Bernard Rands Celebrates 75th Birthday

March 2, 2009: March 2 marked the 75th birthday of Bernard Rands, and the composer is honored this month in numerous performances of his works. Concerts include Rands' Concertino for solo oboe and chamber ensemble and the receding mist... performed by the dal niente ensemble of Chicago; Concertino performed by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's New Music Ensemble; and several of the composer's key orchestral, choral and ensemble works including Walcott Songs, Canti d'Amor and Ceremonial at Southern Illinois University's Outside the Box Festival.

The originality and distinctive character of Rands' music has been described as "plangent lyricism" with "dramatic intensity" and a "musicality and clarity of idea allied to a sophisticated and elegant technical mastery" - qualities developed in part from his studies with Luigi Dallapiccola and Luciano Berio. Mr. Rands has been commissioned by the leading orchestras and institutions in the US, where he has made a widely honored and significant contribution to musical life. Many major international organizations and festivals have celebrated and commissioned him, and his music is increasingly available on commercial recordings.

Mr. Rands' Canti del Sole, premiered by Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Music. His large orchestral suite Le Tambourin won the 1986 Kennedy Center Freidheim Award and the Chanticleer recording of his Canti d'Amor won a Grammy Award in 2000. Other celebrated works include his Cello Concerto written for and premiered by Mstislav Rostropovich with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1997; ...Where the Murmurs Die... for orchestra, composed in 1995; a chamber opera, Belladonna, commissioned by the Aspen Festival for its 50th anniversary in 1999; "now again" - fragments from Sappho, premiered by Philadelphia's Network for New Music ensemble in the fall of 2006; and his set of 12 piano preludes premiered by Robert Levin at the Ruhr International Piano Festival in Germany in the summer of 2007.

His work apókryphos, for orchestra, chorus and soprano, premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in 2003, sees two performances in March of 2010 by Daniel Barenboim leading the Staatskapelle Berlin and Staatsopernchor of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin with soprano Angela Denoke at the Philharmonie Berlin and the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt.

In October of 2008, Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic gave the world premiere of Rands' "chains like the sea" dedicated to Maestro Maazel and the Philharmonic. Rands is currently at work on a new opera based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh with a libretto by J.D. McClatchy for premiere at Indiana University.

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