Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Towards a David Rakowski Biography / Phillip George

David Rakowski (b. St. Albans, VT) played trombone in high school and community bands and keyboards in the rock band Silver Finger.

He studied at New England Conservatory, Princeton, and Tanglewood, with Robert Ceely, John Heiss, Milton Babbitt, Paul Lansky, Peter Westergaard, and Luciano Berio.

After a year teaching at Stanford, Rakowski taught at Columbia University for six years, before his lengthy and current tenure at Brandeis University.

His music and prose writing are renowned for their wit.



A Fanfare, for Two Dozen Trombones, Whose Length Was Determined by the Amount of Space Remaining in my Brown Notebook (1978, 1-1/2') 24 trb. (for the New England Conservatory Trombone Ensemble)

Duo (1979-81, 8' 30") for violin and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67262. (for Ken Sugita)

A Refusal to Mourn... (1979, 9') for baritone, fl, cl/bcl, vla, vc, hpschd, pno, offstage horn. (Poem: Dylan Thomas) (for Robert Hancock)

Elegy (1980, 82, 84, 5') for string quartet.

Elegy (1982, 84, 5') for string orchestra. (for the Cathedral Concert Orchestra)

Concerto (1982-83, 27') for violin and chamber orchestra. C.F. Peters, Edition 67454, rental. (BMI Student Composer Awards, 1983, 84; semifinalist, Friedheim Awards, 1991). Final movement is an arrangement of Duo for violin and piano.

Slange (1984-87, 14') for cl, bcl, hn, pno, vln, vla, vc, bass. C.F. Peters, Edition 67099. (for Parnassus)

Overderive (1985, 4') 4 tpt, 2ASax, 2TSax, BSax, 4 trb, Gt, Bass, Pno, Drums. (for the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble)

Imaginary Dances (1986-88, 16') for fl/afl, cl/bcl, ob/EH, vln, vla, vc, pno, perc. C.F. Peters, Edition 67382. (for Speculum Musicae)

Piano Études
BOOK I: (Peters Edition 67928a)
E-Machines (#1; 1988, 2' 30"), also available alone, Edition 67234. Repeated note étude (for Martin Butler).
BAM! (#2; 1991, 3'; étude on swirls of notes) (for Karen Harvey).
Nocturnal (#3; 1992, 4'; étude on slow repeated notes), also available, hand-copied, bound in same edition with BAM!, Edition 67588 (for Lyn Reyna).
Trillage (#4; 1993, 4' 30"), currently available by itself, Edition 67591. Trill étude. (for Alan Feinberg).
Figure Eight (#5; 1994, 3'), octave étude.
Mano à mano (#6; 1995, 3' 45"), étude on alternating hands (for Lisa Moore).
Les arbres embués (#7; 1995, 6'), étude on thick sonorities and embedded lines (for Martin Butler).
Close Enough for Jazz (#8; 1995, 3'), ostinato étude (for Sandra Sprecher).
Pollici e mignoli, or The Virus That Ate New York (#9: 1995, 3' 30"), étude for thumbs and pinkies.
Corrente (#10; 1996, 2' 30"), étude on left-hand running notes.
BOOK II: (Peters Edition 67928b)

Touch Typing (#11; 1996, 2' 40"), étude for index fingers only.
Northpaw (#12; 1996, 2' 40"), right-hand étude (for Lyn Reyna and Barbara Barclay).
Plucking A (#13; 1997, 1' 40"), inside-the-piano étude (for Marilyn Nonken).
Plucking A (#13a; 1997, 2002, 3'), inside-the-piano étude for Steinway "D" pianos. (for Amy Dissanayake).
Martler (#14; 1997, 2' 30"), hand crossing étude.
The Third, Man (#15; 1997, 2' 30"), étude on thirds.
Ice Boogie (#16; 1998, 2'), étude on octave leaps (for Steven Weigt).
Keine kaskadenjagd mehr (#17; 1998, 2' 15") étude on falling thirds and fourths.
Pitching from the Stretch (#18; 1998, 2'), étude on tenths.
Secondary Dominance (#19; 1998, 2' 30"), étude on seconds.
Fourth of Habit (#20; 1998, 2'), étude on fourths. (for Geoffrey Burleson).
BOOK III: (Peters Edition 67928c)
Twelve-Step Program (#21; 1999, 3'), on chromatic scales and wedges (for Marilyn Nonken).
Schnozzage (#22; 1999, 2' 10"), étude with melody played by the nose.
You Dirty Rag (#23; 1999, 2' 40"), for melody in the left thumb.
Horned In (#24; 1999, 2'), on horn fifths (for David Horne).
Fists of Fury (#25; 1999, 3' 30"), étude using fists (for Marilyn Nonken).
Once Bitten (#26; 2000, 2' 30"), on mordents.
Halftone (#27; 2000, 2' 00"), black vs. white keys.
You’ve Got Scale (#28; 2000, 3' 30"), on scales and arpeggios (for Teresa McCollough).
Roll Your Own (#29; 2000, 3' 00"), on rolled chords (for Jason Eckardt).
A Gliss Is Just a Gliss (#30; 2000, 1' 40"), on glissandi.
BOOK IV: (Peters Edition 67928d)
Usurpation (#31; 2000, 2-1/2') on a slow trill (also appears in Perspectives of New Music Boykan Festschrift). (for Martin Boykan at 70).
Boogie Ninths (#32; 2000, 2-1/2') on ninths.
Sliding Scales (#33, 2001, 3') gonzo étude on scales (for Marilyn Nonken).
Chorale Fantasy (#34, 2001, 2-1/2') slow étude on an embedded melody.
Luceole (#35, 2001, 2' 20") étude on ascending seconds and thirds (for Amy Dissanayake).
Purple (#36, 2001, 2-1/2") étude on a chord (for Amy Dissanayake).
Taking the Fifths (#37, 2002, 3') étude on perfect fifths.
Silent But Deadly (#38, 2002, 2-1/2') pianissimo étude (to Shehan Dissanayake).
Sixth Appeal (#39, 2002, 3') étude on sixths.
Strident (#40, 2002, 3-1/2') stride piano étude (for Amy Dissanayake).
BOOK V: (Peters Edition 67928e) commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation
Bop It (#41, 2002, 3') bop étude (for Geoffrey Burleson).
Madam I’m Adam (#42, 2002, 2') little palindrome étude.
Wiggle Room (#43, 2002, 2-1/2') étude on fast notes moving in parallel.
Triaddled (#44, 2002, 2-1/2') étude on triads.
Pink Tab (#45, 2002, 3-1/2') accelerando-ritenuto étude.
Durchrauscht die luft (#46, 2002, 2-1/2') étude on sevenths.
Fra diabolis (#47, 2002, 2-1/2') étude on tritones.
What Half Diminishes One (Half-Diminishes All) (#48, 2002, 2') chorale-étude on half-diminished seventh chords. (to Eric Chafe, on an idea stolen from Martler and encouraged by Rick M.).
Saltimmano (#49, 2002, 3') finger-pedaling étude.
No Stranger to Our Planet (#50, 2002, 2-1/2') étude on register shifts.
BOOK VI: (Peters Edition 67928f)
Zipper Tango (#51, 2003, 3') tango-étude on grace notes (for Amy Dissanayake).
Moody’s Blues (#52, 2003, 3') rock and roll étude on repeated chords (to Rick Moody).
Cell Division (#53, 2003, 2-1/2') treble étude on arpeggios.
Pedal to the Metal (#54, 2003, 3') pedaling étude (to Rick Moody).
Eight Misbeahvin’ (#55, 2003, 2-1/2') slow octave étude (for Amy Osborn).
Crazy Eights (#56, 2003, 3') fast octave/black-white key étude.
Chord Shark (#57, 2003, 2-1/2') slow étude on thick chords (for Corey Hamm).
Wound Tight (#58, 2003, 2-1/2') fast étude on all chords (for Corey Hamm).
Zeccatella (#59, 2003, 3') staccato-legato étude (for Amy Dissanayake).
Accents of Malice (#60, 2003, 3-1/2') accent étude.

Terra Firma (1988, 13') for Pierrot ensemble. (for Alea II)

Eleven Recital Pieces (1989, 1' each) for children aged 5 and 6, in duet with their instructor. (commissioned by Judith Bettina and James Goldsworthy for the Nueva Learning Center)

Six Bogan Poems (1989-90, 16') for soprano, string orchestra, harp and celesta C.F. Peters, Edition 67453, rental.

Three Songs on Poems of Louise Bogan (1989, 8') for soprano and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67381. (for Judith Bettina and James Goldsworthy)

Crackling Fire (1990, 4-1/2') for piano four hands. Commissioned by James Goldsworthy and Sara Doniach.

Musician (1990, 3') voice, violin and piano (for Judy, Jim and The New Arrival, text by Louise Bogan) C.F. Peters Edition 67453a.

Symphony #1 (1990-91, 29') for soprano and orchestra (2(picc)23(bcl)2 2220 2perc,pno, str). C.F. Peters, Edition 67543, rental. (for the Riverside Symphony)

Diverti (1991, 6') for Bb clarinet and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67542. (for Beth Wiemann)

O Rhode Island (1991, 1') voice and piano. (text by Tom Chandler)

Three Encores (1991, 8') for medium-to-high voice and piano. C.F. Peters Edition 67617 (for Judith Bettina).Vocal Ease, Vocal Angst, and Scatter.

Winged Contraption (1991, 9') for orchestra (22(Ehn)3(bcl)2 4220 2perc,pno,str). C.F. Peters Edition 67618, rental (to Marty Boykan at 60).

Cerberus (1991-92, 23') for clarinet and chamber orchestra. C.F. Peters, Edition 67515. (for Beth Wiemann, NEA Fellowship)

Hyperblue (1991-93, 13') for piano trio. C.F. Peters, Edition 67541. (commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation for the Itzkoff-Shapiro-Rider trio)

Firecat (1993, 10') for flute and piano. C.F. Peters Edition 67589. (for Margaret Swinchoski)

Trio (1993, 8') for piano trio, for teenagers. (commissioned by Sara Doniach) (score lost)

No Holds Barred (1994-95, 30'), for cello and chamber orchestra. C.F. Peters, Edition 67682, rental. (for the Crosstown Ensemble)

Silently, A Wind Goes Over (1994, 13') for soprano and piano. C.F. Peters Edition 67616. (Poems: Joseph Duemer, April Bernard, Robert Louis Stevenson, Wallace Stevens) (for Susan Narucki)
A Loose Gathering of Words (1993, 12') for soprano and mixed quintet (cl, bcl, vla, vc, bass). C.F. Peters Edition 67587. (Poems: Joseph Duemer, Louise Bogan, Wallace Stevens, Tom Chandler) (for the Composers Ensemble)

The Burning Woman, The Physics of Witches, and Last Dance (1995, 7') for mezzo-soprano., cl., and pno. C.F. Peters Edition 67647. (Poems: Joseph Duemer) (for Opus 90)

Mento (1995, 6') for Bb clarinet and piano. C.F. Peters Edition 67650. (for Beth Wiemann)

Nothing But the Wind (1995, 15') for soprano and orchestra (223(bcl)2 4220 2 perc, str). C.F. Peters, Edition 67709, rental.

Siren Song (1995, 1-1/2'), ostinato piece on Italian ambulance sirens.

Two Can Play That Game (1995, 4' 15") for bass clarinet and marimba, C.F. Peters, Edition 67710. (for Peter Josheff)

Weather Jazz (1995, 3' 40") for high voice and Pierrot ensemble or voice and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67712, 67712a. (Poem: Joseph Duemer)

Boy in the Dark (1996, 18'), ballet/fantasy for children dancers, children's chorus and Pierrot plus percussion. C.F. Peters 67748. (for Boston Musica Viva)

The Burning Woman Revisited (1996, 7') for soprano and clarinet. C.F. Peters, Edition 67711. (Poems: Joseph Duemer) (for Susan Narucki and Beth Wiemann)

Sesso e Violenza (1995-96, 23') for fl/picc, fl/afl, vln, vla, vc pno, perc. C.F. Peters, Edition 67734. (commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for Ensemble 21)

Tight Fit (1996, 5') for 'cello and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67732. (for Rhonda Rider and Lois Shapiro)

Attitude Problem (1996-97, 15') for piano trio. C.F. Peters, Edition 67776. (for the Triple Helix)

Persistent Memory (1996-97, 21') for chamber orchestra (2(picc)22(bcl)2 2000 str(5-4-3-3-1). C.F. Peters, 67862, rental. Pulitzer Prize finalist, 1999. First movement, Elegy, may be performed by itself. (commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with funds from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust)

Dances in the Dark (1996, 98; 14') for Pierrot plus percussion. C.F. Peters Edition 67748a. (concert suite from "Boy in the Dark")

Rowell Come Back Now (1997, 98, 18') for 5-string electric violin solo. C.F. Peters, Edition 67844. (for Mary Rowell)

Take Jazz Chords, Make Strange (1997, 12') for clarinet and string quartet. C.F. Peters, Edition 67823. (for Beth Wiemann, The Lydian String Quartet and the 50th anniversary of Brandeis University)

Feslpimal (1998, 10') for clarinet, cello and piano, for teenagers (commissioned by Sara Doniach)

The Squeaky Wheel (1998, 1-1/2') for E-flat clarinet solo. (for Beth Wiemann)

Pied-à-Terre (1999, 10') for violin and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67943. (for Bayla Keyes and Lois Shapiro)

The Gardener (2000, 5') for soprano, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67749. (Poem: Sophie Wadsworth) (for Network for New Music) (also song #2 of Sex Songs)
Georgic (2000, 2-1/2') for soprano and piano. (poem by Phillis Levin) (commissioned by James Goldsworthy for Judith Bettina). C.F. Peters, Edition 68130.

Gut Reaction (2000, 15') for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 67843. (commissioned by Network for New Music)

Martian Counterpoint (2000, arr. 2003, 7') ca. 25 clarinets (concerto group of 10, ripieno group of ca. 15 (9 parts) and one percussionist). C.F. Peters, Edition 67978a. For the clarinet section of the US Marine Band.

Sex Songs (2000, 2004-5, 21') for soprano, clarinet, piano and string trio. For Susan Narucki. Poets include Sophie Wadsworth, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Ida Thøenkkittüpp, and Rick Moody (for Susan Narucki).

Ten of a Kind (Symphony No. 2, 2000, 27'), for clarinet section (Eb, 6 Bb, alto, bass, Bb contrabass) and wind ensemble (picc, 2fl, 2 ob, EHn, 2 bsn, Cbsn, 2 ASax, TSax, BSax, 4 hn, 4 tpt(C), 4 trb, 2 euph, Tuba, 4 perc). C.F. Peters, Edition 67978. Pulitzer finalist, 2002. (commissioned by "The President's Own" United States Marine Band)

When the Bow Breaks (2000, 13') for violin solo. C.F. Peters, Edition 67871. (for Curtis Macomber)

Locking Horns (2001-2, 18') for horn and chamber orchestra. (commissioned by Sequitur) C.F. Peters, Edition 67995.

Elegy (2002, arr. 2005, 3'). Sara arranged for organ by Carson Cooman. C.F. Peters, 68131a

Memorial (2002, 10') for clarinet, viola and piano. (commissioned by Richard and Linda Kerber in memory of Alan Widiss)

Sara (2002, 4') elegy in memory of Sara Doniach. Commissioned by Judith Bettina and James Goldsworthy for Sara's students. C.F. Peters, Edition 68131.

Trompe L'Oeil (2002, 2') for two marimbas. (for Double Play: Stephen Paysen and Dominic Donato)

Sibling Revelry (2002-2003/2004, 14') for wind ensemble (picc, 2fl, Afl, 2ob, Ehn, Ebcl, 3cl, Acl, Bcl, CBcl, 2bsn, Cbsn, 2ASax, TSax, BSax, 4hn, 4tpt, 4trb, 2euph,Tuba,4 perc). Arrangements of four piano études (Zipper Tango, Strident, Bop It and Moody's Blues) C.F. Peters, Edition 67928ff.

Dream Symphony (Symphony No. 3, 2003, 28') for string orchestra (8-6-5-4-2) (for the New England String Ensemble). C.F. Peters, Edition 68135.

Twofer (2003, 6') for violin and 'cello. (commissioned by Dinosaur Annex for dance by the Nicola Hawkins Dance Company). C.F. Peters, forthcoming.

Violin Songs (2003, 18') for soprano and violin. (Poetry: Chuileanean, Frost, W.C. Williams, Gluck, Rukeyser) (for Susan Narucki and Curtis Macomber).

Beezle Nose (2004, 1-1/2') for Robert Ceely's retirement tribute concert.

Four Rivers (2004, 10') for flute, clarinet, horn and marimba, for high school musicians (commissioned by the Rivers Music School)

Rule of Three (2004, 10') for fl, cl and piano (commissioned by Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge). C.F. Peters, Edition 68133.

Seven Duets (2004, 1' each) pno 4-hands for beginning to intermediate students aged ca. 10-11 (commissioned by James Goldsworthy)

The Bacchae (2005, 25'), 35 cues of varying lengths, for string quartet and timpani. For spring 2006 Brandeis production of the play by Euripides, directed by Eric Hill, sound design by J Hagenbuckle. With funding from the Poses Foundation.

Inside Story (Piano Trio #3, 2005, 14') for violin, cello and piano. C.F. Peters, Edition 68134 (Curtis Macomber, Norman Fischer and Jeanne Kierman, and Music in the Mountains).

It Takes Nine to Funk (2005, 4-1/2') 6 cl, 2 BCl, CBCl. An arrangement of Absofunkinlutely. C.F. Peters, Edition 67928gg

Snaggle (2005, 10') for solo hand drums, in three movements. (commissioned by Michael Lipsey). Calabrese Brothers Publishing.