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Bolcom, William

Named 2007 Composer of the Year by Musical America and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more.

With his wife mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, he has performed in concert for more than 30 years throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. In addition to performing together, Bolcom and Morris have recorded two dozen albums together. Their first one, After the Ball, garnered a Grammy nomination for Joan Morris. Their most recent recordings are two albums of songs by lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and Gus Kahn on Original Cast Records and Bolcom’s complete Cabaret Songs, written with lyricist Arnold Weinstein, on Centaur.

Recent premieres include his Canciones de Lorca with tenor Placido Domingo, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carl St. Clair at the gala opening concert of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Orange Country Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA (September 15, 2006) and Nine New Bagatelles, commissioned by Friends of New Music/Music Teachers’ Association of California and premiered by four student pianists in Los Angeles (July 2, 2006).

In the spring of 2007 Bolcom was feted in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, with a two and a half-week festival of his music, including master classes, recitals and concerts of his vocal, organ and chamber music. Titled Illuminating Bolcom, the festival was highlighted by two performances of Songs of Innocence and of Experience accompanied by animated projections of Blake's illuminations. The animations were commissioned by VocalEssence and created by projection designer Wendall K. Harrington; she also designed the projections for Bolcom's opera, A View from the Bridge.

In November 2007 his opera A View from the Bridge was produced by the Washington National Opera in Washington, DC. In February 2008, his Eighth Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in three performances conducted by James Levine in Boston, MA and a subsequent performance in Carnegie Hall.

Bolcom has taught composition at the University of Michigan since 1973. He has been a full professor since 1983 and was Chairman of the Composition Department from 1998 to 2003. In the fall of 1994 the University of Michigan named him the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition. He has recorded for Advance, Jazzology, Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Vox, and Omega, among others.

For more information, please visit William Bolcom's website at


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Jan 5, 2016
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