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Daniel Pinkham

June 5, 1923 - December 18, 2006
born in Lynn, MA, composed during the Contemporary period
Daniel Pinkham has created his unique "sound" from varieties of energetic, propulsive rhythms, and brilliant polyphony, while preserving a sophisticated, appealing, and modern harmonic sensibility that thoroughly suits his often subtle religious subjects. Pinkham earned his B.A. and M.A. at Harvard University, where he studied composition, conducting, and theory with Tillman Merritt, Walter Piston, Archibald Davison, and Aaron Copland. At Tanglewood, he studied with Arthur Honegger and Samuel Barber, and he took private instruction from Nadia Boulanger. His instrumental training was with Putnam Aldrich and the legendary Wanda Landowska, who taught him harpsichord, and with the equally famous E. Power Biggs, from whom he mastered the organ. His early compositions of this period (before 1950) are all in a neo-Classical style.

He then became a faculty member at Simmons College and Boston University and was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. Pinkham is also the music director emeritus at Boston's historic King's Chapel, where he actively served for 42 years and, since 1959, has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. There he is both a lecturer and the chairman of the department for the performance of early music.

After 1950, Pinkham began to use serial techniques combined with strong, rhythmically driven polyphony. These works, many with religious subjects, combine twelve-tone melodies surrounded by tonality, as in the Wedding Cantata for chorus and orchestra (1956); the Christmas Cantata (1957); the Easter Cantata (1961); the Requiem (1963); the Stabat Mater (1964); St. Mark Passion (1965); Jonah for mezzo soprano, tenor, bass baritone, chorus, and orchestra (1967); The Song of Jephtha's Daughter for soprano and piano (1963); Eight Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins for baritone and viola (1964); the Letters From St. Paul for soprano or tenor and organ (1965); as well as the first two (1961, 1962) of his four symphonies and the Concertante for organ, celeste, and percussion (1963).

His later pieces explore considerably more complex harmonic constructions and progressions, although maintaining the tight overall structures of his previous works; working with Robert Ceely, he also began to include electronics in combination with acoustic instruments. These compositions include the Ascension Cantata for chorus, woodwinds, and percussion (1970); Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers for mezzo-soprano and tape (text by Emily Dickinson, 1972); Concerto for Organ (1970); and Lessons for harpsichord (1971).

Pinkham is a prolific composer who has also created concerti for piano, piccolo, violin, and trumpet; several theater works and chamber operas; many tape and electronic pieces; and scores for approximately 20 television documentaries. He has been awarded Fulbright and Ford Foundation fellowships and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received an honorary doctor of literature degree from Wesleyan University, as well as honorary doctor of music degrees from the New England Conservatory, Adrian College, Westminster Choir College, Ithaca College, and the Boston Conservatory. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Daniel Pinkham: Piano Music

Title: Holland Waltzes, For 2 Pianos

1. Holland Waltzes, For 2 Pianos: I. Jovial

2. Holland Waltzes, For 2 Pianos: II. Langorous

3. Holland Waltzes, For 2 Pianos: III. Fleeting

Title: Preludes, For Piano Solo

4. Preludes, For Piano Solo: I. Agitato

5. Preludes, For Piano Solo: II. Tranquilo E Dolce

6. Preludes, For Piano Solo: III. Lento E Lasso

7. Preludes, For Piano Solo: IV. Scherzo

8. Preludes, For Piano Solo: V. Cantabile E Legato Ma Non Troppo Flessible

9. Preludes, For Piano Solo: VI. Andante Dolente Ma Sereno

10. Preludes, For Piano Solo: VII. Pesante E Mesto

11. Preludes, For Piano Solo: VIII. Allegretto

12. Preludes, For Piano Solo: IX. Leggiero

13. Preludes, For Piano Solo: X. Aria Serena

14. Preludes, For Piano Solo: XI. Allegretto Ballando

15. Preludes, For Piano Solo: XII. Con Moto

Title: Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos

16. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: I. Starry Skies And A Gibbous Moon

17. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: II. The Fog Will Lift By Noon

18. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: III. Little Wind, But By Dusk The Snow Will Be Deep

19. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: IV. Thunderheads Will Build In The West

20. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: V. At Dawn A Gentle Breeze Will Spring Up

21. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: VI. Steady Rainfall

22. Weather Reports, For 2 Pianos: VII. Occasional Sudden Gusts

Title: Shards, For Piano Solo

23. Shards, For Piano Solo: I. Allegro

24. Shards, For Piano Solo: II. Con Moto

25. Shards, For Piano Solo: III. Sereno

26. Shards, For Piano Solo: IV. Presto

27. Shards, For Piano Solo: V. Allegretto

28. Shards, For Piano Solo: VI. Romanza

Title: Quarries, For 2 Pianos

29. Quarries, For 2 Pianos: I. Prelude

30. Quarries, For 2 Pianos: II. Variations

31. Quarries, For 2 Pianos: III. Interlude

32. Quarries, For 2 Pianos: IV. Finale

x

Track List: Pinkham: Music for Brass and Brass & Organ

Title: Inaugural Marches For Brass Quintet

1. Inaugural Marches For Brass Quintet: I. Crisp

2. Inaugural Marches For Brass Quintet: II. Jolly

3. Inaugural Marches For Brass Quintet: III. Festive

Title: Psalms For Trumpet And Organ

4. Psalms For Trumpet And Organ: I. Let God Arise, Let His Enemies Be Scattered

5. Psalms For Trumpet And Organ: II. He Leads Me Beside The Still Waters

6. Psalms For Trumpet And Organ: III. Out Of The Depths Have I Called To Thee, O Lord

7. Psalms For Trumpet And Organ: IV. The Lord Has Gone Up With A Trumpet Fanfare

Title: The Salutation Of Gabriel For Horn And Organ

8. The Salutation Of Gabriel For Horn And Organ: The Salutation Of Gabriel For Horn And Organ

Title: Brass Quintet

9. Brass Quintet: I. Lirico E Sostenuto

10. Brass Quintet: II. Presto Alla Burlo

11. Brass Quintet: III. Adagietto

12. Brass Quintet: IV. Allegro Giocoso

Title: Solemnities For Trombone And Organ

13. Solemnities For Trombone And Organ: I. Dramatic

14. Solemnities For Trombone And Organ: II. Lyrical

15. Solemnities For Trombone And Organ: III. Joyous

Title: Dragons And Deeps For Bass Tuba In F And Organ

16. Dragons And Deeps For Bass Tuba In F And Organ: Dragons And Deeps For Bass Tuba In F And Organ

Title: Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble

17. Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble: I. Reveille

18. Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble: II. Song

19. Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble: III. Sports

20. Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble: IV. Reflection

21. Morning Music, For Brass Ensemble: V. March

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