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Christian Wolff (1934-     )

Christian Wolff, composerAlongside John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown, composer Christian Wolff emerged in the 1950s on the New York experimental music scene and became a prominent champion of the aesthetics of musical indeterminism. His works, which became increasingly explicit in their political content as his career progressed, stress choice, artistic cooperation and interdependence, and an accommodating attitude toward the potential relationships between music, sound, and silence. Wolff was born in Nice, France, but moved to the United States during his childhood. He took a rather indirect route to composition, studying classics and comparative literature at Harvard University, where he also taught, before taking positions in both music and literature at Mills College and later Dartmouth. Though active as a pianist and electric guitarist throughout his career, he was largely self-taught as a composer, and from the beginning his works relied more on careful aesthetic design than compositional "craft" in the traditional sense. This is not to say, however, that his compositions lack depth or complexity; indeed, they point up some of the most crucial philosophical issues of his time, and do so in a way that engages and invites close listening and careful consideration. Although his works of the 1950s already conveyed a decidedly "democratic" subtext, with their reliance on freedom and reaction ("parliamentary participation"), they did so through traditional notation and sometimes invoked, however obscurely, traditional forms. The flexibility of their realizations owed to Cage's influence, while their sparse surfaces recalled Webern, and in some cases resonated with La Monte Young's early works. Wolff's compositions from the late 1950s and 1960s placed increased effort on real-time cooperation between performers, who worked somewhat freely, within certain set parameters (set durations with unspecified pitches, for example), but were required to alter their performative decisions consequent to each other's actions. Wolff explicitly drew analogies between his compositional methods and political views, and during the 1970s even set texts related to his democratic socialist positions. This effort coincided with similar artistic endeavors espoused by Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski, both of whom Wolff interacted with during this period. Later works turned inwards to more specifically musical topics, perhaps due in part to Wolff's somewhat self-effacing assessment of the composer's role. As he observed in a 1991 interview: "Most political music, paradoxically enough, is for the converted; it's an instrument of cohesion for a group that already knows what it wants..."
-  Jeremy Grimshaw/AllMusic

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Christian Wolff Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
[under construction]
    178. Duo 9, vl, vc (2008), 7'
    177. Duo 8, vl, vc (2008), 8'
    176. For 2 violinists, violist and cellist (2008), ca. 23'
    175. Short Piece, melodica (f - e''') solo (2008), 3 1/2'
    174. Basel, alto sax/cl. tbn, 2 el gt, pno, vc, and any additional players, free instrumentation (2008), ca. 25'
    173. Duo 7, per, melodica (2007), 4'
    172. Nocturnes 1-6, pno solo, with (optional) Material for up to 4 more players, free instrumentation (2007), ca. 7' – 14'
    - (contribution to collaborative composition For John, with David Behrman, John King and Takehisa Kosugi),
    171. Grete (microexercises 23-36), two or more players, free instrumentation (2007), 15'
    170. Quodlibet, fl (picc), ob, cl, b cl, bsn, hn, tpt, tbn, tba, 2 per, 2 vl, vla, vcl, cb (2007), 18'
    169. Metal & Breath, 2 or (possibly many) more players using primarily metal (perc) & sound made w/breath (2007), ca. 2'-15'
    168. Quartet for Frederic, Larry, Michael, Robyn, b cl, e-gtr, pno, per (1) (other instr. arrangements possible) (2005-07), ca. 19'
    167. A Piano Piece, pno solo (2006), 4'
    166. Trio V for James Tenney, pno 4 hands, per (2006), 6'
    165. Microexercises (1-8, 9-22), one or more players, free instrumentation (2006), ca. 12'
    164. Violin Quartet, 4 vl (2006), 10'
    163. For Bob [Robert Rauschenberg], elec vln, 4 radios, pf, electronics & var. sound producing objts (2006) [w/Takehisa Kosugi]
    162. Woodsound & Other, solo per (mallet - xylophone, etc. ad lib, a few additional non-pitched items) (2005), ca. 5'
    161. Duo 6, tpt, vln (2005), ca. 10-12'
    160. Out-take, 1 or 2 tba and optional (any, playing at least an octave higher) additional instruments (2005), ca. 8'
    159. Orchestra : Pieces, 4.4.4.4.,4.4.3.tba, 4 per., 12.10.8.8.6 (2005), 18'
    158. 37 Haiku, baritone, ob, hn, vla, vcl, text by John Ashbery (2005), 14'
    157. Long Piano (Peace March 11), pno solo (2004-5), 60'
    156. Evening Shade, Wake Up, small chorus (SATB) (2004), 5'
    155. One Coat of Paint, 1 per, vc (2004), 14'
    154. Another Possibility, e-gtr solo (2004), 9'
    153. For John Ashbery's Hoelderlin Marginalia, 2 pno, vn (2004), 9'
    152. Incidental Music, pno solo (2003-4), 50'
    151. Flutist (with Percussionists), fl, 2 (or 1) per (2003), 9'
    150. Wesleyan Organ Song, organ solo (2003), 25'
    149. For E.C., st qt (2003), 5'
    148. John Heartfield (Peace March 10), 4 or more players, free inst, 1 or more voices (2003), 30'
    147. Peace March 9, 4 hn, 6 tpt, 4 tbn, euph, tba, 4-6 per (2003), 25'
    146. Peace March 8, orch (2.2.2.2., 2.2.2. tb, 3 per, 4.4.3.3.2) (2002), 37'
    145. Apartment House Exercise, 4 or more players, free inst (2002), ca. 15'
    144. Touch, pno solo (2002), 20'
    143. Balancing, accordion solo (2002), 8'
    142. Moving Spaces, 2, 3 or 4 players, free inst, 8 channel sound system with assistant and tape (2002)
        - for Merce Cunnigham dance, Loose Time
    141. Variation, tpt, per, cb, 8 channel sound system with assistant (2001), 13'
    140. Fragment, 2 pno (2001), 10'
    139. Ordinary Matter, 3 orchestras (versions for any reduced instrumentation possible), 1-3 conductors (2001), 24'
    138. She Had Some Horses, zither, va (2001), 18'
    137. Pianist -- Pieces, pno solo (2001), 12'
    136. Boras Song, hn, tpt, vl, pno (2000), 5'
    135. Mosaic Trio, tpt, vl, pno (2000), 5'
    134. Zither Spieler, zither solo (2000-), 14'
    133. Percussionist, per solo (some possible duet) (in progress) (2000-), 15'
    132. Fall III, per (12 or 6 plus tape) (2000), 7'
    131. Berlin Exercises (with song “Vergnuegungen”), 4 or more players, free instrumentation (2000), 14'
    130. Exercise 28, theremin, hn, vl, cb (2000), 7'
    129. Fall I & II, per (3 in I, 6 in II) (2000), 15'
    128. Cello Suite Variation, vc solo (2000), 14'
    127. Ghent Song, recorders, 4 players, 1 per (1999), 15'
    126. Pebbles, pno, vl (1999), 35'
    125. Schoene met Vetters, fl/b fl, cl/b cl, tbn, vl, va, vc, cb (1998-9), 17'
    124. Keyboard Miscellany, pno solo, melodica (1998-), 18'
    123. Pulse, tpt, 1 per (1998), 12'
    122. John, David, per solo, orch (2 (+picc). 2.2 (+b cl). 2., 2.2.2.tb, 1 per, pno, hp, 6.6.5.5.4) (1993, 1997-8), 23'
    121. Violist Pieces, va solo (1997), 14'
    120. Percussionist Dances, per solo (1997), 23'
    119. Violist and Percussionist, per, va (1996), 8'
    118. Two Players, hn, vc (1996), 7'
    117. Untitled, e-bass gtr solo (1996), 8'
    116. Trio III, vn, per, pno (1996), 20'
    115. Tilbury 5, tbn, pno, vn/va (1996), 13'
    114. Pieces for Julius, fl, hn, va, vc (1995), 9'
    113. Bratislava, fl, ob, cl, b cl, accord, pno, vn, vc (1995), 15'
    112. Spring, chamber orch (2.2.2.2., 2.2.2.tb, 3 per, 6.6.4.4.2) (1995), 14'
    111. Percussionist Songs, solo per (some possible duet) (1994-5), 20'
    110. Aarau Songs, cl, st qt (1994), 17'
    109. Memory, fl/picc, cl/b cl, bsn, hn, hp, vn, va, vc (1994), 14'
    108. Or 4 People, 1-4 players, free inst (1994), ca. 8' - 35'
    107. Two Pianists, 2 pno (1993-4), 21'
    106. Flutist and Guitarist, fl, gtr (1993), 12'
    105. Exercise X, 7 or more players, free inst (1993), ca. 4' - 12'
    104. Peggy, tbn solo (possibly as duet) (1993), 11'
    103. Six Melodies Variation, solo vn (1993), 3'
    102. Merce, 1-9 per (2 solos, 2 duos, 1 qt, 1 nonet, also material for variable nos. of players) (1993), ca. 3' - 25'
    101. Aina gonna study war no more, 2 per (timp, mar) (1993), 4'
    100. Malvina (version of Malvina for koto), 2 va (1992), 14'
    99. Tuba Song, BBb tba solo (possibly as duet) (1992), 12'
    98. Kegama, cl/b cl, per, pno, vl, vc (1991), 4'
    97. Ruth, tbn, pno (1991), 24'
    96. Jasper, vl, cb (1991), 17'
    95. Look She Said, solo cb (1991), 14'
    94. Brich den Hungrigen dein Brot, fl, pno (1991), 4'
    93. For Si, cl/b cl, per, pno, vl, vc (1992), 10'
    92. Rukus, bar/ten sax, e-gtr, cb (1990-91), 14'
    91. Eight Days a Week Variation, pno (1990), 4'
    90. Rosas, per, pno (1989-90), 10'
    89. Malvina, solo koto (13 string) (1989), 14'
    88. Mayday (Mayday Materials), synclavier-synthesizer generated tape (for Lucinda Childs' dance) (1989), 32'
    87. Emma, va, vc, pno (1988-9), 17'
    86. Exercise 27 (Snare Drum Peace March), solo snare drum (1988), ca. 5'
    85. Exercise 26 (Snare Drum Peace March), solo snare drum (1988), ca. 4'
    84. Digger Song, vl, va, vc, per (1988), ca. 6' - 10'
    83. From Leaning Forward (Grace Paley poems), sopr, bar, cl/b cl, vc (1988), 15'
    82. For Morty, glsp, vibr, pf (2 or 3 players) (1987), 5'
    81. Long Peace March, fl/picc, ob, cl/b cl, bsn/c bsn, a sax, hn, tbn, per, va, vc, cb (1986-7), 24'
    80. Black Song Organ Preludes (1986), 12'
    79. Exercise 25 (“Liyashiswa”), orch (2.2.2.2., 2.2.2.tb, 1 per, 8.8.4.4.3) (1986), 5'
    78. Bowery Preludes, fl/picc/a fl, tbn, per, pno (1985-6), 18'
    77. Instrumental Exercises with Peace March 4, 2 cl/b cl, 2 keyboards, vn , per, vc, e-bass (other arr. possible) (1985), 25'
    76. Piano Trio (“Greenham-Seneca-Camiso”), vn, vc, pno (1985), 10'
    75. “I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman”, female voice, one each of treble, alto and bass inst (ad lib) (1985), 6'
    74. Peace March 3 (“The Sun is Burning”), fl, vc, per (1984), 6'
    73. Peace March 2, fl, cl, vc, per, pno (1984), 8'
    72. Peace March 1, fl (1983-4), 5'
    71. Eisler Ensemble Pieces 1 & 2, cl/b cl, vn, vc, pno (1983), 12'
    70. Piano Song (“I am a dangerous woman”), pno (1983), 11'
    69. Exercise 24 (“J.C.'s Bread & Roses”, orchestration of Exercise 22), chamber orch. (1983), 6'
    68. Exercise 23 (“Bread and Roses”), chamber orch (2.2.2.2., 2.2.2., 2 per, 6.6.4.4.2) (1983), 6'
    67. Exercise 22 (“Bread and Roses for John”), pno 4 hands (1982), 4'
    66. Isn't This a Time, (any) sax or possibly other reed, solo or multiple (1982), 4'
    65. Preludes 1-11, pno (1980-1), 30'
    64. Exercise 21, “O Freedom”), pno 4 hands (1981), 6'
    63. Exercises 19 & 20 (“Harmonic Tremors,” “Acres of Clams”) (), 12'
    62. Stardust Pieces, vc, pno (1979), 15'
    61. Three Pieces (Rock About, Instrumental, Starving to Death on a Government Claim), vn, va (1979-1980), 11'
    60. Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida, pno (1979), 12'
    59. Braverman Music, 4 or more players, free inst, or 1 or 2 pno (1978), 26'
    58. Cello Song Variations (“Hallelujah, I'm a Bum”), solo vc (1978), 12'
    57. The Death of Mother Jones, solo vn (1977), 15'
    56. Dark as a Dungeon, tbn, cb (1977), 7'
    55. Dark as a Dungeon, cl (1977), 7'
    54. Studies, pno or other instrumentation ad lib. (1974-6), 8'
    53. Bread and Roses, pno (1976), 8'
    52. Bread and Roses, solo vn (1976), 11'
    51. Wobbly Music, mixed chorus, keyboard, gtr(s), 2 or more melody inst (1975-6), 32'
    50. Exercises 15-18, free inst, various numbers of players, including qt, also possible pno, tbn solos (1975), ca. (total) 26'
    49. String Bass Exercise out of “Bandiera Rossa”, cb (1975), 20'
    48. String Quartet Exercises out of Songs, str qt (1974-6), 32'
    47. Songs, solo or group unison singing (1973-5), 9'
    - Wake up
    - It is said
    - After a few years
    - Teacher, Teacher
    - Of all things
    - Freedom
    46. Exercises 1-14, 2 or more players, free inst (1973-4), ca. (total) 90'
    45. Changing the System, 8 or more players, free inst + voices, per (1973-4), ca. 15' - 50'
    44. Variations (Extracts) on the Carmans Whistle Variations of Byrd, keyboard(s) (1972), ca. 6'
    43. Accompaniments, pno (pianist also uses voice and per) (1972), 18'
    42. Lines, str qt or other str ensemble (1972), ca. 15' - 20'
    41. Burdocks, 1 or more groups of 5 or more players, free inst (1970-71), ca. 10' - 55'
    40. Snowdrop, harpsichord and (or) other inst, any number (1970), ca. 15' - 19'
    39. Tilbury 4, any number, free inst (1970), ca. 5' - 10'
    38. Tilbury 3, any number, free inst (1969), 5'
    37. Tilbury 2, any number, free inst (1969), 4'
    36. Tilbury 1, keyboard(s) and (or) free inst, any number (1969), 10'
    35. Prose Collection, any number of players, free inst (1968-1971), ca. (total) 65' - 120'
    - (includes Stones, Play, Song, For Jill, Sticks, Groundspace, Fits & Starts, You blew it, Crazy Mad Love, Looking North, Double Song, Pit Music; X for Peace Matches added ca. 1986, Instrumentalist(s) - Singer(s) added 1997)
    34. Toss, 8 or more players, free inst (1968), ca. 4'
    33. Edges, any number of players, free inst (1968), ca. 6' - 15+'
    32. Pairs, 2, 4, 6 or 8 players, free inst (1968), ca. 4' - 8'
    31. Electric Spring 3, vl, hn, e-gtr, e-bass gtr (1967), ca. 4'
    30. Electric Spring 2, t recorder, tbn, e-gtr, e-bass gtr (1966, rev 1970), ca. 6'
    29. Electric Spring 1, hn, e-gtr, e-bass gtr, cb (1966), ca. 4'
    28. Quartet, 4 hn (1965), ca. 5'
    27. Septet, 7 players and conductor, free inst (1964), ca. 8' - 10'
    26. For 1, 2 or 3 people, free inst (1964), ca. 10' - 40'
    25. In between pieces, 3 players, free inst (1963), ca. 5' - 9'
    24. For 5 or 10 players, free instrumentation (1962), ca. 5' - 10'
    23. Summer, str qt (1961), ca. 5' - 17'
    22. Duo for violinist and pianist (1961), ca. 5' - 17'
    21. Trio II, pno 4 hands, per (1961), ca. 15'
    20. Duet II, hn, pno (1961), ca. 5' - 9'
    19. Suite II, hn, pno (1960), ca. 9' - 14'
    18. Duet I, pno 4 hands (1960), ca. 5' - 12'
    17. For six or seven players (= Music for Merce Cunningham), vn, va, tpt, tbn, pno, cb (1959), 23'
    16. For pianist (1959), ca. 10' - 15'
    15. Duo for pianists II, 2 pno (1958), ca. 4' - 15'
    14. Sonata, 3 pno (1957), 4'
    13. Duo for pianists I, 2 pno (1957), 4'
    12. For piano with preparations (1957), 9'
    11. Suite (I), prepared pno (1954), 8'
For Piano II (1953)
For Magnetic Tape (1952)
For Piano (I) (1952)
Nine, flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, celestea, piano and 2 cellos (1951)
Trio, flute, trumpet and cello (1951)
For prepared piano (1951)
String Trio, violin, viola and cello (1950)
Madrigals, 3 voices or instruments or combination (1950)
Serenade, flute, clarinet and violin (1950)
Duo for 2 Flutes (1950)
Duo, 2 violins (1950)


WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Christian Wolff Links     ~ top of page ~
[under construction]
Dramatic/Theater

Orchestra

Band

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra

Chorus w/Orchestra

Choral

Chamber

Instrument and Piano

Solo Instrument

Piano

Vocal

Incidental/Film

Electronic/Electroacoustic

FOR PERCUSSION
Chamber

Solo Instrument

Marimba

Solo Percussion

Percussion Ensemble

Percussion Method Books and Etudes


CHRISTIAN WOLFF  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
[under construction]

Composer's website   . . .   contact Christian Wolff:  here

X @ Wikipedia
X @ American Composers Forum
X @ American Music Center
X @ Answers.com
X @ Art + Culture
X @ Art of the States/http://artofthestates.org/cgi-bin/compbio.pl?compname=ziporynevan
X @ Classic Cat
X @ Classical Archives
X @ Classical Composers Database
X @ Classical Net
X @ ClassicsToday (via Google Advanced Search)  http://www.google.ca/advanced_search
X @ composition:today/   http://www.compositiontoday.com/composers/a.asp
X @ Dr. Estrella's Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers
X @ Facebook
X @ Grawemeyer Awards
X @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
X @ IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library
X @ InstantEncore
X @ IRCAM / http://brahms.ircam.fr/composers/alphabetical-order/r/
X @ Karadar Classical Music/ http://www.karadar.com/index.php/en/composers-biographies.html
X @ Klassika/ http://www.klassika.info  /  http://www.google.ca/advanced_search
X @ LinkedIn
X @ Modern Classical / http://www.modernclassical.com/20tha.html
X @ MSN Music
X @ Music Academy Online
X @ MusicWeb International
X @ musicianguide.com
X @ MySpaceMusic
X @ Naxos
X @ The New York Times
X @ NNDB
X @ W.W. Norton
X @ Piano Society [Bowles; William Duckworth; Heino Eller; Mompou; Respighi; Turina]
X @ The Pulitzer Prizes / http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Music
X @ REC Music Foundation /The Lied and Art Song Texts Page
X @ US Opera/  http://www.usopera.com/composers/

http://www.musicsage.org
X @ Big Bands Database Plus / http://nfo.net/sitemap.html
X @ glbtq.com [Bussotti; Davies; Del Tredici; Diamond; Griffes; Henze; McPhee; Rorem; Susa; Tippett]

Publisher
X @ Composer's website/publisher listings
X @ Alphonse Leduc
X @ Boosey & Hawkes
X @ Chester Novello
X @ Carl Fischer
X @ Oxford University Press
X @ Peermusic
X @ Edition Peters
X @ Theodore Presser
X @ G. Schirmer
X @ Schott Music
X @ Universal Edition

FOR FILM COMPOSERS
X @ Alternative Film Guide
X @ Art and Culture
X @ BFI Screenonline
X @ CITWF / Complete Index to World Film
X @ Fandango
X @ Filmbug
X @ The Film Noir.net
X @ Film Reference
X @ Film Score Click Track
X @ Film Score Monthly
X @ Filmtracks
X @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
X @ mfiles
X @ Movie Music UK
X @ MSN Movies
X @ The New York Times/movies
X @ Radio Soundtrack
X @ Reel Classics
X @ SoundtrackCollector
X @ Soundtrack Express
X @ SoundtrackNet
X @ SoundUnwound/ http://www.soundunwound.com/
X @ Starpulse.com
X @ Turner Classic Movies

Streaming Audio
X @ Composer's website  -  check under individual work listings
X @ Classical Archives
X @ last.fm
X @ MySpaceMusic
X @ NPRmusic
X @ PRX (Public Radio Exchange)/   http://www.prx.org/
X @ Rhapsody.com
X @ SoundCloud
X @ Werner Icking Music Archive

X @ Kunst der Fuge
X @ The Classical MIDI Connection
X @ Classical MIDI Resource – Music of the Modern Era
X @ Classical Musical Midi Page
X @ MidiWorld

Recordings
X @ Composer's website
X @ Amazon.com
X @ ArkivMusic
X @ CD Baby
X @ CD Universe
X @ ClassicsOnline
X @ Discogs
X @ itunes

Video
X @ YouTube
X @ Google Video
X @ Vimeo (via Google Advanced Search)  http://www.google.ca/advanced_search

 Composer on Composer: On Composing (streaming audio)
Composer, composerComposers Speak on the Web at Pytheas
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