Fred LERDAHL

Lerdahl studied at Lawrence University, Princeton, and Tanglewood. He has taught at UC/Berkeley, Harvard, and Michigan, and since 1991 he has been Fritz Reiner Professor of Music at Columbia University. Commissions have come 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, Chamber Music America, and others. Among the organizations that have performed his works are 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, Orpheus, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, eighth blackbird, Speculum Musicae, Collage, Argento, Talea, the Peabody Trio, the Juilliard Quartet, the Pro Arte Quartet, the Daedalus Quartet, Ensemble XXI, Lontano, and the Venice Biennale.
He has been in residence at 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 Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Etchings Festival, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Lerdahl’s music has been commercially recorded on several labels and Bridge Records has established “The Music of Fred Lerdahl” portrait series. “The Music of Fred Lerdahl, Vol. 4” was released in May, 2013 featuring the composer’s Spirals for chamber orchestra, Three Diatonic Studies for piano, Imbrications for mixed sextet, Wake for soprano and ensemble, and Fantasy Etudesfor mixed sextet, with performances by the Argento Ensemble, Boston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players, eighth blackbird, the Odense Symphony Orchestra, soprano Bethany Beardslee and pianist Mirka Viitala.
His seminal book A Generative Theory of Tonal Music, co-authored with linguist Ray Jackendoff, is a founding document for the growing field of the cognitive science of music. His subsequent book, Tonal Pitch Space, won the 2003 distinguished book award from the Society for Music Theory and an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award. A third book (in progress), Composition and Cognition, based on his 2011 Bloch Lectures at UC/Berkeley, will bring together his dual activity as composer and theorist.
In 2010 Lerdahl was honored with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Three of his works composed since 2000—Time after Time for chamber ensemble, the Third String Quartet, and Arches for cello and chamber orchestra—have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in music. Recent premieres include Time and Again with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, led by Roberto Abbado, Fire and Ice for soprano and double bass, at the Tanglewood Music Center, and Give and Take for violin and cello, with cellist Anssi Karttunen and violinist Ernst Kovacic at the 2015 Musica nova Helsinki Festival.
 

TITLE_OEUVRES

" Spirals "

for orchestra and chamber music

(1943)

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.


NOTICE


"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.