Marlboro Contemporary Composers Program

The Transcript, North Adams, Massachusetts, Aug. 18, 1967

The Marlboro Music Festival, long identified with inspired performances of classical and romantic masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire, is increasingly bringing modern "classics" and experimental sounds to the Vermont hills which it colonizes each summer. Marlboro's Contemporary Composers Program, which became a part of the Festival's variegated activities four years ago, recently received a $50,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The award, to be spread over three seasons, will enable the Festival to continue its exploration of contemporary music in the unique circumstances it has created for composers and performers to live and work together.

Under the program as sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, at least two exceptionally gifted young composers are in residence at Marlboro for the full summer, in addition to which other composers are invited to assist with the preparation of specific works. The composers-in-residence this season are Christopher Lantz and Fred Lerdahl. Mr. Lantz received his doctorate in composition from Stanford University and is a founder of the Society of Contemporary Music in San Francisco. Mr. Lerdahl, a graduate student in the Princeton University Music Department, was the 1966 winner of the Koussevitzky Composition Prize at Tanglewood. Also participating for a shorter period are Harvard University composition students Rhys Scott, Richard St. Clair and Tonu Kalam. Among the visiting composers this season is Seymour Shifrin, a member of the Brandeis University music faculty. Leon Kirchner, 1967 Pulitzer Prize winner, has been instrumental in the development of the Contemporary Composers Program and is in residence at the music center for his fifth summer.

Among the works of these composers being performed at Marlboro this season are Lantz's Entreaty for soprano, flute, violin, cello, piano and timpani; Lerdahl's String Trio; Shifrin's Serenade; and Kirchner's String Quartet No. 3, the work cited in his Pulitzer Award. More than 60 other contemporary scores, all requested by the musicians themselves, are being studied at the Festival. Among these are such major works as the Schoenberg Suite Opus 29 and String Trio, Opus 45; Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat; the Webern Concerto for Nine Instruments, Opus 24 and String Trio, Opus 20 and the Berg Kammerkonzert with Rudolf Kolisch and Richard Goode as soloists and Leon Kirchner conducting.

Other composers who have participated at Marlboro during past years include David Amram, Harold Boatrite, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, David Del Tredici, David Diamond, Lukas Foss, Earl Kim, Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, Tison Street, and Ivan Tcherepnin.

Marlboro offers a composer the unique experience of working with leading soloists and chamber music players from all over the world in the preparation of his compositions from first rehearsal to performance. The close rapport that can evolve between composer and musicians in an atmosphere which encourages the exchange of ideas and allows unlimited rehearsal time has produced many exceptional performances of contemporary works.

Marlboro is also unusual in that the contemporary music program is not an isolated function of the Festival; the same artists who rehearse Bach in the morning may be playing Berg in the afternoon, and performances of modern works are scattered among the sixteen Festival Concerts of Marlboro's summer season.

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