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Leon Kirchner

Leon Kirchner was born on 24 January 1919 of Russian parents in Brooklyn, grew up in Los Angeles, and studied with Arnold Schoenberg, Roger Sessions, and Ernest Bloch. Stylistically, Kirchner has remained remarkably individual; earlier influences of Hindemith, Bartók, and Stravinsky soon yield to a wholehearted identification with the aesthetics, if not necessarily the specific procedures, of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern.

Kirchner is extraordinarily gifted as both a pianist and a conductor, but he is first and foremost a composer. He has been honored twice by the New York Music Critics' Circle (First and Second String Quartets), and received the Naumburg Award (Piano Concerto No. 1), the Pulitzer Prize (Third Quartet with electronic tape), the Friedheim Award (Music for Cello and Orchestra), and commissions from, among others, the Ford, Fromm, and Koussevitzky Foundations, the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Symphony, Spoleto and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, the Boston Symphony, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. He was composer-in-residence and a performer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, Tokyo Music Today (Takemitsu Festival), and the Spoleto, Charleston, Aldeburgh, and Marlboro Music Festivals. He has also conducted at a number of leading music festivals around the world, most recently at Ravinia, and taught for many years at Harvard.

A member of the American Academies of Arts and Letters and Arts and Science, Kirchner's most recent works include Music For Cello and Orchestra, for Yo-Yo Ma and the Philadelphia Orchestra and Trio No. 2 for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Upcoming commissions include Of Things Exactly as They Are, a work for orchestra, chorus, and soloists for the Boston Symphony; a violin concerto for Young Uck Kim; and a piece for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Performers who have championed Kirchner's work include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; Continuum; Yo-Yo Ma, who has toured and recorded Triptych for Sony; pianist Peter Serkin, who commissioned and recorded Interlude (BMG); cellist Carter Brey; conductors Oliver Knussen, Hugh Wolff, and John Adams; and the trios of Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson and Buswell-Parnas-Luvisi.

Other recent recordings include Kirchner's three String Quartets (Boston Composers String Quartet,) and Nonesuch's all-Kirchner recording (CD and tape, 79188) which includes the Concerto for Violoncello, Ten Winds, and Percussion; the Piano Trio}; Five Piano Pieces; and Music for Twelve, featuring the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Of Music for Twelve, Allan Kozinn of The New York Times wrote: "There is magic in the interplay between the 12 soloistic lines, and in the way instrumental colors seem to grow from each other to form lengthy melodies." Kirchner's music is published exclusively by Associated Music Publishers.

Other Available CD's
PHCD136 Ives/Copland/Lees/Kirchner WORKS FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO

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