Recording William Bolcom's Piano Music

The idea to record William Bolcom’s solo piano music, eventually called “The New Bolcom Project,” appeared in the midst of American Double’s recording of his violin and piano compositions and is a product of my long-standing involvement with the music of this very important composer as well as the ever-increasing desire at the time to engage in more solo playing.  I presented this idea to Naxos Records and was very happy to find out that they were interested. The next several months were spent corresponding with Bolcom and his publisher, Evan Hause, to compile a listing of the complete solo piano compositions, trying to remain calm as this list was growing to its current size and dealing with the realization that it would take six! CD’s to present (almost) all of the works.  Here are the compositions to appear on each of the six CD’s:

CD 1
FANTASY-SONATA
9 BAGATELLES
SPRING DANCES
NEW BAGATELLES
60-SECOND BALLET 


CD 2
12 ETUDES
NEW YORK LIGHTS
DREAM MUSIC
BIRD SPIRITS
ANOTHER GOLDBERG VARIATION 


CD 3
12 NEW ETUDES
MONSTERPIECES
ROMANTIC PIECES


CD 4 
VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY G. ROCHBERG
COLLUSIONS
BIRTHDAY PIECE FOR TJ
3 DANCE PORTRAITS NIGHT PIECES
CONVERSATIONS WITH ANDRE
A HAUNTED LABYRINTH
BRASS KNUCKLES


CD 5
RAGS
SCHUBERT, SONATA IN C MAJOR, D. 840; COMPLETED BY BOLCOM

CD 6
RAGS
ALBENIZ, NAVARRA; COMPLETED BY BOLCOM 

Photograph of Constantine Finehouse

William Bolcom

Composer/pianist William Bolcom was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1938. He began private composition studies at age 11 with John Verrall and piano lessons with Berthe Poncy Jacobson at the University of Washington. During this time he performed extensively in the Northwest and Seattle areas. In 1958 Bolcom earned his B.A. from the University of Washington, going on to study with Darius Milhaud at Mills College and at the Conservatoire de Paris. He earned a doctorate in composition in 1964 from Stanford University, where he worked with Leland Smith. He has since gone on to become one of the best known composers of his generation, having received commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic to name only a few. Most recently, he received the 2006 National Medal of Honor (bestowed upon him by the President) and was named Musical America’s “Composer of the Year” for 2007.

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