Thursday, March 31, 2011

A visit from Yehudi

On Wednesday, April 6, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner visits the Center for 21st Century Music for a round of master classes. Wyner has created a diverse body of over sixty works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo performers, theater music, and liturgical services. In addition to composing and teaching, his active and eclectic musical career includes work as a performer, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous ensembles in a wide range of repertory. Wrote Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times, "A comprehensive musician, Mr. Wyner is an elegant pianist, a fine conductor, a prolific composer, and a revered teacher. His works show a deep understanding of what sounds good and is technically efficient."

Yehudi Wyner was born in Western Canada and grew up in New York City in a musical family. His father, Lazar Weiner, was an eminent composer of Yiddish Art Song as well as a notable creator of liturgical music for the modern synagogue. This early exposure paved the way for a Diploma in piano from Juilliard and further musical studies at Yale and Harvard Universities with composers Richard Donovan, Walter Piston, and Paul Hindemith. A Handel course at Harvard brought Wyner to the attention of Randall Thompson, who became a staunch supporter and friend. In 1953, Mr. Wyner won the Rome Prize in Composition enabling him to spend the next three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing, performing, and traveling. Since then, he has received many honors which include the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Piano concerto Chiavi in mano, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a grant from the American Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Brandeis Creative Arts Award. In 1998 Mr. Wyner received the Elise Stoeger Award from Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society for his lifetime contribution to chamber music. His Horntrio was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998, and in 1999 Mr. Wyner was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Not only is Wyner a distinguished composer, but a teacher of distinguished composers. His students include:
During his visit, Wyner will give a presentation of his own music to the UB composition seminar, as well as giving individual lessons. Later in April (on the 19th), another Pulitzer Prize-winner, Charles Wuorinen, will visit the Center. Watch this space for further details.

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