Paul Moravec

Paul Moravec

Paul Moravec (born November 2, 1957, in Buffalo, New York) is an American composer and the Music Department Chair at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. Already a prolific composer, he has been described as a "new tonalist." Page, Tim. "Paul Moravec." "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy. (Accessed 15 January 2007).] He is best known for his work "Tempest Fantasy", which received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music.


Moravec was born in Buffalo, New York and subsequently attended the Lawrenceville School. He received his B.A. in composition from Harvard University in 1980; while there, he performed with the Holden Choirs. He won the Prix de Rome and studied at the American Academy in Rome after graduating. He then received the Master of Music (1982) and Doctor of Musical Arts (1987) in composition, both from Columbia University.Curriculum Vita at [] ]

Moravec has taught at Dartmouth College (1987-96) and Hunter College (1997-98). He suffered from clinically-diagnosed depression that reached a zenith during the time immediately surrounding his departure from Dartmouth College, and underwent electroshock therapy. He is currently the chair of the music department at Adelphi University, and has contributed to what the New York Times has called a "renaissance" in a college that went through academic and financial difficulties in the 1990s. [Lambert, Bruce. [ "University Enjoys a Renaissance After 90's Strife"] , "The New York Times". retrieved 8 April 2008.]

In 2004, Moravec received the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his work "Tempest Fantasy". [cite press release |title = Paul Moravec Wins 2004 Pulitzer Prize | publisher = Adelphi University | date = 2004-04-06 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-03 ] This prestigious award raised Moravec's profile significantly, and he was appointed to several residencies. He was named the new honorary composer-member of the New York Composers Circle in September, 2006. [cite press release |title = 2004 PULIZER PRIZE WINNER PAUL MORAVEC JOINS NEW YORK COMPOSERS CIRCLE (NYCC)AS HONORARY COMPOSER-MEMBER | publisher = New York Composers Circle | date = 2006-11-03 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-03 ] He was also appointed the composer in residence for the 2007-2008 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. [cite press release |title = Institute Announces Appointment of Paul Moravec as Artist-in-Residence | publisher = Institute for Advanced Study | date = 2007-03-26 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-02 ]

In addition to his Pulitzer Prize, Moravec has received a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, and the Charles Ives and Goddard Lieberson Awards in American Composition.

He has been commissioned by such ensembles as the Dessoff Choirs, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Harvard Glee Club.Fact|date=July 2007

Musical Style

Moravec has been placed into a group called "new tonalists" by the critic Terry Teachout, who describes them as composers who are "neither embarrassed nor paralyzed by tradition. Rather they accept it as a given." Thus, according to this analysis, his style is primarily tonal and neo-romantic. However, Moravec himself asserts:

The term ‘new tonalist’ is a little outdated simply because of the passage of time [.] It had more relevance a few decades ago, when late modernism was dying or even dead. For my work, I regard the term only as a point of departure before considering each composition on a case-by-case basis. As a composer, I try always to make beautiful things, and I use whatever techniques and materials are useful for the particular composition at hand [.] Some of those materials are atonal or nontonal, but the overall harmonic context of my music derives from the tonal tradition, which after all is the lingua franca of Western music — essentially, Monteverdi to the Beatles and beyond.cite news |last = Shattuck |first = Kathryn |title = A Composer Who’s Weathered Some Tempests of His Own |publisher = New York Times |date = 2007-04-22 |url = |accessdate = 2007-07-01 ]

Critic Jens F. Laurson describes Moravec's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Tempest Fantasy" as "remarkably accessible music. Picturesque, conventionally beautiful at times, but without pandering to the ears’ lowest harmonic expectations. [It is m] usic that works with all the traditional tools from the composer’s workshop [,] which have changed surprisingly little since Bach - but Moravec uses them to create music anew." He names Federico Mompou, Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith, Francis Poulenc, and Elliott Carter as clear musical influences in Moravec's music. He also notes a clear disparity between Moravec's music and that of Minimalist composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and John Coolidge Adams. [cite web | last = Laurson | first = Jens F. | title = Paul Moravec, Tempest Fantasy et al., Trio Solisti | date = 2007-07-18 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-02 ]

Critic Victor Carr Jr. characterizes Moravec's musical language as "generally tonal--and although it's not consistently melodic, it's always accessible. More than that, it's highly engrossing [.] " [cite web | last = Carr Jr. | first = Victor | title = PAUL MORAVEC: The Time Gallery; Protean Fantasy; Ariel Fantasy | date = 2006-04-21 | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-06 ]

Musical Works

For a comprehensive view of Moravec's catalog, see List of compositions by Paul Moravec. His best-known pieces include the Pulitzer-winning, Shakespeare-inspired "Tempest Fantasy", a 30-minute chamber work scored for clarinet, violin, violoncello, and piano, which was premiered on May 2, 2003 at the Morgan Library in New York City by David Krakauer and Trio Solisti, for whom it was written; "Northern Lights Electric", a 1994 work that combines a musical illustration of the Northern Lights with a musical depiction of electric light; and the 1998 cantata "Fire/Ice/Air", which contrasts the journeys of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, on his expedition to the Antarctic, and Charles Lindbergh, on his trans-Atlantic flight. An oratorio, "Blizzard Voices", was commissioned by Opera Omaha and will be premiered there in September 2008. He is currently collaborating with Terry Teachout on "The Letter", an opera based on the 1927 play by W. Somerset Maugham that will be premiered in 2009 by the Santa Fe Opera. [ [ Biography at Paul Moravec's official website] , retrieved 8 April, 2008.]


External links

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