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John Corigliano

February 16, 1938 -
born in United States, composed during the Contemporary period
American composer John Corigliano (b. 1938) has summed up his artistic aims thus: "It has been fashionable of late for the artist to be misunderstood. I think it is the job of the composer to reach out to his audience with every means at his disposal.... Communication of his most important ideas should be the primary goal." Throughout the development of his career, Corigliano's "primary goal" of communication with the audience has remained ever in his sight. In an atmosphere in which audience responses to new music so often range from indifferent to adversarial, Corigliano takes a place among the few "serious" contemporary composers whose appeal has ranged beyond the new-music crowd to reach listeners steeped in more traditional, time-tested fare.

The son of longtime New York Philharmonic concertmaster John Corigliano, Sr., Corigliano received his formal training at Columbia University and the Manhattan School of Music; his teachers included Otto Luening, Vittorio Giannini, and Paul Creston. Corigliano's father, with his from-the-trenches perspective on the world of classical music, at first discouraged John Jr. from pursuing a career in composition, all too aware of the difficulties that faced contemporary composers. However, after a stint as a music programmer for radio, Corigliano attracted international attention for his Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963), awarded the top prize at the 1964 Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

From that point, he continued to evolve a musical language in which architecture, color, and overt drama are paramount. While his works are steeped in a Romantic aesthetic that makes liberal, unembarrassed use of tonality, Corigliano's inclusive sensibility has led him to also employ extended instrumental techniques, microtones, and elements of minimalism and serialism (sometimes in a parodistic context); more recently he has incorporated live electronics into his music. The orchestra is clearly Corigliano's native medium and the ensemble for which he has written his most compelling works. He has demonstrated an especial interest in the concerto; in his concerti for piano (1968), oboe (1975), clarinet (1977), flute (1981), and guitar (1993), Corigliano both approaches the relationship between soloist and orchestra from a fresh perspective and makes notably creative use of the instrumental resources at hand. The Symphony No. 1 (1990), written in response to the AIDS crisis, is remarkable for its effective alchemy of intensely personal associations and musical potency; in 1991, it was awarded the Grawemeyer Award, the most lucrative prize in the world of contemporary classical music.

On an occasional basis since the 1980s, Corigliano has lent his abilities to producing film music of exceptional interest. His score for Ken Russell's Altered States (1980) was nominated for an Academy Award; nearly two decades later, he took home the Oscar for his score to François Girard's The Red Violin (1998). Though Corigliano's catalogue of chamber music remains relatively slender, works such as the Grammy-winning String Quartet (1995) and Chiaroscuro (1997) for two pianos suggest an increasing interest in writing for smaller forces.

The composer's affinity for the voice is at once evident in numerous vocal and choral works like the "memory play in the form of an oratorio" Dylan Thomas Trilogy (1999) and the song cycle Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan (2000). His most ambitious work to date, the opera The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), has earned worldwide plaudits and, in a rare instance among contemporary operas, has enjoyed repeated productions since its premiere. ~ Michael Rodman, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Corigliano: Mr. Tambourine Man; Seven Poems of Bob Dylan; Three Hallucinations

Title: Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra

1. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: I. Prelude: Mr. Tambourine Man

2. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: II. Clothes Line

3. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: III. Blowin' In The Wind

4. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: IV. Masters Of War

5. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: V. All Along The Watchtower

6. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: VI. Chimes Of Freedom

7. Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems Of Bob Dylan, For Voice & Orchestra: VII. Postlude: Forever Young

Title: Three Hallucinations, For Orchestra (based On The Film Score "Altered States")

8. Three Hallucinations, For Orchestra (based On The Film Score "Altered States"): I. Sacrifice

9. Three Hallucinations, For Orchestra (based On The Film Score "Altered States"): II. Hymn

10. Three Hallucinations, For Orchestra (based On The Film Score "Altered States"): III. Ritual

x

Track List: Corigliano: Symphony No. 2 & The Mannheim Rocket

Title: Symphony No. 2

1. Symphony No. 2: I. Prelude

2. Symphony No. 2: II. Scherzo

3. Symphony No. 2: III. Nocturne

4. Symphony No. 2: IV. Fugue

5. Symphony No. 2: V. Postlude

Title: The Mannheim Rocket, For Orchestra

6. The Mannheim Rocket, For Orchestra: The Mannheim Rocket

x

Track List: John Corigliano: Tournaments Overture; Elegy; Piano Concerto; Gazebo Dances

Title: Tournaments, overture for orchestra

1. Tournaments, overture for orchestra: Tournaments Overture

Title: Elegy, for orchestra

2. Elegy, for orchestra: Elegy

Title: Concerto for Piano

3. Concerto for Piano: I. Allegro

4. Concerto for Piano: II. Scherzo

5. Concerto for Piano: III. Andante Appasionato

6. Concerto for Piano: IV. Allegro

Title: Gazebo Dances, arrangement for orchestra

7. Gazebo Dances, arrangement for orchestra: I. Overture - Allegro Con Brio

8. Gazebo Dances, arrangement for orchestra: II. Waltz - Allegretto

9. Gazebo Dances, arrangement for orchestra: III. Adagio

10. Gazebo Dances, arrangement for orchestra: IV. Tarantella - Allegro

x

Track List: Winging It: Piano Music of John Corigliano

Title: Winging It, Improvisations For Piano

1. Winging It, Improvisations For Piano: I. 12/28/07

2. Winging It, Improvisations For Piano: II. 1/3/08

3. Winging It, Improvisations For Piano: III. 6/7/08

Title: Chiarascuro, For 2 Pianos

4. Chiarascuro, For 2 Pianos: I. Light

5. Chiarascuro, For 2 Pianos: II. Shadows

6. Chiarascuro, For 2 Pianos: III. Strobe

Title: Fantasia On An Ostinato, For Piano

7. Fantasia On An Ostinato, For Piano: Fantasia On An Ostinato

Title: Kaleidoscope, For 2 Pianos

8. Kaleidoscope, For 2 Pianos: Kaleidoscope

Title: Etude Fantasy, For Piano

9. Etude Fantasy, For Piano: I. For The Left Hand Alone

10. Etude Fantasy, For Piano: II. Legato

11. Etude Fantasy, For Piano: III. Fifths To Thirds

12. Etude Fantasy, For Piano: IV. Ornaments

13. Etude Fantasy, For Piano: V. Melody

Comments

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Very impressive!
Report as inappropriate
Does anyone know for certain how he pronounces his name? Is it Corigilano or Corileano? (as in the Italian method of 'gli' pronounced lyee)
Report as inappropriate
marian-lilje q u i s t
may i get more from the composer named Geminani?
Report as inappropriate
Fantastic... t h e r e ' s a lot of people out there...we are not alone.
Trius

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