgefield Rag, piano 4-hands (1985; arr. 1985 for band)
The 54th Street Rag, piano (1987; arr. 1988 for piano and band)
Andante (In Memoriam), band (1989)
Fantasy on "Silent Night", band (1990)
Fantasy on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", band (1990)
Rondino Scherzino, band (1997)
Fantasy on "Wassail Song", band (2006)
Three Fantasies on Christmas Carols, band (1990-2006)
    - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
    - Silent Night
    - Wassail Song

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra or Band
Divertimento, fl, ob, cl, bsn and strings (1949)
Chamber Concerto No. 1, violin and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1956)
Chamber Concerto No. 2, trombone (or baritone horn) and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1959)
Chamber Concerto No. 3, flute, horn, piano and string orchestra (or string quartet) (1970)
Eighteenth Century Air, solo brass quartet (2 trom/baritones/euphoniums, 2 tubas) and band (1976)
Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra (1985) [arr. from work for pf, any 3 treble instruments and 1 bass instrument)
The Ridgefield Rag, piano 4-hands (1985; arr. 1986 for piano 4-hands and orchestra)
The 54th Street Rag, piano (1987; arr. 1988 for piano and band; arr. 2010 for piano 4-hands and orchestra)
Overture Concertante, 10 solo wind instruments (4 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn) and orchestra (1992)
Concerto in the Old Style, 3 violins and string orchestra (1994) [arr. for 3 violins & piano, 2011]
Concerto for Oboe (or Bassoon) and Strings (or string quartet) (2008) [based on musical ideas of Domenico Scarlatti]
Two Rags and an Interlude, piano 4-hands and orchestra (2010) [contains Ridgefield Rag (1985) and 54th Street Rag (1987)]

Chorus w/Orchestra
Suite of Carols (3 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ; or orchestra) (1978)
    - Adeste Fideles
    - Coventry Carol
    - Angels We Have Heard on High
Three Fantasies on Christmas Carols, orchestra, and opt. chorus (1990-2008)
    - The Coventry Carol (1991)
    - All through the Night (1990)
    - Wassail Song (2008)

Choral
Three Ravens, A Choral Fantasy, chorus [SATTBB] (1953)
Let's Away with Study, female chorus [SSAA] and woodwind quintet (1958) [text: 16th cent.]
Five Madrigals, chorus (1962; pub. 1988)
    - Peter Piper
    - She sells sea shells
    - There's no need
    - The stump thought
    - Peter Piper sells sea shells on a bright night
Christmas Carols from Lands Afar (4 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ) (1977)
     - Fum, Fum, Fum (Spain)
    - O Thou Joyful Day (Germany)
    - 'Twixt Gentle Ox and Ass So Gray (France)
     - As Lately We Watched
Carols for Christmastide (3 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ) (1977)
    - Jingle Bells
    - Deck the Halls
    - Silent Night
Medley for a Lonesome Cowboy (3 pieces), chorus and piano (1978)
    - Home on the Range
    - Streets of Laredo
    - Good Bye Old Paint
Betty Botter's Butter, solo soprano (or tenor), chorus and piano (1978)
Good King Wenceslas, solo tenor & bass, chorus and piano (1978) [op. 11, no. 4]
Suite of Carols (3 pieces), chorus and piano (or organ; or orchestra) (1978)
    - Adeste Fideles
    - Coventry Carol
    - Angels We Have Heard on High
Three Sea Chanties, chorus and piano (1978)
The Chemical Song, chorus and jazz piano (1978) [text: teaches various chemical compounds of everyday materials]
Sleeping Innocence - a lullaby, chorus and piano (1979) [text: Bonnie Bowman] [op. 15, no. 1]
Old Words to New Music: When Hearts in May, chorus and piano (1980)
Old Words to New Music: Friendship, chorus and piano (1980) [text: medieval]
Mass in Miniature, female chorus [SS or SSA] and piano (or organ) (2007)
Ave Maria, soprano, alto and piano (or organ) (2010) [also arr. for female chorus [SA] and piano]
Children of Light, chorus (2010) [text: New Testament]

Chamber
Septet for Brass (1945)
Divertimento, fl, ob, cl, bsn and strings (1949)
Canzona, flute, viola and bassoon (1950)
Ballet Suite, 3 clarinets (1954)
8 x 8: Variations on a Theme by Milhaud, film score, soprano recorder (or picc or fl), tpt (or cl or ob), vc (or bsn) and pf (1955)
    - written for Hans Richterís classic surrealist film "8 x 8: A Chess Sonata for Film"
Hush'd be the Camps Today, narrator, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1955) [text: Walt Whitman]
Suite for Piano and Percussion (1956)
Duo for Violas (1957) [op. 5]
Tower Music, brass quintet (1957) [op. 7]
Chamber Symphony No. 1, 9 winds (fl, ob, cl, bsn, 2 hn, tpt, trom, tuba) (1960)
Trio for Three Flutes (or recorders) (1964) [also listed as "Suite for 3 Recorders"]
In Memoriam: Adagio and Andante, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1972)
Suite No. 1 for String Orchestra (or String Quintet) (1972)
Chamber Symphony No. 2, 9 winds and strings (1975)
Suite No. 2, string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977) [each mvt can be performed separately]
    - Fantasy on "All the Pretty Little Horses", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "The Streets of Laredo", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
    - Fantasy on "Wee Cooper of Fife", string orchestra (or string quartet) (1977)
Fantasy on Motives of Burt Bacharach, string orchestra (or string quintet) (1979)
Dr. Jolly's Quickstep, brass quintet and percussion (1981) [arr. 2010 for concert band]
Concertino for Piano and Four Diverse Instruments, piano, any 3 treble instruments and 1 bass instrument (1985)
    - Concertino for Piano and Four Diverse Instruments, piano, flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1985; arr. 2008)
Triatina, string trio (violin, viola, cello) (1987)
Concerto in the Old Style, 3 violins and piano (1994; arr. 2011 from work for 3 violins and string orch)
Quartets for Developing Violinists, 4 violins (2003)
    - Concertino, 2 solo violins and 2 violins (Douglas Townsend)
     - Song Without Words (Douglas Townsend)
     - Heidenröslein, D. 257 (Franz Schubert)
    - Ein feste Burg (J.S. Bach)
    - Scherzo (Douglas Townsend)
A Simple Suite for Strings (5 mvts), youth string orchestra (or string quartet) (2011)

Solo Instrument
Scherzo, trombone (or euphonium or baritone horn) and piano (1948)
8 x 8: Dance Improvisation and Fugue, recorder (or flute or piccolo) and piano (1956) [from film score]
Sonatina, flute and piano (1974)
The Welsh Flautist (10 traditional Welsh melodies arranged), flute and piano (1998)

Piano
Sonatina for Piano No. 1(1943)
Four Characteristic Pieces, piano (1947)
Seven Pieces, piano (1947)
Sonatina for Piano No. 2 (1950)
Suite for Piano and Percussion (1956)
Four Fantasies on American Folk Songs, piano 4-hands (1956) (arr. for orchestra, 1957) [op. 4]
    - Follow the drinking gourd
    - The new river train
    - Johnny has gone for a soldier
    - Two in one ("Old Joe Clark" and "Sourwood Mountain")
Concertino for Piano and Four Diverse Instruments, piano, any 3 treble instruments and 1 bass instrument (1985)
The Ridgefield Rag, piano 4-hands (1985)
The 54th Street Rag, piano (1987)
Polonaise a la Chopin, piano (1995)
Go Tell Aunt Rhody, piano 4-hands (1998)
Six Fantasies on Christmas Carols, piano 4-hands (2003) [all mvts can be performed separately]
    - Il est ne
    - All Through the Night
    - Wassail Song
    - Coventry Carol
    - Silent Night
    - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Sonatina for Piano No. 3 (2006) [for youth performers]

Vocal
By Special Arrangement, medium voice, violin, 2 guitar (classical/acoustic) and banjo (1951) [arr. of traditional songs]
Hush'd be the Camps Today, narrator, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1955) [text: Walt Whitman]
Ave Maria, soprano, alto and piano (or organ) (2010) [also arr. for female chorus [SA] and piano]
In Memoriam 9/11 (The Lament for Sumer and Urim), 2 sopranos, narrator and piano (2011) [text: 4000 year old Sumerian]

Film/Incidental Music
8 x 8: Variations on a Theme by Milhaud, film score, soprano recorder (or picc or fl), tpt (or cl or ob), vc (or bsn) and pf (1955)
    - written for Hans Richterís classic surrealist film "8 x 8: A Chess Sonata for Film"
Pastoral, film score (1956) [director: Irving Kriesberg]
Build with One Hand, incidental music (1956) [for play by Joseph Kramm]



TOWNSEND  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~

Composer's website (at New Music USA)  . . .   inquire about Douglas Townsend:  here

Townsend @ Wikipedia
Townsend @ American Composers Forum
Townsend @ Classic Cat
Townsend @ Classical Matters
Townsend @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Townsend @ InstantEncore
Townsend @ LinkedIn
Townsend @ The New York Times

Publisher
Townsend @ Alfred
Townsend @ Boosey & Hawkes
Townsend @ Carl Fischer
Townsend @ Henmar Press (C.F. Peters)
Townsend @ E.C. Kerby
Townsend @ Kevin Mayhew
Townsend @ Mercury Music Corporation
Townsend @ C.F. Peters
Townsend @ Theodore Presser
Townsend @ Shawnee Press
Townsend @ Tetra/Continuo Music
Townsend @ SheetMusicPlus

Streaming Audio
[none at the moment]

Recordings
Townsend @ Composer's website
Townsend @ Amazon.com

Video
Douglas Townsend Channel @ YouTube
Townsend @ YouTube
Townsend @ Google Videos
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