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Photo of William Duckworth(13k)
Photo by Kate Kennedy
August 2, 1982

Archived Compositions

A Whispering (1972)
for percussion of 7 or more players
pattern pulse composition

Gymel (1973)
for keyboard percussion quartet
pattern pulse composition

b. 1943 -

    WILLIAM DUCKWORTH (b. 1943, Morganton, NC), is a composer whose music is performed extensively in Europe and America. Recent performances include solo engagements at Roulette in New York City and Real Art Ways in Hartford, and major performances at the 1980 New Music America festival in Minneapolis, Warsaw Autumn, and the Holland Festival. Significant radio performances include RIAS Berlin, KPFA in Berkeley, and WBAI in New York. His twenty-four piano preludes, The Time Curve Preludes, written in 1977-78 on an NEA Composer Fellowship, were published in 1982 by C. F. Peters, and recorded in 1984 by Lovely Music Records with Neely Bruce as pianist. In 1982-83, selected preludes were performed in Europe by Jay Gottlieb. The complete set received its European premiere at the 1984 Nova Festival in Bremen, West Germany, performed by the Swiss pianist Marianne Schroeder.
    Duckworth's music has been premiered by the Aeolian Chamber Players, Ensemble MW 2 of Poland, and the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, and performed by numerous college and university organizations throughout the country. For the past fifteen years he has been closely associated with the pianist Neely Bruce who has premiered a number of his works. Twenty of Duckworth's more than seventy works are published and seven are recorded. Recent commissions are from Wesleyan Singers for Southern Harmony, a one-hour SSAATTBB choral work; from The Electric Phoenix of London for Songs of the Pale Horseman, a work based on The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and from The International Tango Project. During 1983-84, Duckworth held an NEA Collaborative Fellowship in Composition to work with the poet Hayden Carruth on a song cycle titled Simple Songs About Sex and War.
    Between 1980 and 1982, Duckworth was on a two-year leave-of-absence from Bucknell University to compose and to research experimental music notation, supported by an NEH Fellowship. At Bucknell, where he is a tenured Professor of Music, he directs the theory program and teaches classes in composition and contemporary music. Until 1980, he was Director of the Freshman Humanities Semester, an honors program for a select group of first semester freshmen. He received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from Bucknell in 1978, and was named the 1st Alumni-Faculty Fellow by the Alumni Association in 1977. In 1983 he was identified as one of six Master Teachers in America by the College Music Society and the National Association of Schools of Music.
    Until 1972, Duckworth was the President of Media Press, and the Director of the Association of Independent Composers and Performers, an international organization of musicians promoting the performance, publication, and recording of contemporary music. His two books on music theory are published by Wadsworth Publishing Company. Until recently he was a regular reviewer of contemporary music for Notes. Since 1982, he has been Consulting Editor in Music for Random House.

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