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 (emeritus from 2008). 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 Prize); 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.
..... Click the link for more information. play; 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
..... Click the link for more information. film; and Dinner at Eight (2017), adapted from the 1932 George S. KaufmanKaufman, George S.
, 1889–1961, American dramatist and journalist, b. Pittsburgh as George Kaufman. As a drama critic for various New York newspapers he was influential in raising the standards of criticism in the theater.
..... Click the link for more information. and Edna FerberFerber, Edna,
1887–1968, American author, b. Kalamazoo, Mich. Her novels portray the lives of a wide variety of Americans in a vigorous, colorful, and panoramic fashion.
..... Click the link for more information. play and the 1933 George Cukor film. Bolcom's eclectic approach involves a broad cross-fertilization of idioms, and his work typically combines a number of musical styles.
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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.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.