Renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner is this year’s Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition at the Eastman School of Music and will be at the School from Feb. 12 to March 7. During his residency, Wyner will present seminars and will meet with eight students each week in composition tutorials. He will return to Eastman following his residency to hear his music performed by the Musica Nova ensemble at 8 p.m. Friday, March 21, in Kilbourn Hall.
“The Composition Department is delighted to have Yehudi Wyner in residence as our Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition,” said Department Chair David Liptak. “He is a major American composer, and the faculty and student composers look forward to what we know will be energetic involvement with our department and the school.”
Wyner has created a diverse body of more than 60 works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo voice and solo instruments as well as music for the theater and liturgical services. In 1998, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society honored Wyner with the Elise Stoeger Award for his lifetime contribution to chamber music. The following year, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2006, Wyner’s piano concerto Chiavi in mano was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Born in western Canada, Wyner grew up in New York City and graduated with a diploma in piano from the Juilliard School. He went on to earn degrees from Yale and Harvard Universities. After winning the Rome Prize in Composition in 1953, he spent three years at the American Academy in Rome, composing and playing. In the course of his career, Wyner also has been a solo pianist, chamber musician, educator, director of two opera companies, and conductor of numerous chamber and vocal ensembles.
Some of Wyner’s recent orchestral works include Prologue and Narrative for Cello and Orchestra, commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic for the Manchester International Cello Festival; Lyric Harmony, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the American Composers Orchestra; and Epilogue, commissioned by the Yale School of Music. Other recent works include String Quartet; Toward the Center for piano; Sweet Consort for flute and piano; Trapunto Junction, commissioned by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players; The Second Madrigal: Voices of Women, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation at the Library of Congress; Commedia for clarinet and piano, commissioned by Emanuel Ax and Richard Stoltzman; and Horntrio, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998.
In addition to the Pulitzer and Rome Prizes, Wyner has been honored with two Guggenheim Fellowships, an A.E. Hertz Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Arts and Letters.
Wyner taught for 14 years at Yale, where he was head of the composition faculty. He also taught at SUNY Purchase, where he was dean of the music division; Cornell University; and at Brandeis University, where he was the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition and is currently professor emeritus of composition.
The Howard Hanson Visiting Professorship in Composition is funded by the Eastman’s Hanson Institute for American Music and was held for the first time in 2007 by Mario Davidovsky.
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