OHAM: Chester Biscardi Table of Contents

Chester Biscardi

with Maura Valenti

July 18, 2013

New York, NY


Side a                                                                                                             pp. 1-24

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin – relationship to father – started French horn in grade school, switched to violin – started writing music at nine – had piano lessons with his cousins – participating in musicals – The King and I, wrote Wisconsin: 1848, A People’s Mass – went to a private high school with a good music program – Gary Snyder – Margaret Schmitt – was sponsored by an anonymous donor for piano lessons – went to University of Wisconsin-Madison to study law – Paul Badura-Skoda – studied Italian and went to Bologna, Italy – Laura Nyro – wrote a musical called Freddie – did his senior thesis in Italy on Cesare Pavese – attended the composition program at the GB Martini Conservatory in Bologna – Maria Fulgeri Bianchi – offered a fellowship for a masters in Italian literature and then pursued his PhD  – wrote Lemmings for harpsichord, flute, violin – Les Thimmig, Bruce Benward, Bunita Marcus, Morton Feldman, Roger Bourland, Mel Powell, David Olan, Burt Levy – added a masters in composition – Coraggio 4, Tartini, Indovinello – Penderecki, Sappho, Tom Moore – Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata, Schoenberg’s Phantasy, Wuorinen’s Duo, Lois Drapin – influence of literature and literary ideas on works – ChartresChartres and Mont-San Michele by Henry Adams – interest in architecture and philosophy – relationship with Russell Merritt – went to Yale for the MMA degree to study composition – Phyllis Curtin – Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea – love for George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, musicals – Schumann, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg – collaborated with Henry Butler on Tight-Rope – Bernstein’s On the Town, Comden and Green, John Reardon – Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim – Sailors & Dreamers with Shirley Kaplan – experiencing seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan – Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell.

Side b                                                                                                                 pp. 24-47

The critical role of literature in Biscardi’s life – Dante in Trasumanar – Guido Cavalcanti – Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, Brave New World – Stravinsky, Bernstein – studying with Yehudi Wyner, Robert Morris at Yale – Horn Trio by Brahms – thoughts on the process of writing music – Tartini premiered by Thomas Moore from the Pro Arte – Charles Ives, Vivian Perlis, Donald Martino’s Notturno, Elliott Carter – thoughts on modernism and style during his time at Yale – Jack Beeson, Douglas Moore, Otto Luening – relationship with Milton Babbitt – Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with GeorgeStop by Stockhausen – studied with Penderecki the following year – At the Still Point, written at the American Academy – Toru Takemitsu – Tenzone for the Music Today ’76 Festival in Tokyo – Robert Dick’s book The Other Flute – Takemitsu’s Arc, for piano and orchestra, performed by Yuji Takahashi, Masque – influence of Japanese culture – lived in Tokyo for a year with a grant from the Japan Foundation – Donald Richie – Samuel Beckett – did master classes at the Shanghai Conservatory – studying with and relationship with Takemitsu – Mestiere, influence of Takemitsu – influence of Feldman – thoughts on the difference between influence and resonance in music – Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat MajorIn Time’s Unfolding, Carnaval, The Viola Had Suddenly Became a Voice, Piano Concerto – Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Copland’s Violin Sonata – thoughts on quotation of other composers and of himself – went to the McDowell Colony, got the Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters – on winning the Rome Prize – on the board of directors for the Bogliasco Foundation – Petr Micka’s production of The Duchess of Malfi written by John Webster – Anne Nelson, Robert Beaser.

Side c                                                                                                               pp. 47-74

Discussion of the complexity of pieces he wrote while in Rome – Di Vivere, Mestiere – Rilke’s Duino Elegies – Joan Tower, Lukas Foss, Beethoven – writing At the Still Point for orchestra, conducted by Massimo Pradella – Robert Beaser, Fellini’s Orchestra Rehearsal – Luigi Dallapiccola, Aaron Copland, Ken Wentworth, Meyer Kupferman, Christian Wolff – interview for composition and Italian department head positions at Sarah Lawrence College, chose to just teach composition – John Dewey – experience at Sarah Lawrence, on being a teacher – abroad programs – budget cuts at the college – Dawn Upshaw – writing for voice, Tight-Rope, The Gift of Life, Modern Love Songs with William Zinsser, Sailors & Dreamers – Cesare Pavese Il mestiere de vivere, from “The Business of Living” – Robert Weirich – Takemitsu’s Piano Distance, Schoenberg’s Farben, Five Pieces for Orchestra – Walt Whitman’s “Good-Bye My Fancy!” – Piano Concerto, influence of Gershwin and Copland – Morton Feldman, Bunita Marcus, Yvar Mikhashoff – on turning away from modernism – Time’s Unfolding, Companion Piece (for Morton Feldman) – Feldman’s Extensions 3, Rothko Chapel – process of writing Tight-Rope – Robert la Follette – John Corigliano’s Ghosts of  Versailles – Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson – Henry Butler’s Mourning Becomes Electra with Martin David Levy, Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra – Leontyne Price, Girl of the Golden West, Mary Martin – Joe Darion, W. H. Auden, Mitch Leigh, Man of La Mancha – plot of Tight-Rope – Susan Powell, Marcus Haddock, Adria Firestone – Piano Sonata for Anthony de Mare – Jasper Johns, Voice 2 – Elliott Carter – relationship with Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson – Ed Koch, Michael Boriskin – Traverso – on coming out, being an openly gay composer – Jody Dalton, Ned Rorem, David Del Tredici – Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Side d                                                                                                                      pp. 74-86

Correspondence with Denise Levertov in Tokyo – writing The Gift of Life – Judy Bettina – Emily Dickinson poem “Mama Never Forgets Her Birds” – Denise Levertov’s A Tree Telling of Orpheus, Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, The 90th Year – Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Sandburg, Muriel Rukeyser – Recovering – collaboration with William Zinsser on Modern Love Songs – James Laughlin, John Burnside, Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea – Shirley Kaplan, Will Ferguson, Jonathan Tunick – Tara Helen O’Connor – FootfallsEuridice, Dafne by Peri and Giulio Caccini – Jacopo Corsi – Jean Bowen – Cocteau’s Orphic Trilogy, Monteverdi, Euridice, Stravinsky, Richard Nelson’s Nikolai and the Others, Balanchine – thoughts on interior dialogue while writing music – Jackson Pollock – possible future projects – Piano Quintet – Ligeti, Nicolas Slonimsky – Trasumanar.

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