100 Years of Morton Gould

Ad from LIFE magazine, June 18, 1945

2013 has been a year full of important classical music centennials. Last month we celebrated Benjamin Britten. May marked the 100th anniversary of the premiere of the Rite of Spring. Witold Lutoslawski, one of the most significant influences of my own compositional style, would have turned 100 last January. And the Royal Philharmonic Society, who has led in the mission to ensure a future in classical music, turned 200 this year.

Today, December 10, 2013, marks the centenary of another important figure in classical music – this time of the American breed. Not only a prolific composer in his own right, Morton Gould actively sought to protect the rights of other composers, lobbying as a member in the American Symphony Orchestra League, The National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP, where he also served as president from 1986 – 1994.

Here is a 1953 recording of Gould’s Spirituals for Orchestra (1941)  as performed by the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra with Antal Dorati conducting.

A list of accolades and accomplishments taken from the website dedicated to the composer:
• 1966 Grammy: Ives’s First Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
( a recording that led the way for a new appreciation of Ives’ work;
Gould received 12 Grammy nominations during his life.)
• 983 American Symphony Orchestra League Gold Baton
• 1985 Medal of Honor for Music from the National Arts Club
• 1986 elected to American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters
• 1986 National Music Council’s American Eagle Award
• 1994 Kennedy Center Honoree
• 1994 Musical America’s Composer-of-the-Year
• 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Music: Stringmusic (see Commissions)
• 2005 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
• 2011 Long Island Music Hall of Fame Inductee

• 1976 US Bicentennial Commissions:
American Ballads (concert band; NY State Arts Council and US Historical
Society for the Queens Symphony Orchestra of NY)
Symphony of Spirituals (orchestral; National Endowments for the Arts)
Something to Do (cantata/musical; US Department of Labor)
• Concerto for Flute (1983; commissioned for Donald Peck by the Chicago Symphony)
• Quotations (1983; New York Choral Society…Gould considered this piece his most autobiographical
work; featured on CD of Gould’s choral works:Time and the River)
• American Sing (1984; for summer Olympics concert)
• Classical Variations on Colonial Themes (1985; Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s 200th Anniversary)
• The Jogger and the Dinosaur: For Rapper and Orchestra (1992; Pittsburgh Youth Symphony)
• Ghost Waltzes (1993; ninth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition )
• Anniversary Rag for Piano (1994; WNYC 70th anniversary of first broadcast in 1924)
• *Stringmusic (1995 Pulitzer Prize for Music; 1994 National Symphony for the final season
And 80th birthday of music director Mstislav Rostropovich)
• Hosedown: A Firefighter Fable (1995; Pittsburgh Youth Symphony)
• Remembrance Day: Soliloquy for a Passing Century (1995; opening of the University
of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center)
• There Are (No) Children Here (1996; Young People’s Chorus of New York City; lyrics
by Phil Galdston, who completed the work after Gould’s death)

• Billion Dollar Baby (1945; lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green)
• Arms and the Girl (1950; lyrics by Dorothy Fields)

• American Symphonette No.2 (1932; “Pavanne” is the second movement)
• Piano Concerto (1938)
• American Salute (1943; variations of the American chestnut, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
• Showpiece for Orchestra (1954)
• Jekyll and Hyde Variations (1957; written for and dedicated to Dimitri Metropoulos)
• Spirituals for Strings (1961)
• Apple Waltzes (1969; tribute to George Balanchine who died before completing the
choreography for a full length ballet about Audobon)

• Interplay (1945; Jerome Robbins, choreographer)
• Fall River Legend (1948; Agnes DeMille, choreographer; based upon the story of Lizzie Borden)
• I’m Old Fashioned: Astaire Variations (1983; Jerome Robbins, choreographer)
• Pieces of China (1984; commissioned by Jacques D’Amboise for the
National Dance Institute Gala)

• Derivations for Clarinet and Dance Band (1955; written for close friend Benny Goodman)
• West Point Symphony (1952; for concert band; aka Symphony No. 4)
• Jericho: Rhapsody for Band (concert band; the story of the battle of Jericho)
• Formations (1964; marching band)
• Centennial Symphony Gala for Band (1983)

Solo Showcase
• Boogie Woogie Etude (1943; piano)
• Tap Dance Concerto (1952; written for and choreographed by close friend Danny Daniels)
• Benny’s Gig for Clarinet and Double Bass (1962; written for close friend Benny Goodman’s birthday)
• Vivaldi Gallery for String Quartet and Divided Orchestra (1968)
• Troubador Music for Four Guitars and Orchestra (1969; commissioned for the
Romeros by the San Diego Symphony)
• Diversions for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra (1990;
commissioned by the Consortium of Orchestras)

• World War I (1964-65; CBS documentary series)
• F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood (1976; ABC)
• Holocaust (1978; NBC mini-series)

• Delightfully Dangerous (1944; Gould not only wrote the music, but also played himself
in this movie which starred a very young Jane Powell)
• Cinerama Holiday (1955)
• Windjammer (1958)

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