From his pioneering work in computer music through his fresh and engaging instrumental music of the past decade, Paul Lansky has become a leading voice in contemporary American music. Born in New York City in 1944, Lansky attended Queens College, studying composition with George Perle and Hugo Weisgall and at Princeton University, where he worked with Milton Babbitt and Earl Kim. Paul Lansky has been on the faculty at Princeton since 1969, where he is now William Shubael Conant Professor of Music. Until the mid-1990s, the bulk of Lansky’s work was in computer music, for which he was honored in 2002 with a lifetime achievement award by SEAMUS (the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States). Lansky’s recent instrumental music eschews attempts to “break new ground,” relying instead on a fresh approach toward tonality and harmony that references musical traditions of various kinds, from Machaut to Stravinsky. Lansky is currently Composer-in-Residence for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Paul Lansky has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Koussevitsky and Fromm Foundations, Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest, ASCAP and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2000 he was the subject of a documentary film “ My Cinema for the Ears”. His music is well represented on recording including a dozen CDs on the Bridge label (www.BridgeRecords.com), and his music is performed and broadcast widely. For a complete listing of recordings see listing on Lansky’s website: http://paullansky.org/disc.html).
“Paul Lansky is Americas’s foremost composer of Electronic Music.”
“‘Etudes and Parodies’ might serve as an excellent opener for a concert built around the Brahms ‘Horn Trio’. Tonal and rhythmically conservative, sometimes fearsomely virtuosic, these lovely pieces should grace the horn repertoire for years to come. The set won the 2005 International Horn Society composition competition – for good reason.”
-American Record Guide
“As well as a consummate grasp of a number of styles, Lansky has a natural flair for matching instrumental colors in a way that is both extremely idiomatic and fascinatingly strange. The Baroque together with the Renaissance inspires “Ricercare Plus” for string quartet, which is, I think, the most impressive work on the disc, transparently beautiful….This is a genuine discovery.”
-International Record Review
Cygnus Ensemble Babbitt Centenary concert
Thursday | 8 p.m. | Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
This program includes of Babbitt's great works, along with music by his students and also by two composers who attended Princeton after Babbitt retired from there.