Composer George Crumb has Died, Aged 92

(Picture credit score: Sarah Shatz)


Influential American composer George Crumb has died aged 92, at residence along with his household by his facet. Crumb’s music usually juxtaposed musical fragments from many various kinds, and was closely influenced by the folks songs of his native Appalachia alongside varied Asian kinds. He was fascinated by timbre and infrequently used a variety of prolonged methods, each vocal and instrumental, to create particular — and often programmatic — results.

Born in 1929 in Charleston, each his mother and father had been skilled musicians, and his first music classes on the clarinet got here from his father, George Sr.

Very similar to the music of Charles Ives, Crumb’s work exhibited the eclectic vary of influences he heard in early childhood, together with these of in style, gospel, and people music.

Considered one of Crumb’s most well-known works was the Black Angels (1970). Scored for electrical string devices, crystal glasses, and two suspended tam-tam gongs, it displays on the horrors of the Vietnam Warfare, and quotes the second motion of Schubert’s “Loss of life and the Maiden” string quartet in service of this goal. The work was made well-known by the Kronos Quartet and David Bowie as soon as described it as a “research in non secular annihilation.”

Crumb was intensely within the poetry of Federico García Lorca and set a lot of his work to music. By the point of his demise, Crumb had accomplished 4 books of madrigals and a number of other track cycles which employed Lorca’s texts, together with the 1970 track cycle Historic Voices of Kids.

Over the course of the Seventies, Crumb composed 4 volumes of piano music titled Makrokosmos, in response to Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. The works had been devoted to his buddy David Burge, a pianist and conductor who had additionally commissioned Crumb’s earlier 5 Items for Piano of 1962.

Crumb additionally taught for 3 many years on the College of Colorado and the College of Pennsylvania, with composers Jennifer Higdon, Osvaldo Golijov, and Christopher Rouse numbering amongst his college students.

Crumb is survived by his spouse, pianist Elizabeth Might Crumb (née Brown), in addition to their sons David and Peter. Their daughter Ann died of most cancers in 2019. Our condolences to Crumb’s household, pals, and colleagues.


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