Composer/pianist/activist Frederic Rzewski is one of themost heterogenous, creative personalities of the last few decades. Born in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1938, hestudied music with Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, and Milton Babbitt at Harvard and Princeton Universities. In Rome in the mid-sixties, together with Alvin Curran and Richard Teitelbaum, he formed the MEV
(MusicaElettronica Viva) group. The experience of MEV
can be felt in Rzewski’s compositions of the late sixties and early seventies, which combine elements derived equally from the worlds of written and improvised music.
A greater interest in socialist-political concerns expressed themselves in pieces such as Coming Together and Attica (composed in 1972), and in works combining elements from both written and improvised music. He went on to explore folk and popular melodies in settings that are sometimes unambiguously tonal and oftendisplay exceptional virtuosity. Recent large-scale works include the oratorio The Triumph of Death and The Road,a 5-hour ‚Äònovel’ for solo piano.
Since 1977 Rzewski has served as Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liege, Belgium.
Selected works by Fredric Rzewski: