Crumb’s voice as a composer a long time in the making

Posted on: November 15, 2010

In Sunday’s (11/14) Los Angeles Times, Delia Casadei writes, “Despite having turned 81 less than three weeks ago, American composer George Crumb remains deeply absorbed in his craft. The native of Charleston, W.V., has been nestled in his suburban Philadelphia home for 45 years. Thanks to an Emeritus professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, he can afford to not compose on commission. ‘I have always been a slow writer,’ he confesses. Slow he may be, but he is by no means uninspired. He composes every morning and rewards himself with a scotch and water—or two—in the late afternoon. … Though he has been active as a composer since the late ‘40s, the unique voice that affirmed his leading place in today’s musical world came after years of development. He won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1968 but truly found his voice in 1970, with the piece ‘Black Angels’ for electric string quartet. … Crumb’s latest long-term musical project is a seven-installment ‘American Songbook’ for female voice, percussion quartet and amplified piano. … Los Angeles will hear ‘River of Life (Songs of Joy and Sorrow)—American Songbook No. 1’ Tuesday in a Green Umbrella performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, starring soprano Tony Arnold and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, with the young French Canadian conductor Jean-Michaël Lavoie.”

Posted November 15, 2010