Thoughts on Evaluating Unfamiliar Music

I have been a musicologist and critic for almost 50 years now, during which most of my activity has involved the description, assessment, and–in some cases– advocacy of music composed since 1915. Since there really aren’t generally accepted criteria for …

Arnold Rosner (1945-2013)

American composer Arnold Rosner died in his Brooklyn apartment on his 68th birthday, November 8, 2013. Rosner was born in New York City, where his father owned a candy store. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, NYU, and …

The Houston Connection

As regular readers may be aware, I have a fondness for American wind band music—especially from the generation of composers who contributed to that repertoire during the 1950s and the 20 or 30 years that followed. During the decades of …

Paul Creston: Maintaining a Middle Course

An autodidact by necessity as well as by temperament, Giuseppe Gut­toveggio was born seventy years ago to immigrant parents in New York City and was forced to take a full-time job before finishing high school. Although he had taken piano …

Robert Muczynski (1929-2010) Obituary.

American composer Robert Muczynski died on May 25, at age 81. I have often described Muczynski as the most frequently-performed composer whose music is never discussed. His Flute Sonata (1961) is in the repertoire of most flutists, and his Moments (1992) for …

PETER MENNIN: Biography

MENNIN, Peter (17 May 1923-17 June 1983), composer and educational administrator, was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of Attilio Mennini, a restaurant owner, and Amelia Bennaci. The elder Mennini was an avid record collector, and music was a central …

Recordings that Changed My Life

In order to apply this intriguing concept to my own personal experience, I must alter the terms somewhat, and discuss five groups of recordings that affected my life significantly. The first group would be those 78 rpm records that my parents owned …

“Nicolas Flagello” (biography)

Nicolas Flagello was one of the last composers to develop a distinctive mode of expression based wholly on the principles and techniques of European late-Romanticism. Born in New York City in 1928, Flagello grew up in a highly musical family …