Periodically Walter-Simmons.com will feature a particular composer whose music we think you will enjoy. There will be a brief description, a sample of his work, and some links that will help you pursue further information. You may also search our database for my writings on the composer. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Previous Featured Composers: Lee Hoiby, Robert Muczynski, Arnold Rosner, and Daniel Catàn

Our currently featured composer is Paul Moravec. He is 47 years old, and has been part of the contemporary music scene for some time, with more than 70 works to his credit. However, his name has only recently come into national prominence, as the recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in music. A graduate of Harvard and Columbia Universities, Moravec is also a recipient of the Prix de Rome, has taught on the faculties of Columbia and Dartmouth, and currently chairs the music department of Adelphi University.

What is striking about Moravec’s music is that it reveals clear tonal centers and uses a harmonic language that is often quite consonant, yet his work is unmistakably identifiable as stemming from the turn of the 21st century, without the obvious influence of antecedent composers. The Tempest Fantasy, Moravec’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work, is notable for its energetic yet graceful exuberance and its subtle lyricism. These qualities are also apparent in the Scherzo for piano trio, which may be heard here.

Moravec’s success is especially heartening as an indication that perhaps America has reached the point where a composer can achieve auspicious success simply by the intrinsic freshness and appeal of his work, without having to be affiliated with a particular “in-group,” “movement,” or stylistic “ism.”

Listen to Moravec's Scherzo for piano trio

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Radio interview:

Faculty profile

Paul Moravec's website