Bolcom, William

Bolcom, William

(William Elden Bolcom), 1938–, American composer, b. Seattle, Wash. He attended the Univ. of Washington (B.A., 1958) and studied composition at Mills College and Stanford (D.M.A., 1964). Teaching at various colleges since 1965, he has been on the faculty of the Univ. of Michigan since 1973. Bolcom was involved in the 1960s revival of ragtime and has given many piano recitals of American popular songs, often accompanying his wife, the mezzo-soprano Joan Morris. As a composer, he has worked in a wide variety of genres—symphonic, e.g., Fantasia concertante (1985); chamber music, e.g., New Etudes for Piano (1977–86, Pulitzer); and oratorio, e.g., Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1982). He has also written several operas, e.g., McTeague (1992); A View from the Bridge (1999), adapted from the Arthur MillerMiller, Arthur,
1915–2005, American dramatist, b. New York City, grad. Univ. of Michigan, 1938. One of America's most distinguished playwrights, he has been hailed as the finest realist of the 20th-century stage.
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 play; and A Wedding (2004), adapted from a Robert AltmanAltman, Robert,
1925–2006, American film director, b. Kansas City, Mo. One of the most original talents in late-20th-century American filmmaking, he created complex, often loosely plotted movies marked by brilliant and often huge ensemble casting, sharply delineated
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 film. Bolcom's eclectic approach represents a broad cross-fertilization of idioms, and his work typically combines a number of musical styles.

Bolcom, William (Eden)

(1938–  ) composer, pianist; born in Seattle, Wash. After studies in the U.S.A. and Paris, he taught at the University of Michigan from 1973. For many years he also accompanied his wife, the soprano Joan Morris, in performances of American popular songs from all periods. His compositions favored a wildly eclectic style that incorporated popular elements. His 12 New Etudes for Piano won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988.