PULLMAN, Wash. – Composer and University of Oregon faculty member David Crumb has accepted an invitation from the Washington State University School of Music and Theatre Arts to be the 2005 honored composer at the school’s Festival of Contemporary Art Music.

“David Crumb’s music is always dramatic, intense and eclectic,” said Charles Argersinger, professor of composition at WSU and creator of the festival. “Crumb’s compositions draw upon various musical materials, from the raw driving rhythms and dissonances of Stravinsky to the elegant romanticism of the music of Chopin. It will bathe you in a splash of orchestral colors and leave you in a spiritual peace of mind,” Argersinger said.


Compositions by Crumb will be performed by WSU faculty in a public concert in Kimbrough Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12. Student and faculty compositions will also be highlighted during the festival, which runs Feb. 10-12. The recital of faculty compositions will be presented at 8 p.m. Feb. 10 in Bryan Hall Auditorium. Student work will be presented at 11:10 a.m. Feb. 10 in Bryan Hall Auditorium.

The Festival of Contemporary Art Music was established 16 years ago to bring world-class contemporary music composers to campus to broaden the exposure of the music and to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the genre.

“The festival is enormously important to contemporary music in at least two directions,” said Erich Lear, former director of the School of Music and Theatre Arts and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Our guest composers have been uniformly impressed with the quality of performances their music receives; they are inspired to coach us in the finest of points about their music. Our faculty and students receive confirmation of their work through the composers’ regard for the initial rehearsals and through the additional praise when adjustments are made in the best positive spirit and with quick improvement. Finally,” Lear said, “through it all, we deliver first-class music in first-class performances to our audiences.”

Crumb joined the music faculty at the University of Oregon in 1997 as an associate professor of composition and theory. In previous years, Crumb served as visiting professor at Duke University, UCLA, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and West Chester University.

Crumb holds degrees in composition and cello from the Eastman School and a doctorate in composition from the University of Pennsylvania. He spent one year at the Rubin Academy in Israel studying composition and counterpoint with Russian-born composer Mark Kopytman. During these formative years he also studied composition with Samuel Adler, Chinary Ung, Jay Reise, Richard Wernick, Lukas Foss, Joseph Schwantner and Stephen Albert.

Crumb has participated in the Tanglewood Music Festival (fellowship in composition), the Gamper Festival at Bowdoin College, Colorado College’s Annual New Music Festival, Bowling Green State University‘s 21st Annual New Music & Art Festival and the Music at the Anthology Festival. He has received numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Los Angeles Composers Project 2 Prize, a National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Composition Project prize, two ASCAP Foundation Grants to Young Composers, an ASCAP–Raymond Hubbell Award, two Meet the Composer Fund awards, a Vanguard Arts Associates Award (third prize), and a New England Reed Trio “Composition Competition” Award (third prize). Recently he was selected to participate in Riverside Symphony’s International Composers Readings. He has received commissions from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Temple University, the ASCAP Foundation in collaboration with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the NEOS trio, the Cumberland Valley Chamber Players and the Dunn–Pennington Duo. In early 1997, Crumb was in residence at the Yaddo and MacDowell artist colonies, where he exchanged ideas with artists in other disciplines, including prominent writers and visual artists.

Selected performances include “Variations for Cello and Chamber Ensemble,” first performed by Lynn Harrell and the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group on the Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series (May 1993). In February 1999, the Orchestra 2001 performed and recorded “Variations” with Ulrich Boeckheler as soloist (released on the C.R.I. label), and in May 2000 the Cleveland Chamber Symphony performed this work with Regina Mushabak as soloist. In June 1991, “Clarino,” a work commissioned in honor of the Centennial of the Chicago Symphony, was premiered by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Michael Morgan conducting. Since then, “Clarino” has been performed by the Baltimore Symphony, Zinman conducting (May 1997). Other notable performers and presenters of Crumb’s works include the Parnassus Ensemble, the Pacific Contemporary Music Center Festival, the University of Oregon‘s Festival of the Millennium, Capitol Composers Alliance, Chesapeake Chamber Players, Peabody Chamber Players, Voices of Change Ensemble and the Abramyan Quartet. Crumb is published by Theodore Presser Co. and is a member of ASCAP.

For more about the Festival of Contemporary Art Music, visit http://libarts.wsu.edu/artmusic/.