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Charles Wuorinen (1938-     )

Charles Wuorinen, composerWith over 200 compositions to his credit, Charles Wuorinen is one of the most prolific contemporary American composers. He studied at Columbia University, where he worked with Otto Luening, Vladimir Ussachevsky, and Jack Beeson. A major presence in American music for over four decades, Wuorinen has taught at numerous schools, including Columbia, Princeton, the New England Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, Yale, and SUNY Buffalo. He has been on the faculty of Rutgers University since 1984. He has won numerous awards, such as the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, the 1970 Pulitzer Prize (for Time's Encomium), and a McArthur Fellowship, to name a few. Wuorinen's music is uniquely serial, and primarily 12-tone in nature. His major influences are the modernist European school, namely Schoenberg, though the influence of late Stravinsky and Babbitt are also unmistakable. Much of his music requires extreme virtuosity on the part of the performer, such as his Chamber Concertos, which typically include wide leaps, extreme dynamic contrasts, and a rapid exchange of pitches. Fractal geometry and the mathematical theories of Benoit Mandelbrot have influenced works such as Bamboula Squared and the Natural Fantasy for organ. However, Wuorinen's later music begins to demonstrate tonal relationships, though to a limited degree, such as pitch-centered openings and conclusions, octave doublings, and timbral transpositions of thematic ideas. His music also evolved to include clear rhythmic relationships -- his earlier works avoided this characteristic -- and his melodies also became more conjunct in nature. Wuorinen's music continues to evolve, with later works such as the Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra and New York Notes containing further rhythmic clarity, more recognizable melodic structures and clearer orchestration. Clearly this is not the style of the same composer as was found in his earlier works. Wuorinen is also the author of Simple Composition a useful text for composers who are beginning to use 12-tone techniques. With his already impressive resume, extremely prolific output, and evolving but unique style, it is sure that Charles Wuorinen will be remembered for his numerous contributions to music, serialism and beyond.
Michael Blostein/AllMusic

COMPOSITIONS                                                            Wuorinen Links     ~ ~ ~     Works by Genre
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WORKS BY GENRE                                                            Wuorinen Links     ~ top of page ~
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The Politics of Harmony (masque, 1, R. Monaco), A, T, B, 2 fl, 2
tuba, 3 perc, pf, 2 hp, 2 vn, 2, db, 1967; New York, 28 Oct 1968
The W. of Babylon (The Triumph of Love over Moral Depravity)
(Baroque burlesque, 2, R.C. Bruce), 8 solo w , nar, orch, 1975; San
Francisco, 20 Jan 1989

Music for Orch, 1956; Sym. no.3,1959; Evolutio transcripta, chbr
orch, 1961; Orch and Elec Exchanges, orch, tape, 1965; Pf Cone,
no.l, 1966; Contrafactum, 1969; Grand Bamboula, str, 1971;
Cone, amp vn, orch, 1972; Pf Cone, no.2, amp pf, orch, 1974; A
Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky, 1975 [based on I . Stravinsky]; Perc
Sym., 22 perc, 2 pf, 1976; Tashi, cl, vn, vc, pf, orch, 1976;
Ancestors, chbr orch, 1978; 2-Pt Sym., 1978; The Magic Art, inst
masque, chbr orch, 1979 [based on H . Purcell]; Ecclesiastical
Syms., 1981; Short Suite, 1981; Pf Cone no.3,1983; Rhapsody,
vn, orch, 1983; Bamboula Squared, tape, orch, 1984; Concertino,
chbr orch, 1984; Crossfire, 1984; Movers and Shakers, 1984;
•Prelude to Kullervo, tuba, orch, 1985; Fanfare, 1985; The Golden
Dance, 1986; Bamboula Beach, 1987; Five, cone, amp vc, orch,
1987; Galliard, chbr orch, 1987; Another Happy Birthday, 1988;
Machaultmon chou, 1988 [based onMesse de Notre Dame];
Astra, 1990; Delight of the Muses, 1991; Cone, sax qt, orch,
1992; Microsym., 1992; The Mission of Virgil, 1993; "Windfall,
band, 1994; The Great Procession, 1995; The River of Light,
1996; Sym. Seven, 1997


Soloist(s) w/Orchestra

Chorus w/Orchestra

Be Merry all that be Present (medieval Eng. carol), SATB,
org/4 insts, 1957; The Prayer of Jonah, chorus, str qnt, 1962;
Super salutem, TTBB, 9 brass, perc, pf, 1964; Mannheim 87.87.87
(hymn text), chorus, org, 1973; An Anthem for Epiphany (Bible),
SATB, org, tpt, 1974; The Celestial Sphere (orat, W. Fuller, Bible),
SATB, orch, 1980; Mass, S, SATB, vn, org, 1982; A solis ortu,
SATB, 1989; Genesis (orat, Bible), SATB, orch, 1989; Missa
renovata, SATB, fl, 3 trbn, timp, str, 1992

Ens: Prelude and Fugue, 4 perc, 1955; Musica duarum partium
ecclesiastica, brass qnt, timp, pf, org, 1959; Trio concertante, ob,
vn, pf, 1959; Consort, 4 trbn, 1960; 8 Variations, vn, hpd, I960;
Turetzky Pieces, fl, cl, db, 1960; Tiento sobre Cabezon, fl, ob, vn,
va, vc, hpd, pf, 1961; Trio no.l, fl, vc, pf, 1961; Bearbeitungen
iiber das Glogauer Liederbuch, fl/pic, cl/b cl, vn, db, 1962;
Duuiensela, vc, pf, 1962
Invention, 5 perc, pf, 1962; Octet, ob, cl, hn, trbn, pf, vn, vc, db,
1962; Trio no.2, fl, vc, pf, 1962; Chbr Cone, solo vc, fl, ob, cl, bn,
2 perc, pf, vn, va, db, 1963; Chbr Cone, solo fl, 4 perc, hp, gui, pf,
hpd, eel, db, 1964; Composition, solo vn, 2 ob, 2 b cl, 2 hn, 2 trbn,
perc, pf, db, 1964
Chbr Cone, solo ob, tuba, 5 perc, timp, hp, pf, db, 1965;
Composition, ob, pf, 1965; Bicinium, 2 ob, 1966; Salve Regina:
John Bull, chbr ens, 1966; Duo, vn,.pf, 1967; Str Trio, 1968;
Adapting to the Times, vc, pf, 1969; Nature's Concord, tpt, pf,
1969; Chbr Cone, solo tuba, 12 wind, 12 drums, 1970; Ringing
Changes,' 12 perc, 1970
Canzona (to the memory of Igor Stravinsky), 12 insts, 1971; Str Qt
no.l, 1971; Bn Variations, bn, hp, timp, 1972; Hp Variations, hp,
vn, va, vc, 1972; On Alligators, fl, ob, cl, bn, str qt, 1972;
Speculum speculi, fl, ob, b cl, perc, pf, db, 1972; Arabia felix, fl,
bn, pf, elec gui, vib, vn, 1973; Grand Union, vc, drums, 1973; Trio
no.3, fl, vc, pf, 1973
Fantasia, vn, pf, 1974; Hyperion, 12 insts, 1975; Tashi, cl, vn, vc, pf,
orch ad lib, 1975; Album Leaf, vn, vc, 1976; Perc Sym., 24 perc, .
1976; Archangel, b trbn, str qt, 1977; Fast Fantasy, vc, pf, 1977; 6
Pieces, vn, pf, 1977; "Wind Qnt, 1977; The "Winds, 8 wind, pf,
1977; Archeopteryx, b trbn, 10 pfmrs, 1978; Fortune, cl, vn, vc,
pf, 1979; Joan's, fl, cl, vn, vc, pf, 1979; Perc Duo, mallet insts, pf,
1979; Str Qt no.2,1979
Beast 70S, chbr ens, 1980; Trio, hn, vn, pf, 1981; Trio for Bass Insts,
db, b trbn, tuba, 1981; Divertimento, a sax, pf, 1982;
Divertimento, str qt, 1982; NY Notes, fl, cl, TO, VC, perc, pf, 1982;
Pf Trio, 19S3; Spinoff, vn, db, 4 conga drums, 1983; Concertino,
chbr ens, 1984; Double Solo, hn, vn, pf, 1985; Hn Trio Continued,
1985; Trbn Trio, 1985
A Doleful Dompe, eng hn, vn, vc, 1986; Fanfare, 2 tpt, 2 hn, 2 trbn,
1986; Str Qt no.3,1987; Sonata, vn, pf, 1988; Sax Qt, 1992; Perc
Qt, 1994; Pf Qnt, 1994; Sonata, gui, pf, 1995
Solo inst: Concert, db, 1961; Fl Variations 1,1963; Janissary Music,
perc, 1966; Fl Variations, II, 1968; The Long and the Short, vn,
1969; Vc Variations 1, 1970; Vn Variations, 1972; Vc Variations
H, 1975; Gui Variations, 1994; Vc Variations, III, 1997

Instrument and Piano

Solo Instrument

Evolution, org, 1961; Variations, 1963; The Bells, carillon, 1966,
rev. 1997; Hpd Divisions, 1966; Making Ends Meet, pf 4 hands,
1966; Sonata no.l, 1969; 12 Short Pieces, 1973; Sonata no.2,
1976; Self-Similar Waltz, 1977; The Blue Bamboula, 1980;
Capriccio, 1981; Album Leaf, 1984; Natural Fantasy, org, 1985;
Sonata no.3,1986; Ave Christe: Josquin, 1988; Bagatelle, 1988;
Katz Fugue, 1996; Schoenberg Op.31 Variations, 2 pf, 1996

2 Lute Songs, male w , 1954 [after T. Campion]; Te decet
hymnus, Mez, B, pf, org, timp, 1954; Madrigale spirituale sopra
salmo secundo, T, Bar, 2 ob, db ad lib, 2 vn, vc, db, 1960;
Symphonia sacra, T, Bar, B, 2 ob, 2 vn, db, org, 1961; A Message
to Denmark Hill (cant., R. Howard), Bar, fl, vc, pf, 1970; A Song
to the Lutein Musicke (attrib. R. Edwards), S, pf, 1970; 6 Songs
(C. Britton), Ct/A, T, chbr ens, 1977; Ps xxxix, Bar, gui, 1979; 3
Songs (Britton),T, pf, 1979; Twang ("W. Stevens), Mez, pf, 19S9;
•A "Winter's Tale (D. Thomas), S, cl, hn, vn, va, vc, pf, 1991 [arr. S,
pf]; Christes Crosse, S, pf, 1994 [after T. Morley]; Lightenings VHI
(S. Heaney), S, pf, 1994; Fenton Songs (J. Fenton), S, pf trio, 1997
[arr. 2 gui, vn, vc)


Consort from Insts and Voices, 1961; Time's Encomium, 1969

WUORINEN  LINKS                                                            Works by Genre      ~ top of page ~
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Composer's website   . . .   contact Charles Wuorinen:  here

Wuorinen @ Wikipedia
Wuorinen @ American Composers Forum
Wuorinen @
Wuorinen @ Art + Culture
Wuorinen @ Art of the States
Wuorinen @ Audiophile Audition (via Google Advanced Search)
Wuorinen @ Classic Cat
Wuorinen @ Classical Archives
Wuorinen @ Classical Composers Database
Wuorinen @ Classical Net
Wuorinen @ ClassicsToday (via Google Advanced Search)
Wuorinen @ composition:today/
Wuorinen @ Dr. Estrella's Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers
Wuorinen @ Facebook
Wuorinen @ Grawemeyer Awards
Wuorinen @ IMDb (Internet Movie Database)
Wuorinen @ IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library
Wuorinen @ InstantEncore
Wuorinen @ IRCAM /
Wuorinen @ Karadar Classical Music/ find via /
Wuorinen @ Klassika/  /
Wuorinen @ LinkedIn
Wuorinen @ Music Academy Online
Wuorinen @ MusicWeb International
Wuorinen @
Wuorinen @ MySpaceMusic
Wuorinen @ Naxos
Wuorinen @ New Music USA [formerly American Music Center]
Wuorinen @ The New York Times
Wuorinen @ NNDB
Wuorinen @ W.W. Norton
Wuorinen @ Piano Society [Bowles; William Duckworth; Heino Eller; Mompou; Respighi; Turina]
Wuorinen @ The Pulitzer Prizes /
Wuorinen @ REC Music Foundation /The Lied and Art Song Texts Page
Wuorinen @ US Opera/

Wuorinen @ Composer's website/publisher listings
Wuorinen @ Edition Peters

Streaming Audio
Wuorinen @ Composer's website  -  check under individual work listings
Wuorinen @ Classical Archives
Wuorinen @
Wuorinen @ MySpaceMusic
Wuorinen @ NPRmusic
Wuorinen @ PRX (Public Radio Exchange)/
Wuorinen @
Wuorinen @ SoundCloud

Wuorinen @ Composer's website
Wuorinen @
Wuorinen @ ArkivMusic
Wuorinen @ CD Universe
Wuorinen @ ClassicsOnline
Wuorinen @ Discogs
Wuorinen @ itunes
Wuorinen @ Naxos

Wuorinen @ YouTube
Wuorinen @ Google Video
Wuorinen @ Vimeo (via Google Advanced Search)

 Composer on Composer: On Composing (streaming audio)
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