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Frederic Rzewski

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Frederic Rzewski

Biography

Frederic Anthony Rzewski (b. 13 April 1938, Westfield, Mass.) is an American composer, pianist, and educator.

Rzewski began playing piano at age 5. He attended Phillips Academy, then studied at Harvard University with Randall Thompson and Walter Piston and at Princeton University with Walter Piston and Milton Babbitt. He spent the majority of the 1960s as a pianist and teacher in Europe. In addition to studying with Luigi Dallapiccola, he began a career as a performer of new piano music, often with an improvisatory element.

Rzewski returned to New York briefly in 1971 but has divided his time since 1976 between Rome and Liege, where he was professor of composition at the Royal Conservatory. He also has taught at Yale University, the University of Cincinnati, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of California at San Diego, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and the Berlin Hochschule der Kunste.

Rzewski has composed music for orchestra, a large number of pieces for chamber ensemble, piano music, vocal music and several pieces which utilize electronic media. His major compositions, which often incorporate social and political themes, include the minimalist Coming Together and the piano variations The People United Will Never Be Defeated! Rzewski's recent compositions include Nanosonatas (2006~2010) and Cadenza con o senza Beethoven (2003), written for Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. Rzewski played the solo part in the world premiere of his piano concerto at the 2013 BBC Proms.

He was one of the co-founders of the live electronic music ensemble Musica Eletronica Viva. Musica Elettronica Viva conceived music as a collective, collaborative process, with improvisation and live electronic instruments prominently featured


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