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Published: September 2005

Faculty members and classical composers Delvyn Case, Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, Thomas Oboe Lee, and Margaret McAllister offer thoughts on the place of classical music in the 21st century, and on composing in a genre that no longer occupies a central place in Western culture. Also featured are excerpts from the four composers’ works.

About the composers

Delvyn Case

Delvyn Case is the recipient of a William Penn Fellowship, a BMI Student Composer Award, and was a winner in the Discover America Composition Competition. A part-time faculty member at Boston College, he teaches a course on the history of rock and roll. Case’s sacred vocal work No Secret Hidden was a finalist for the Orvis International Prize in Vocal Composition and is available from Gesher Records. He received a Ph.D. in musical composition from the University of Pennsylvania and plays piano for the Boston-based improvisational ensemble, the Meltdown Incentive. Case was music director for the Penn Chamber Music Society and Yale Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus. The video features Case’s composition brutal arithmetic (2003), performed by Sara Bielanski, mezzo-soprano; and Delvyn Case, piano.

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for . . . de la mas sabrosa y agradable vida . . . (“from the most delicious and delightful life,” a quote from Don Quixote), which was first performed by the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston in 2003. The Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, New York’s Music at the Anthology, Composers in Red Sneakers, and the Atma Quartet have also featured his works in concert. Gawlick earned his doctorate from the New England Conservatory of Music and teaches harmony and 20th-century music at Boston College. His solo cello composition, At The Still Point of the Turning World, represented the United States at the 2005 ISCM World Music Days in Zagreb, Croatia. An album of his work is available from Capstone Records. The video features Gawlick’s Trio for violin, cello, and piano in four movements (1993), performed by Blanka Bednarz, violin; Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello; and Kanako Nishikawa, piano.

Thomas Oboe Lee

Thomas Oboe Lee is a professor and chair of the music department at Boston College. He teaches courses in theory, harmony, counterpoint, and composition, and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University. A prolific composer, he has been the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts Composers Fellowships, and First Prize at the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards. He has received commissions from Amnesty International USA, the Thoreau Society, the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, and the Omaha Symphony Orchestra. Lee is also a jazz flutist. He has collaborated on a number of recordings of his work, including his most recent CD on Koch Records Morango . . . Almost a Tango, featuring the Hawthorne String Quartet. He is a founding member of Composers in Red Sneakers, a Boston-area group that promotes the work of young composers. The video includes Lee’s I’ve Got the Munchies (2001, revised 2004), performed by Krista Reisner, violin; Kate Vincent, viola; Gary Gorczyca, bass clarinet; and Robert Schulz, vibraphone.

Margaret McAllister

Margaret McAllister holds a doctorate from Boston University and teaches courses in theory and composition at Boston College. She is copresident of Composers in Red Sneakers and director of BC’s music ensemble Hyperprism, which presents contemporary music from other countries. She has composed orchestral works, choral music, works for string quartet, electroacoustic media, and film. McAllister has been the recipient of grants and residencies from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony. The video features McAllister’s Oidhche ChiĆ¹in (2002), performed by Laurie Monahan, mezzo-soprano; Krista Buckland Reisner, violin; Jan Mueller Szeraws, cello; Guiomar Turgeon, violin; and Scott Woolweaver, viola.

This feature was posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 and is filed under Videos.
Producer: Paul Dagnello
Editor: Hallie Sammartino
Writer: Jeanne C. Williams