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composingatnight
01-07-2013, 10:15 AM
Have any of you ever met any composers that are well-known in their field?
~Rodney

Fabio
01-07-2013, 02:03 PM
Well... it depends on what is meaning "Famous"... LOL

I've been in a concert with Arvo Part as special guest listening to some of his compositions performed by our ensemble, and I shake the hand of Ennio Morricone in another concert dedicated to his soundtracks.

I worked in "Arena di Verona" for a production with Sylvano Bussotti, and few days later meeting in the artist entrance Sir. Elton John: he was kind enough to smile back and hit my shoulder before walking away to the backstage.

But nothing was more exciting than being in religious silence few meter close to the bones of Johan Sebastian Bach in Liepzig... well probably he didn't notice we met.. but I did.

rwayland
01-07-2013, 03:13 PM
Well, I spent a few hours with Rudolf Friml, a few years ago - - about 1954, when his fame was somewhat faded. Also around the same time, a song writer whose name eludes me, but he sure disliked Al Jolson, with whom he had worked. I was thinking Bud DeSylva, but by the time I thought I had met him, he was dead. Well, it was someone of that era, who had co-written with Jolson, but disliked him intensely. If somebody can jog my memory, do so.

Richard

wrayer
01-07-2013, 04:30 PM
Cool question. Yes, I have met several known composers. In the contemporary field I met in a workshop of 10 students, Pierre Boulez, more known for conducting. I met Donald Erb (Contemporary composer from Cleveland who started the Cleveland Composer's Guild to which I belong.) In the Jazz world I taught John Fedchock who was a composer and arranger for Woody Herman (started John on trombone and after he went to Juliard, Woody picked him up for his band.) I have several records signed by Woody from John Fedchock - a great studio trombonist in New York. I also went to college at Kent State Univ. where I played in the jazz band created by Bill Dobbins, jazz arranger and composer and I went to classes with Joe Walsh, guitarist/singer/keyboardist with the Eagles.

Joe Walsh won't remember me, he was always 'high'...
Donald Erb has passed away.
I still correspond with John Fedchock
and I have run across Bill Dobbins at jazz clinics and festivals

Of course, all the members of our guild are composers, but I put them and myself in a minor category.

Best regards,
Bill

Pingu
01-07-2013, 05:19 PM
Well probably only people that we Brits would know. I met Peter Maxwell Davies a few times, and William Matthias. Also Mark Anthony Turnage.

BVstudios
01-07-2013, 05:23 PM
Hmmm, David Foster about four years back. We swapped stories for a bit, although his were far more entertaining than mine. He's probably one of the better known ones I've met. There are one or two others over the years.

Frank Mills. Nice, but not a very forthright talker, more of a listener.
Hagood Hardy, sadly no longer with us. Very relaxed, laid back.
Jewel Kilcher (shy), Kenny Rogers (talkative), & Gordon Lightfoot (painfully withdrawn in those times), although come to think of it, they're all more songwriters than composers.

When I was too young to really capitalize on it, my mother introduced me to Mel Torme while he was in town. She'd known him on and off since the 40's when he played in the orchestra she sang with for a brief time. We had lunch and they reminisced while I drank my milkshake (or some such). What I remember most was his amazing ability to write a full arangement on a napkin or placemat

Now, if you were to ask me who I would simply love to spend the day with... that's a longsish list.

DPDAN
01-07-2013, 06:17 PM
Hmmm, David Foster about four years back.


I am so jealous!

Dan

fastlane
01-07-2013, 09:57 PM
I'm more interested in meeting famous lyricists. :D






Phil

RichR
01-07-2013, 10:47 PM
Does Pierre Boulez count? I had a master class in theory and composition with him back in the 60's.

snorlax
01-08-2013, 12:29 AM
I had many a great hang with the late American composer Alec Wilder. Ironically, we talked about every subject imaginable EXCEPT music. Perhaps he appreciated that.

The best times I can recall are three-way pun contests between Alec Wilder, Harvey Phillips, and me. Those were two masters, but I held my own in that august company. Both Harvey and Alec appreciated puns good and bad.

How sad that I'm the only one of the three left. :-(

Snor

Tom_Davis
01-08-2013, 01:01 AM
I had the pleasure of studying under Norman Delo Joio and David Ahlstrom. With Dr. Ahlstrom we prepared a television program on electronic music. When living in Seattle, I had two of my scores reviewed by Alan Hovhaness and discussed orchestration with him.

snorlax
01-08-2013, 10:07 AM
Well probably only people that we Brits would know. I met Peter Maxwell Davies a few times, and William Matthias. Also Mark Anthony Turnage.

Pingu,
The Indianapolis Brass Choir has played William Matthias's VIVAT REGINA several times!

Jim

composingatnight
01-08-2013, 10:28 AM
This is so cool reading about the different composers people have met. Is it possible to post some links of bios and/ or music?
~Rodney

composingatnight
01-08-2013, 10:31 AM
I had the pleasure of studying under Norman Delo Joio and David Ahlstrom. With Dr. Ahlstrom we prepared a television program on electronic music. When living in Seattle, I had two of my scores reviewed by Alan Hovhaness and discussed orchestration with him.
Tom! Tell us more. This is awesome. Do you have a link to some of the footage of the tv show, and also what were some of the comments that Alan Hovhaness said about your scores and the way you orchestrated them?
~Rodney

composingatnight
01-08-2013, 10:33 AM
But nothing was more exciting than being in religious silence few meter close to the bones of Johan Sebastian Bach in Liepzig... well probably he didn't notice we met.. but I did.
I pray to know that experience one day. When people ask who my father is I always say that I have 2: Robert Money and my musical father J.S. Bach.
~Rodney

indianamusic
01-08-2013, 12:33 PM
I thought by now, someone would have said they had met a famous composer - themself!
You know - a legend in their own mind! :cool:

Haydn
01-08-2013, 04:55 PM
I've met Jeff Beal at the Garritan NAMM booth in the past. He's done quite a few TV shows such Ugly Betty & Monk.

Usually Danny Lux drops by the booth every year. He has done quite a few TV shows such as Ally McBeal, Boston Legal and Grey's Anatomy.

Twice I've met Herbie Hancock at the booth.

Cool thing at the Garritan booth is that you never know who will show up for a demo. A couple years ago it was J. J. Abrahms who uses GPO but wanted a demo of JABB. Can't wait until the next Star Trek movie he's producing.

Jim

Raymond62
01-08-2013, 05:18 PM
Yes. And my father is still my father. Nobody else can have that title.

Raymond

rbowser-
01-08-2013, 05:19 PM
As described in my recent "Metropolis" posts in The Listening Room, in 2001-2002 I met and worked with songwriter Joseph Brooks. Brooks won the Academy Award for his famous song, "You Light Up My Life." He wrote many other songs, and made a big impression in the advertising world with his string of jingles for Pepsi Cola and other products in the '60's. His musical based on Fritz Lang's classic film, "Metropolis" has cult status with musical theatre fans all over the world.

I worked with Brooks on a re-write of "Metropolis," via email and snail mail, Fax, telephone, and finally, in person. We were in contact every day, with him sometimes playing melody lines for me over the phone. I adapted the original score for synthesizers, and he handed over new songs for the show which I arranged and orchestrated from listening to piano demos.

When I knew him, Brooks was high strung, eccentric, demanding, but respectful of my own talent. I'd rather think of the fantastic experience I had working with him back than of his tragic final years, so would appreciate there being no discussion on this thread about that part of his life.

---I don't differentiate between composers and songwriters, by the way. People who write music - they come in many flavors.
--------------------

I'm more interested in meeting famous lyricists.
Phil

I couldn't tell if you were serious or not, Phil, but another famous music industry figure I met and worked with is Jim Rado, co-author of the lyrics and script for "HAIR," one of the most famous stage musicals in history.

Rado and I conferred over a two month period when I was preparing to direct a production of "HAIR" here in town. Similar to the experience with Brooks, Rado wanted me to try several new things in his show, and by the time our phone and Fax conferences were over, I had a unique new version of the show to work with. Rado came to our opening night, and gave the production high praise.

Rado and his partner Gerome Ragni created something unique and brilliant with "HAIR." Together, they crafted some outstanding lyrics. Here's a prime example from "The Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In)"--:

WE STARVE
LOOK AT ONE ANOTHER
SHORT OF BREATH
WALKING PROUDLY
IN OUR WINTER COATS
WEARING SMELLS
FROM LAB'RATORIES
FACING A DYING NATION
OF MOVING PAPER FANTASY
LIST'NING FOR THE NEW TOLD LIES
WITH SUPREME VISIONS OF LONELY TUNES
---------------------------------
Stas Namin is so famous in his homeland of Russia that his name is a household word. He's as well known and loved there as Sir Paul McCartney is in Britain and The States. Namin has written countless pop songs for his ground breaking band "Flowers," as well as other Russian artists. He's the producer of the Russian version of my show, "Dorian Gray," and working with him and his troupe in Moscow will always remain an insanely great memory for me.

Working with Brooks on "Metropolis," with Rado on "HAIR," and with Namin on "Dorian" are three major highlights of my life.

There's no question that meeting up with famous, highly successful artists can be an invigorating, very inspiring experience.

Randy

Oyvind
01-09-2013, 05:14 AM
Nice tread !
I have only met two of Norway`s locally famous composers, Geirr Tveitt and Harald Saeverud. Saeverud was in his own opinion world famous. Geirr Tveitt deserves to be world famous, but probably is not.

But I feel tempted to tell about my wonderful piano teacher Warren Langlie, and what he told me about his music teacher , the famous Arnold Schoenberg in Los Angeles. Mr Langlie was a piano teacher in Norway for some years, from 1959 on.

But many years before that he studied music in Los Angeles, with Arnold Schoenberg, no less. This student Langlie was once in Schoenberg`s private home, and dared to ask permission to play some parts of Bach`s Goldberg variations there ... ( ! ) Schoenberg looked sternly at him : "You know about my opinion of it ?" Warren admitted that he knew : Shoenberg apparently meant that since most of the variations are written in the same key (G major) , Bach probably never had meant them all to be played through in one session . But OK, he could let him try the Aria, and the first variations ...

When Warren then asked if Schoenberg would mind if he spoke between the variations, the answer was a brisk one: "On the contrary --- you must!"

Warren started to play, and Schoenberg listened. "Just a moment !" he suddenly said, went out into the kitchen --- and returned with his wife ! "You must hear this!" he told her, and nodded to Warren to continue ...
It is not difficult to understand that he treasured this event : Schoenberg listened to his playing of the whole set - one whole hour !

Since Schoenberg died in 1951 this must have happened before Glenn Gould`s first famous recording of the Golberg variations came in 1955.

We, his students in Bergen, had the chance to hear Warren Langlie twice play all of the Goldberg variations in private concerts. He played brilliantly, but almost never in public. The reason for that probably was that he at any moment could be struck by a light epilectic seizure, it even sometimes happened during our piano lessons. Oyvind

tedvanya
01-10-2013, 10:35 AM
Ignore me if this does not count, but at 86, I am probably the last to have some, although not direct, contact with a Famous Composer.
My grandmother and two aunts attended the Academia in Budapest studying piano. They were probably 18 t0 22 at the time. According to one of the Aunt who lived in our Family, they heard the rumor that if one touched the cassock of a certain person, teaching at the time at the Academy (today bearing his name) you will be a better player.
So, they waited until he was leaving the building, and all three of them touched his cassock. Before they could run away, he turned and told them to practice more and do not believe in silly rumors.
They did practice and became good pianists, never forgetting the episode, because the man was

Franz Liszt!

Ted

composingatnight
01-10-2013, 10:52 AM
Ignore me if this does not count, but at 86, I am probably the last to have some, although not direct, contact with a Famous Composer.
My grandmother and two aunts attended the Academia in Budapest studying piano. They were probably 18 t0 22 at the time. According to one of the Aunt who lived in our Family, they heard the rumor that if one touched the cassock of a certain person, teaching at the time at the Academy (today bearing his name) you will be a better player.
So, they waited until he was leaving the building, and all three of them touched his cassock. Before they could run away, he turned and told them to practice more and do not believe in silly rumors.
They did practice and became good pianists, never forgetting the episode, because the man was

Franz Liszt!

Ted
Epic. This story made my day.
~Rodney

caher
01-10-2013, 03:28 PM
Back in the 70's during my days on the production staff at Lincoln Center and also working as a piano tech I routinely worked with many "famous" composers & artists of the day; everybody from Boulez to Bernstein. It is hard to pick a favorite, but maybe Harold Arlen? I played on a softball team with George Tsontakis but he wasn't famous then. :)

I left the music business in the early 80's and spent the next 30 years in systems engineering in the international telecom industry. I've recently retired and am having a lot of fun with music again.

Chris

caher
01-10-2013, 03:30 PM
Ignore me if this does not count, but at 86, I am probably the last to have some, although not direct, contact with a Famous Composer.
My grandmother and two aunts attended the Academia in Budapest studying piano. They were probably 18 t0 22 at the time. According to one of the Aunt who lived in our Family, they heard the rumor that if one touched the cassock of a certain person, teaching at the time at the Academy (today bearing his name) you will be a better player.
So, they waited until he was leaving the building, and all three of them touched his cassock. Before they could run away, he turned and told them to practice more and do not believe in silly rumors.
They did practice and became good pianists, never forgetting the episode, because the man was

Franz Liszt!

Ted

Hi Ted,

One of my clients back in the 70's, Kyriana Siloti's father Alexander also studied with Listz.

Chris

rbowser-
01-10-2013, 04:53 PM
Ignore me if this does not count, but at 86, I am probably the last to have some, although not direct, contact with a Famous Composer.
My grandmother and two aunts attended the Academia in Budapest studying piano. They were probably 18 t0 22 at the time. According to one of the Aunt who lived in our Family, they heard the rumor that if one touched the cassock of a certain person, teaching at the time at the Academy (today bearing his name) you will be a better player.
So, they waited until he was leaving the building, and all three of them touched his cassock. Before they could run away, he turned and told them to practice more and do not believe in silly rumors.
They did practice and became good pianists, never forgetting the episode, because the man was

Franz Liszt!

Ted
Ted, that is such a wonderful story. It would make for a very nice moment in a film. Thanks for telling us the tale!

Randy

Samantha Penigar
01-11-2013, 06:37 AM
I had the great fortune to have a couple of private lessons from William Grant Still! Looking back I wish I had continued the lessons, I can't remember why I stopped. He told me he would teach me to read the music with ears and play it with my eyes. In hindsight that was the one thing I regret the most not achieving. Unfortunately, at the time I did not realize who he was.

superquartet1
01-11-2013, 08:08 PM
13 years ago i was interviewed by film composer Trevor Jones, lovely man!

ejr
01-12-2013, 04:05 PM
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but Dick Peaslee composed the incidental music for a production of RICHARD III that I was in, back in 1983. It was my first Equity show, produced by Joe Papp, starring Kevin Kline. A very nice, very interesting guy, known for his score for MARAT/SADE. He used remarkably few instruments on RICHARD III. During the ghost scene, his percussionist produced these amazingly synth-like effects with a violin bow on a cymbol. I remember telling him that I had only heard such sounds from electronic instruments until that time. He said "Really? Could a synthesizer do that?" Apparently he had never used one before (and never needed to, because he could get any effect he needed from acoustic instruments). Another thing that struck me was, when he was asked to shorten or lengthen pieces to accomodate changes in staging, he didn't simply speed them or slow them down. Nor did he cut or add whole sections. He actually changed the melody lines, developing the theme more or less. His facility with this technique took my breath away.

Two other composers whom I did not actually "meet" but heard speak were Steven Sondheim (always a wealth of information) several times and Leonard Bernstein (only once) in seminars conducted by the Dramatists Guild. Bernstein participated in a partcularly memorable event where all the creators of WEST SIDE STORY spoke about that production. Fortunately, it was recorded and transcribed by the Guild for its quarterly publications (but don't ask me to remember what year).

Steve Johnson
01-12-2013, 05:34 PM
Wow, I've been away from the forum too long! An appropriate subject to bring me back, though.


I had the great fortune to have a couple of private lessons from William Grant Still! Looking back I wish I had continued the lessons, I can't remember why I stopped. He told me he would teach me to read the music with ears and play it with my eyes. In hindsight that was the one thing I regret the most not achieving. Unfortunately, at the time I did not realize who he was.
I share a similar regret. Back in my younger days I was a bassoonist, and I got the opportunity to play in the Glendale Symphony for a 1976 (or maybe '77) performance of Howard Hanson's oratorio New Land, New Covenant with the composer conducting. Not sure what brought him to Southern California (and Glendale of all places!), but I knew I was in the presence of a distinguished American composer. He was also a huge admirer of Sibelius' music, although it didn't leave much of an impression on me at the time. I became a Sibelian years later, and if my musical tastes were different when I played with Hanson, I have to wonder if I missed out on the chance for a memorable conversation!

Howard Hanson on the left and Jean Sibelius on the right -- brothers from a different mother?

http://levo.com/vch/Hanson_Sibelius.jpg

Steve

composingatnight
01-13-2013, 12:21 AM
This is absolutely wonderful seeing faces that I only recognize from posts from long ago before me. I wish you all would post more though, and this is starting to make since when you see 400 views on a topic and you say to yourself, “I thought it was just me, Randy, Snor, Frank, and 5 other dudes here.”
~Rodney

BarrieB
01-13-2013, 10:33 AM
When I took my grade 8 piano exam many years ago at Manchester College in Oxford- a terrifying Victorian edifice of long echoing corridors and huge cold wood paneled rooms (or so it seemed to me then - I remember being very nervous) - the examiner was a small nondescript elderly man in a dark suit who threw me a bit by making up the aural tests.
Apparently he was called Herbert Howells. I'd never heard of him.
Arguably one of the best church music composers of the 20th century - I wish I could now have a really good chat with him. I've come to adore some of his music.
It struck me later that he probably had to do exam invigilation in order to make a living, which, considering his talent I found a bit sad.
I certainly wouldn't have wanted to sit in a freezing cold room hearing a 14 year old me bashing at the piano....

B

tedvanya
01-13-2013, 11:16 AM
Here is one I met.
I was conducting al joint choir, of four high schools, because my school's choir (Piarist High School of Veszprem, Hungary) won the contest, and the winner conductor got the privilege to conduct the joint choir of 180 girls and boys, myself only 16 at the time.
The guest was Zoltan Kodaly, and after we finished (a Gloria), Kodaly came up to me, had tears in his eyes, gave me a hug, praising me and the choir and asked us to repeat the piece. We did...

Ted

Jeff Turner
01-13-2013, 11:38 AM
Although not a famous composer, I got the chance back in the 80's to work with Jake and Elwood Blues for a couple weeks, before they went on tour. It was great fun watching the rehearsals.

BarrieB
01-14-2013, 06:00 AM
Here is one I met.
I was conducting al joint choir, of four high schools, because my school's choir (Piarist High School of Veszprem, Hungary) won the contest, and the winner conductor got the privilege to conduct the joint choir of 180 girls and boys, myself only 16 at the time.
The guest was Zoltan Kodaly, and after we finished (a Gloria), Kodaly came up to me, had tears in his eyes, gave me a hug, praising me and the choir and asked us to repeat the piece. We did...

Ted


I consider myself truly trumped!

B

ChoralBoss
01-15-2013, 11:51 PM
While working on my masters in composition from the University of Colorado in the late 90's I had a two hour private lesson with George Crumb. He was a really great guy to work with. Down to earth and humble, he would have passed for a Nebraska farmer that morning He was wearing jeans and a red and black plaid shirt.

I also was the guinea pig in a master class with Joan Tower while at CU. She was very nice, albeit tough. We went to dinner after and she was a riot. I remember her as very coarse and she cursed a lot!

I also was a student of Alvin Singleton, composer-in-residence for the Atlanta Symphony, for a week at an artist colony in New Smyrna Beach, Fl.

When I was a young piano student in Tallahassee, Fl, I attended piano recitals of Ernst von Dohnányi and even got his autograph (long since lost, however)

Ron Williams
Westminster, CO

AlanPerkins
01-16-2013, 12:54 AM
Not quite the same thing, but when I was a little boy, Dizzy Gillespie was visiting our house and he picked me up and put me on his knee

jandjnelson
01-17-2013, 12:12 PM
Have any of you ever met any composers that are well-known in their field?
~Rodney

In the late 1960's I was a graduate student in composition at the University of Texas at Austin. I submitted an orchestra piece to a New Music Festival that was held in Houston, TX. The piece contained many places where the conductor kept track of the passage of time and cued the entrance and exit of groups of musicians who played passages of music that included some improvisation, playing in independent tempi, etc.

Aaron Copland was the featured composer and listened to the rehearsal of each piece and conducted a critique session. The orchestra's conductor had never rehearsed a piece like this before and was clearly frustrated with having to do so. Aaron Copland stepped forward and asked if he could rehearse it. The rehearsal went very well and I can say that I composed a piece that was conducted by Aaron Copland.

When I returned to Austin, TX and told my composition teacher, Hunter Johnson, I learned that he knew Aaron Copland well from the time that each had composed several ballets for Martha Graham's Modern Dance Troupe in New York. He had encouraged me to submit the work because he knew that Aaron Copland would be interested in a student work that did not fit the 12 tone/serialism norms of that time.

Norman