Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary Composer Biographies
May 26, 1938 in Seattle, Washington, America
Orchestral, Popular Music (Ragtime), Opera
Songs of Innocence and Experience
Twelve Etudes for Piano (Pulitzer Prize Winner 1988)
Theatre of the Absurd
First Piano Quartet
Lyric Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
A View from the Bridge
Briefly It Enters
I Will Breathe A Mountain
Sonata for Cello and Piano
William Bolcom showed an early musical talent, and at 11 years of age, enrolled in the University of Washington. There he studied composition and piano under John Verrall and Berthe Poncy Jacobson. He graduated with a B.A. in 1958. He continued to study music at Mills College in California and the Conservatoire de Musique in Paris. After receiving doctorate in composition from Stanford, he returned to Europe where he composed theatre scores in West Germany. On his return to the United States, he continued to commission work for Standard University and the Yale Repertory among others.
In addition to his extensive composition work, Bolcom has accompanied his wife, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, as a pianist on over 20 albums. Several of those albums received Grammy Nominations including their first, After the Ball. Other Grammy Nominations include Fourth Symphony and Orpheé-Sérénade.
Bolcom has been teaching composition at the University of Michigan since 1973. In the fall of 1994 his was named a Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Music.