Home » Uncategorized » John Corigliano and his Symphony No. 1

John Corigliano and his Symphony No. 1

John Corigliano
John Corigliano (born February 16, 1938) is an Italian American composer and teacher of music, born in New York City, NY, to a musical family. His father, John Corigliano Sr., was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic for 23 years, and his mother, Rose Buzen, is an accomplished educator and pianist. He is a former student of Otto Luening, Vittorio Giannini and Paul Creston. Corigliano attended P.S. 241 and Midwood High School in Brooklyn. He studied composition at Columbia University (BA 1959) and at the Manhattan School of Music. Before achieving success as composer, Corigliano worked as assistant to the producer on the Leonard Bernstein Young People’s Concerts, and as a session producer for classical artists such as André Watts.

Most of Corigliano’s work has been for symphony orchestra. He employs a wide variety of styles, sometimes even within the same work, but aims to make his work accessible to a relatively large audience. He has written symphonies, as well as works for string orchestra, and wind band. Additionally, Corigliano has written concerti for clarinet, flute, violin, oboe, and piano; film scores; various chamber and solo instrument works, and the opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, which enjoyed a success at the premiere. The younger Corigliano first came to prominence in 1964 when, at the age of 26, his Sonata for Violin and Piano (1963) was the only winner of the chamber-music competition of the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy.

Support from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation followed, as did important commissions. In 1970 Corigliano teamed up with David Hess to create The Naked Carmen opera. For the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he wrote Poem in October (1970). For the New York State Council on the Arts he composed the Oboe Concerto (1975). For the New York Philharmonic he composed his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (1977), Fantasia on an Ostinato (1986), and Vocalise (1999). For flutist James Galway he composed his Promenade Overture (1981). The National Symphony Orchestra commissioned the evening-length A Dylan Thomas Trilogy (1999). He also composed Chiaroscuro for two pianos tuned a quarter tone apart for The Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation.

In 1991 Corigliano was awarded the Grawemeyer Award for his Symphony No. 1 (1991), which was inspired by the AIDS crisis. In 2001 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his Symphony No. 2 for string orchestra. In addition, Corigliano composed dramatic scores for the 1980 film Altered States, the 1985 film Revolution and Francois Girard’s 1997 film, The Red Violin. The award-winning score for Revolution is one of Corigliano’s most impressive creations although it is less known, as it was never released in any recorded format. Corigliano did, however, export portions of the score for use in his first symphony. Portions of the score to The Red Violin were also used in his Violin Concerto (2003).

In 2011, Corigliano’s “One Sweet Morning” premiered at Avery Fisher Hall for the New York Philharmonic, a commission commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11th Attacks. Ms. Stephanie Blythe performed the solo mezzo-soprano role. Corigliano is a distinguished professor of music at Lehman College in the City University of New York, New York City, NY. My collection includes the following works by Corigliano;

Symphony No. 1 (1990).
Voyage for Flute and String Orchestra.

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