" Spirals "
for orchestra and chamber music
- Nominated for : The Musical Composition Prize 2008
The composer Fred Lerdahl studied at Lawrence University, Princeton and Tanglewood.
He taught at the University of California (Berkeley), Harvard and Michigan, and since 1991 at Columbia University, where he is the "Fritz Reiner Professor" of the Department of Music.
He received several awards for his music, including the Koussevitzky Composition Prize, awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a grant from Guggenheim Fellowship.
Commissions are passed from the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Spoleto Festival, National Endowment for the Arts, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, and others.
Among the orchestras and organizations that perform or program his works including the New York Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Eighth Blackbird, Speculum Musicae, Collage, Antares, the Juilliard Quartet, the Pro Arte Quartet, Ensemble XXI, Lontano and the Venice Biennale.
He lived in many residences: the Marlboro Music Festival, IRCAM, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the American Academy in Rome, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
Lerdahl is also recognized as a music theorist. He has written two books, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (with the linguist Ray Jackendoff) and Tonal Pitch Space, in which, for each of them, listening to music appears as a model of perspective in the field of cognitive science.
"Spirals" (2006) for chamber orchestra, consists of two movements of equal length, the first rapid and tonic, the second comparatively slow and lyrical. The instrumentation is for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, percussion, piano and strings (6-6-4-4-2).
The title refers to a form of technique, my invention in which a small simple idea gradually develops varied and complex models, each developing cycle expanding the spiral. Halfway between each movement, the cycle reverses and contracts back to its point of origin, while the musical ideas continue to grow.