Fred Lerdahl, the Fritz Reiner Professor of Composition at Columbia, has published a tribute to his friend and colleague, the late George Edwards (Edward MacDowell Professor Emeritus of Music) in the online journal New Music Box.
"Music was his refuge, his inner sanctum of order, beauty, and refined expression."
From the article:
"George and I met in 1965 as incoming graduate students at Princeton. He, Joel Gressel, and I soon formed a three-way friendship that became at least as important to our development as the classes we took. After seminars we would relax by playing pool, frisbee, chess, or tennis, and we spent long hours listening to and discussing music, not only modern pieces but also the classics, in particular Beethoven and Mahler. By the time I met him, George's personality and musical style were already formed. He had an acerbic wit that quickly spotted contradictions and deflated pretensions. Beneath the high-spirited jokes and puns lay a stern moral sensibility, seemingly inherited from his Puritan background. (One of his forebears was the 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards.) This sensibility made him vulnerable to moods of discouragement and outrage, yet it was also a strength. He held firm convictions, musical and otherwise. He followed unwaveringly his own artistic path, and he approached all of his relationships and obligations with exemplary candor, responsibility, and loyalty."
The recent "Composer Portrait" of Prof. George Lewis at Miller Theater was reviewed in The New York Times by critic Steve Smith:
" . . .rare, rich and provocative: contemporary-classical concert music that reflected, organically and without compromise, black American musical, literary and cultural perspectives . . . Absorbing in scope and expressive in detail,"
Carl Christian Bettendorf is a New York-based composer and conductor. Born in Hamburg, Germany, he studied composition with Hans-Jurgen von Bose and Wolfgang Rihm in Munich and Karlsruhe before moving to New York, where he received his doctorate from Columbia University under Tristan Murail. He attended Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Summer School for Young Composers in the Orkney Islands and was a fellow at the Composers Conference (Wellesley College, Mass.) and the Centre Acanthes (Metz, France).
Bettendorf's works have been played at major new-music festivals and venues in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. In July 1997, his first opera Escorial after Michel de Ghelderode was premiered at the Prinzregententheater in Munich. He has received numerous awards, among them a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a six-month residency at the Cite des Arts in Paris, and a Fromm Foundation commission.
Ilari Kaila received his Ph.D. in Music Composition from Stony Brook University in December 2010, having previously studied at the Sibelius Academy in his native Finland. During the 2013-14 concert season, his works are performed at the Metropolis Festival in Australia by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; on the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra's tour of Japan in Yokohama and Kanagawa; in Finland by the Joensuu City Orchestra; in Hong Kong as one of six young Composer Fellows featured in the "Intimacy of Creativity 2014" program; and at the MATA Festival in New York City, among others. His music has been performed by the Escher String Quartet, the Uusinta Chamber Ensemble, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra's chamber ensembles, and the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra. Kaila has been awarded, most recently, in the Mellon Foundation/ASO "Composer to Center Stage" competition, and in the Composer Competition of the 9th International Piano Festival in Espoo, and has received the American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship, a commission grant from the National Council for Music in Finland, the Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award from SUNY, and the Cite Internationale des Arts residency in Paris. He has participated in master classes with Magnus Lindberg and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and studied Carnatic music on several trips to India between 2002 and 2011. As a pianist, Kaila has performed in premieres of his own and other young composers' works, and in various improvisation projects. In addition to teaching harmony, counterpoint and musicianship at Columbia University, Kaila works for the New York Philharmonic as a teaching artist in composition, both in the U.S.
Todd Tarantino is a New York City based composer. He is is currently the Executive Director of MATA, the festival of music by young and emerging composers, and has taught music theory at the Manhattan School of Music. At Columbia University, he teaches music theory, history and aural skills. His principal composition teachers include John Luther Adams, Fred Lerdahl, Stephen Siegel and Jonathan Kramer.
Tarantino's music has been presented at concerts and festivals throughout America, Europe, Asia and Africa by musicians such as the New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Moderne Akadamie, Manhattan Sinfonietta, Second Instrumental Unit, and the OCNM Ensemble as well as soloists such as oboist Jacqueline Leclair, violinists David Fulmer, Miranda Cuckson and Hana Kotkova, clarinetist Carol McGonnel, saxophonists Eliot Gattegno and David Wegehaupt, pianists Barbara Lieurance and Kathleen Tagg, and flautist Emi Ferguson, among others
His personal and richly varied musical environments are characterized by bold surfaces, quarter-tone inflected harmonies and athletic lyricism. Much of his recent work draws on experiences living in the developing world, translating the sounds and energy of urban environments into his own unique musical language. Currently, he is developing Appeal for Identification, an evening-length series of compositions that together tell the story of Delhi's migrants through the sounds of the locations in which their corpses were found.
Visiting Professor of Composition Richard Carrick has received a commission from the Fromm Foundation.
Prof. Carrick will be writing his second string quartet for the young, dynamic MIVOS Quartet. He is thrilled to be honored by Fromm. The commission comes with a cash award and a 3 year deadline to write the new work. Carrick plans on writing his quartet next spring and summer.
Prof. Carrick's personal website:
More information about the commission can be found at
The members of The Department of Music at Columbia University express our collective sorrow and offer our condolences to the friends and family of George Edwards, Edward MacDowell Emeritus Professor of Music, who passed away on October 23, 2011. Prof. Edwards had a long and distinguished career at Columbia, in addition to his significant public career as a composer and critic.
George Edwards was born on May 11, 1943, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He attended Oberlin College from 1961-65, where his principal teacher was Richard Hoffman. From 1965-68, he attended graduate school and earned the MFA at Princeton University, where he studied with Milton Babbitt, Edward T. Cone, and Earl Kim. He taught music theory and composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston from 1969-1976. He was a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome from 1973-75, and won the Rome Prize in Composition in 1975. In 1977 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia University in New York. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in both 1980 and 1986, and earned tenure at Columbia in 1987, heading the composition program here from 1987 to 1995. He also served on the Advisory Committee of the Alice M. Ditson Fund from 1988 to 2005, serving as the Committee's Secretary from 1995-1998. He served as Chair of the Department of Music at Columbia from 1996 to 1999. After his retirement in 2006, he was named Edward MacDowell Emeritus Professor of Music by Columbia's Board of Trustees.
Prof. Edwards is survived by his wife, Rachel Hadas, to whom he was married in 1978, and by his son, Jonathan Hadas Edwards, born in 1984. Please visit Rachel's website for her moving tribute to George by Rachel and Jonathan. .
Please click here to read an extended appreciation of George Edwards' music and life by his friend and colleague Fred Lerdahl, the Fritz Reiner Professor of Composition at Columbia.
The family has suggested that donations may be made in memory of Prof. George Edwards to either of the following organizations: