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Classical Composers (W-Z)

Classical music (and some jazz and folk) from Leonarda
Includes many American composers and works by women

Gwyneth Walker (b. 1947) is a graduate of Brown University and the Hartt School of Music. She holds B.A., M.M. and D.M.A. Degrees in Music Composition. A former faculty member of the Oberlin College Conservatory, Walker resigned from academic employment in 1982 in order to pursue a career as a full-time composer. She now lives on a dairy farm in Braintree, Vermont. Her catalog, which  includes over 120 commissioned works for orchestra, band, chorus and chamber ensembles,  is published by E. C. Schirmer of Boston (choral & vocal music) and MMB Music of St. Louis (orchestral & instrumental music). She has been the recipient of many awards including the Year 2000 "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Vermont Arts Council. maggie and millie and mollie and may from "though love be a day" (voice and piano) audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE338. Cantos for the End of Summer (solo piano) audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE334.

Christopher Weait (b. 1939), whose musical works include nearly 100 compositions, has been Professor of Bassoon at Ohio State University since 1984. He was principal bassoonist of the Toronto Symphony for 17 years, where he worked under music directors Ozawa, Ancerl, and Andrew Davis and founded the Toronto Chamber Winds. He played with the Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point. Weait has been a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University and has recorded solo and chamber albums on the CBC, Coronet, Crystal, d'Note, Kneptune, Lyrichord and Innova labels. His book Bassoon Reed-Making: A Basic Technique [3rd edition] is available from McGinnis & Marx.

Suite of Early American Tunes was Weait's first published work. The arrangements were made partly to provide music for the charming and exotic sound of the bassoon quartet and partly out of Weait's interest in American music from the 19th century. The first, third and fourth movements. are drawn from the Merrimac Collection, edited by American lexicographer Henry Eaton Moore (1803-1841) and published in Concord, New Hampshire in 1833. The second movement is based on the hymn tune Work, for the Night is Coming by the important American musician and educator Lowell Mason (1792-1872). Suite of Early American Tunes (four bassoons). Audio samples General Wayne's March mp3; Captain Mulligan mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE348.

Ilse Weber (1903-1944) was primarily a poet, writer of children's books, and producer of programs for Czech Radio in Prague. Weber and her husband saved the life of their oldest son when they sent him to Sweden on a Kindertransport prior to their own deportation to the Terezín concentration camp in 1942. At Terezín, Weber worked as a nurse in charge of the children's ward. She can be found in a drawing by Malva Schalek, dressed in her nurse's uniform and accompanying herself on a guitar while singing for several of her colleagues. When her husband was summoned for transport to the East in the fall of 1944, she volunteered to accompany him with her young son Tommy. Her wish not to break up the family resulted in the execution of Ilse and her son in Auschwitz, while her husband survived her by some thirty years. Wiegala, a lullaby of utmost simplicity, was perhaps sung as a "final caress" to accompany Weber's young charges on their final journey. It provides just the right musical ambience for its deeply felt words. Wiegala (voice and piano) audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE342.

Vally Weigl (1899-1982) was born in Vienna and into the musically rich world of Austria. She studied piano, music, and musicology at the University of Vienna and studied theory and composition with Karl Weigl (1881-1949), whom she later married. In 1938 the Weigls were rescued from the oncoming war in Europe by the Quaker Society of Friends and were brought to the United States, where Vally Weigl continued her career as composer and piano teacher. Weigl set many poems for chorus and for solo voice with instrumental chamber ensembles. A National Endowment for the Arts grant enabled her to compose and record Natures Moods, New England Suite, and four song cycles.

In her mid fifties after a serious shoulder injury, Weigl entered Columbia University and earned a master's degree in music therapy. Hers was a life of diversity: she was chief music therapist at New York Medical College and she taught at Roosevelt Cerebral Palsy School and directed research projects at Mount Sinai Hospital's psychiatric division and the Hebrew Home for the Aged. In the 1960s, along with lithographer Fritz Eichenberg, Weigl organized "Arts for World Unity," a group devoted to using the arts to bring together people of the world. She became very active in presenting programs of music, dance, poetry, and art designed to promote the cause of peace and understanding. Songs of Remembrance (mezzo-soprano, clarinet, piano) audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE329.

Dolores White (b. Chicago) earned a bachelor's degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and continued studies at Teacher's College, Columbia University. She also studied piano privately with James Friskin in New York. In 1975, she completed her master's degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied composition and orchestration with Donald Erb, Eugene O'Brien, and Marcel Dick. She did post-graduate work with Thomas Wells at Ohio State University. White is assistant professor of music at Cuyahoga Community College and performs frequently in the Cleveland area. Her works include many songs, piano compositions, choral works, instrumental arrangements of Negro spirituals, and pieces in the jazz idiom. Blues Dialogues combines the blues idiom with 20th-century compositional techniques. (solo violin). Audio sample mp3 from Leonarda CD #LE339.

Judith Lang Zaimont (b.1945) is an internationally-recognized composer with an impressive catalog of close to 100 works. Her music is frequently played in the United States and abroad, and has been programmed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and other major auditoriums on three continents by organizations such as the Connecticut Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, (Bay Area) Women's Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (Boston), American Guild of Organists, Florilegium Chamber Choir, Gregg Smith Singers and the Dale Warland Singers. Many works from her catalogue have won prizes. Among her composition awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Debussy Fellowship of the Alliance Française de New York, and grants from the Presser Foundation, the Maryland and Minnesota state arts councils, National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota Composers Forum.

Her symphonic works have won several major prizes, including the First Prize-Gold Medal in the Gottschalk Centenary International Composition Competition (1970) and the 1995 McCollin International Composers Competition. Born in Memphis, Tennessee (1945) and reared in New York in a musical family, Zaimont began her professional career in her teens as a concert pianist. She studied composition with Hugo Weisgall, Otto Luening and Jack Beeson and orchestration in Paris with André Jolivet, and holds degrees from Queens College of the City University of New York and Columbia University. Judith Zaimont is also a writer and a distinguished teacher. A former member of the music faculties of Queens College, Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Adelphi University, since 1992 she has held the post of professor of composition at the University of Minnesota School of Music in Minneapolis.

Zaimont Vocal and Choral Works
CD #LE343
The Magic World (baritone, piano, percussion), audio samples mp3; mp3; mp3.
Chansons Nobles et Sentimentales (tenor, piano), audio samples mp3; mp3.
Two Songs for Soprano and Harp: At Dusk in Summer, audio sample mp3 and The Ruined Maid (soprano, harp).
Songs of Innocence (soprano, tenor, flute, cello, harp), audio samples mp3; mp3.
Greyed Sonnets (soprano, piano), audio sample mp3.
Serenade: To Music (SSATTB) audio sample mp3; CD #LE328.
Parable: A Tale of Abram and Isaac (SSAATTBB; organ; and soloists: Soprano, tenor, baritone and speaker soloists) audio sample mp3. CD #LE328.
From the Great Land (mezzo-soprano, clarinet, piano with double on Eskimo drum)
audio sample mp3 #4 and mp3 #6. CD #LE329
Let it be forgotten from "Greyed Sonnets" (voice and piano), audio sample mp3. CD #LE338

Zaimont Instrumental Works
A Calendar Collection (solo piano), audio samples July mp3; December mp3CD #LE334.
Nocturne: La Fin de Siècle (solo piano). Audio samples: Slow section  mp3#1;
Fast section: mp3. Double CD #LE353.
A Calendar Set (solo piano),on Leonarda LP LPI 101, will be re-leased digitally.

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (b.1939) (USA) is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including the 1983 Pulitzer Prize in Music (the first woman ever to receive this coveted award), the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Chamber Music Prize, the Arturo Toscanini Music Critics Award, the Ernst von Dohnanyi Citation, and Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Grammy nominations, and, among other distinctions, she has been elected to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1995, she was named to the first Composer's Chair in the history of Carnegie Hall, and she was designated Musical America's Composer of the Year in 1999.

A prolific composer in all media except opera, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's works have been performed by virtually all of the leading American orchestras and by major ensembles abroad Audio samples Schicksal (III) mp3 and Elisabeth (IV) mp3, two selections from the song cycle Einsame Nacht on double CD #LE353, which can be used in conjunction with the book Women Composers: The Lost Tradition Found. The complete Einsame Nacht  (bass-baritone and piano) was formerly on Leonarda LP #LPI 120 and will be released online in the future.


Links to alphabetical list of composers
Bios and links to their recordings at this site

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