PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University music professor Gregory
Yasinitsky recently was selected to receive the Commission Project of New
York’s inaugural Washington state composer-in-residence award.
The commission project is an organization that sponsors
composer-in-residence programs in several Eastern and Midwest cities.
Yasinitsky is the first West Coast composer to be recognized by the
organization with such a residence.
Yasinitsky is in residence during the 2000-01 academic year at Clarkston
(Wash.) High School, where he will work with music teacher Fred Dole. The
WSU faculty member will be writing music for various CHS ensembles,
including the concert band, wind ensemble, jazz band, choir and jazz choir. A
highlight of the year will be a work composed by Yasinitsky for all of the music
students at the high school, to be premiered at the inaugural concert for the
school’s new performing arts facility. The residency is expected to be the first
of a multi-year collaboration among Yasinitsky, the Clarkston School District
and the Commission Project of New York.
The organization commissioned three pieces for jazz band by Yasinitsky in
1999. The pieces are now published and performed by school jazz bands
around the world.
Yasinitsky is coordinator of jazz studies at WSU. He joined the faculty in 1982.
He earned degrees in composition from the Eastman School and San Francisco
State University. Yasintisky studied composition with Pulitzer Prize-winning
composers Joseph Schwantner and Wayne Peterson, and with Lou Harrison,
Samuel Adler and Robert Morris. He has received numerous awards and grants
from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer West, the
Artist Trust and ASCAP. He has published more than 90 musical works.
Earlier this year, he received an ASCAPLU$ Standard Award for original music
compositions. The cash awards, sponsored by the American Society of
Composers, Authors and Publishers, are given to assist and encourage writers
of serious music. They focus on recognizing classical or jazz composers.
An independent panel determines the “unique prestige value” of each writer’s
catalog of original compositions in combination with reviews of recent
performances of the works.
“These are for people whose music is played for live performances, rather than
radio,” the composer said. Most of Yasinitsky’s works are performed at
universities and public schools.