One of the most prominent of
contemporary American composers, Jacob Druckman was born in Philadelphia in 1928. After
early training in violin and piano, he enrolled in the Juilliard School in 1949, studying
composition with Bernard Wagenaar, Vincent Persichetti, and Peter Mennin. In 1949 and 1950
he studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood; later, he continued his studies at the Ecole
Normale de Musique in Paris (1954-55).
Critic Mark Swed has written, "At the heart of the works of Jacob Druckman lies
the bold, sure, and often arrestingly physical dramatic gesture....Yet Druckman's scores
have always exhibited another characteristic as well: that of careful structure, built
with meticulous attention to detail. The process of integrating these two sides of his
character...has been a consistent factor throughout the composer's development."
Druckman produced a substantial list of works embracing orchestral, chamber, and vocal
media, and did considerable work with electronic music. In 1972, he was awarded the
Pulitzer Prize for Windows, his first work for large orchestra. Among his other
numerous grants and awards were a Fulbright Grant in 1954, a Thorne Foundation award in
1972, Guggenheim Grants in 1957 and 1968, and the Publication Award from the Society for
the Publication of American Music in 1967. Organizations that commissioned his music
included Radio France (Shog, 1991); the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Brangle,
1989); the New York Philharmonic (Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, 1978;
Aureole, 1979); the Philadelphia Orchestra (Counterpoise, 1994); the Baltimore
Symphony (Prism, 1980); the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Mirage, 1976); the
Juilliard Quartet (String Quartet No. 2, 1966); the Koussevitzky Foundation in the
Library of Congress (Windows, 1972); IRCAM (Animus IV, 1977); and numerous
others. He also composed for theater, films, and dance.
Druckman taught at the Juilliard School, Bard College, and Tanglewood; in addition he
was director of the Electronic Music Studio and Professor of Composition at Brooklyn
College. He was also associated with the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New
York City. In the spring of 1982, he was Resident-In-Music at the American Academy in
Rome; in April of that year, he was appointed composer-in-residence with the New York
Philharmonic, where he served two two-year terms and was Artistic Director of the HORIZONS
music festival. In the last years of his life, Druckman was Professor of Composition at
the School of Music at Yale University.
Many of Druckman's works have been recorded, by Deutsche Grammophon, Nonesuch, CRI, New
World, and other labels. Recent recordings include Aureole (St. Louis
Symphony/Slatkin on New World), Prism (New York Philharmonic/Mehta, New World); and
Nor Spell Nor Charm (Orpheus chamber orchestra, Deutsche Grammophon).
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes