Parkersburg, W.Va. 10/30/12 – The Distinguished Performance Series of West Virginia University at Parkersburg will present the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning West Virginia composer George Crumb on Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. in the College Activities Center. The concert is free and open to the public.
Members of Philadelphia’s Orchestra 2001 will accompany Crumb’s daughter, soprano Ann Crumb, and baritone Patrick Mason in their grand performance of “American Songbook: Voices from the Heartland,” which is the last volume of the seven volumes in the “American Songbook.” This unique work for singers and large battery of percussion instruments draws its inspiration from American hymns, spirituals, folksongs and Native American chant. The complete songbook is being recorded by Orchestra 2001 for Bridge Records.
A native of Charleston, W.Va., George Crumb attended Mason College of Music and Fine Arts where he received his bachelor’s degree. At age 17, Crumb’s “Poem for Orchestra” was first performed by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He earned his master’s degree at the University of Illinois and then received his doctor of musical arts from the University of Michigan. Crumb’s West Virginia background comes through in his compositions especially in the “American Songbook” series.
George Crumb received the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for “Echoes of Time and the River,” which includes the rhythmic intoning of West Virginia’s motto “Montani semper liberi,” commissioned by the University of Chicago and premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also in that year The Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail named Crumb “West Virginian of the Year.”
In 1971, Crumb’s “Ancient Voices of Children,” which was based on the poetry of Garcia Lorca, won the Koussevitzky and UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers awards. His “Star Child” received a Grammy Award for best classical contemporary composition in 2001. Crumb was Musical America’s 2004 Composer of the Year, and in 2007 he received the honor of being placed into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s first class.
This unique performance is the first of several programs to be presented by the college to celebrate the West Virginia Sesquicentennial.