Czech composer and pianist Oldřich František Korte (1926-2014) persevered through a very difficult career interruptions due to political tumult in his home country. He was imprisoned in a concentration camp during his studies at the Prague Conservatory and though he was forced to find employment outside of the arts upon his return to society. His musical language does not rely upon one particular style or genre.
5 Pieces by Oldřich František Korte
1) Philosophical Dialogues for violin and piano (1975)
2) The Story of Flutes (1958)
3) Sinfonietta for large orchestra (1947)
4) Songs of Troubadours
5) Sonata for Piano (1953)
2010 winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music, a 2009 Grammy Award, in addition to awards by the Guggenheim Foundation and ASCAP, composer Jennifer Higdon is one of the most celebrated female American composers of today. Her neoromantic language and use of octatonic scales have made her music a favorite for performing artists across many compositional genres including: flute solo, mixed chamber, saxophone ensemble, percussion, choral, orchestral, vocal solo, wind ensemble and band. At present Higdon resides in Philadelphia and teaches composition at the Curtis Institute.
5 Pieces by Jennifer Higdon
1) An Exaltation of Larks for string quartet
2) Piano Trio
3) Concerto for Orchestra (2002)
4) Impressions for string quartet
5) Splendid Wood for percussion
July 14, 1961 – Seoul, South Korea
South Korean composer Unsuk Chin has won many prestigeous new music awards in a career spanning over three decades, including: the Grawemeyer Award (2004), University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition (2004), the Arnold Schönberg Prize (2005), the Music Composition Prize of the Prince Pierre Foundation (2010). She studied with one of the most famous avant-garde composers of the latter-half of the 20th century, György Ligeti. Her body of works include compositions for orchestra, solo and double concerto, small ensemble, piano, opera, voice as well as pieces for tape and electronics. In addition to her life as a composer with her works played by major orchestras across the globe, Unsuk Chin promotes new music through an advisory role for the London-based Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music Today series.
Tristram Ogilvie Cary, OAM (1925 – 2008) was an English-Australian composer who’s varied catalogue includes many electroacoustic works alongside traditional instrumental language. In addition to works for the contemporary concert stage, Cary also wrote many commercial works for film, radio, and television. He penned the music for the Doctor Who series from 1963 to 1972. Cary was a pioneer in the promotion and creation of electronic music throughout the United Kingdom. In 1967 he established the first electronic music studio at the Royal College of Music and upon emigrating to Australia he expanded the electronic music studio at the University of Adelaide where he was a lecturer until 1986. While his name may still be a bit of a mystery for many, he was the composer who penned the music for ABC’s animated version of A Christmas Carol which won an Academy Award in 1972.
5 Pieces by Tristram Cary
1) Quartremass and the Pit (1967)
2) Music for Light (Red/White) (1968)
3) Narcissus for flute and two tape recorders (1968)
4) Centre Music (1967)
5) The Mutants from Doctor Who series (1972)
Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin (b. 1932) is one of the most recognizable Russian composers of concert music today. Shchedrin has a diverse and prolific compositional output including: operas, musicals, ballets, symphonies, concertos, chorus, solo voice, solo piano works, solo instrument as well as chamber ensemble. While Shchedrin is highly celebrated in his homeland, his works aren’t as well known to us in the west. Below we have compiled a playlist of works to introduce you to Shchedrin’s signature sound:
1) Cello Concerto, “Sotto Voce” for cello and orchestra in four parts (1994)
2) Self Portrait, variations for orchestra (1984)
3) Concerto for Orchestra #5 – “4 Russian Songs” for orchestra (1998)
4) 4 Pieces from The Humpbacked Horse for piano (1952-1961)
5) Carmen Suite (after G. Bizet) for ballet orchestra (1967)