George Crumb was born on October 24, 1929 in Charleston, West Virginia. Interestingly enough, his was on the same day as infamous the stock market crash in Wall Street that was later deemed as "Black" Tuesday. His father, George Crumb Sr., was a clarinetist, and his mother, Vivian Crumb, was a cellist. George Junior studied piano and composition as a young child. Among his many activities at the time, young George often performed in a trio with his both of his parents, as well as studying music in the library. (Since the Crumbs were professional musicians, Mr. Crumb had a library of almost half a thousand musical scores).
Crumb went on to earn his bachelor's degree at Mason College in his birthplace. He earned his Master's Degree at the Illinois University, studying composition under Eugene Weigel. However, his most influential instructor of composition was Ross Lee Finney, under whom he finished his Doctorate degree in the University at Michigan. . In 1949, at the age of twenty, Crumb married Elizabeth May Brown, and they have had three children together. After a while, at the age of twenty-five, Crumb went to Germany for a year to study on a Fulbright fellowship, this time working with Boris Blacher at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. A few years after that, he received his first teaching assignment as a music theory instructor at the Hollins College in Virginia. Then, at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Crumb taught piano performance. This lasted until Crumb was of thirty-five years of age, in 1964.
At this time, besides his occupation as a teacher, his music started to gain a sense of the identity with which he was to become famous with. Notable among these significant compositions include the "Five Pieces for Piano," dedicated to his fried David Burge, who also a faculty member at the University. Crumb also served as a "composer-in-residence" at the Buffalo Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, in SUNY College. Then, by the age of 37, in 1965, Crumb joined the faculty of the University at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A long span of several years saw him working there, first as an associative professor and later promoted to the title of full professor. From 1983 up until 2002 saw the composer in the title of "Annenberg Professor of Music." In May 1997 he retired from his teaching post.
In the period from 1960 to the early 1970s, Crumb started to gain world recognition as a result of a number of published works that he had composed. This resulted in his music being performed, recorded, and studied all over the western world ever since. He has received numerous international prizes for the works he had composed, including the George Crumb is the recipient of numerous awards, including: the Elizabeth Croft fellowship for study, Berkshire Music Center, 1955; Fulbright Scholarship, 1955-6; BMI student award, 1956; Rockefeller grant, 1964; National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, 1967; Guggenheim grant, 1967, 1973; Pulitzer Prize (for Echoes of Time and the River), 1968; UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers Award, 1971; Koussevitzky Recording Award, 1971; Fromm grant, 1973; Member, National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1975; Ford grant, 1976; Prince Pierre de Monaco Gold Medal, 1989; Brandeis University Creative Arts Award; Honorary member, Deutsche Akademie der Kunste; Honorary member, International Cultural Society of Korea; 6 honorary degrees; 1998 Cannes Classical Award: Best CD of a Living Composer (BRIDGE 9069); and 2001 Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition (Star-Child).
Among the ensembles who have performed Crumb's music includes, the Kronos Quartet, the Aeolian Chamber Players, the Philadelphia Chamber Players, Orchestra 2001, Ensemble Modern, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and many others. Nr, Crumb usually travels frequently abroad the United States mainly to lecture at music festivals where his music is...
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