Robert Beaser

with Ev Grimes

New York, NY

April 25, 1987



Side A                                                                                                                                            pp. 1-12


Background -- mother’s inventions -- earliest musical memory -- piano lessons -- listening to classical records at home -- playing in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony -- early introduction to Bartók's Mikrokosmos -- playing percussion -- first piece -- folk music influence from summer camp -- writing incidental music for plays in Newton school system -- drummer in rock band -- what was learned from second piano teacher -- music training achieved on his own -- Arnold Franchetti, influential teacher -- works written under his tutelage -- what he learned from Franchetti.


Side B                                                                                                                                               pp. 12-22

Interests besides music -- reason for choosing to study at Yale -- Scholar of the House -- conducting own work for Greater Boston Youth Symphony -- Otto-Werner Mueller, Arthur Weisberg, William Steinberg, conducting teachers at Yale -- style of early compositions -- progression from tonal to non-tonal language -- predilection for lyrical, and vocal writing -- Prix de Rome 1977 -- the Darmstadt influence -- Musical Elements with Daniel Asia -- composers allowed to follow their inner vision today.


Side C                                                                                                                                               pp. 22-34


High school compositions: 23rd Psalm setting, incidental music for Antigone -- importance of text to his work -- balance between pragmatic and experimental -- importance of peers at Yale -- teachers Kerry Snyder, Bill Waite, Yehudi Wyner, Jacob Druckman -- maintaining own personality in variety of influences and styles -- Silently Spring, first mature work -- Continatoni, guitar piece -- collaboration with Eliot Fisk -- Notes On A Southern Sky -- Mountain Songs -- work for soprano and orchestra -- anecdote about Rome Radio.


Side D                                                                                                                                                          pp. 34-45


Prix de Rome -- composing and studying with Petrassi -- difference in European and American relationship to music history -- return to tonality -- effort to simplify -- Shadow and Light -- The Seven Deadly Sins -- new music dependent on good performance -- new music premieres -- high point in composing process is actual creation -- coming out of writing a piece -- difference between composing and orchestration.


Side E                                                                                                                                               pp. 45-57


Intuitive type of composer -- "tragedy of the blank page” -- feeling like you’ve never written before -- process of composition when a piece takes a leap -- Note On A Southern Sky -- music for film documentary -- Variations for flute and piano -- Psalm 119.


Side F                                                                                                                                               pp. 57-67


Difficulty in writing for different media -- moving towards Beaser style -- progression towards simplicity and tonality -- music’s worth judged by the fact that it is internally compelling and has a cross section of reaction -- theft of viola and piano piece -- orchestrating The Seven Deadly Sins -- Occasions --writing pieces that are diametrically opposed -- Song of the Bel1s -- upcoming piano concerto.


Side G                                                                                                                                                          pp. 67-72


Relevance of the concerto today -- editor of issue on new tonality for Contemporary Music Review -- prevalence of tonal writing today.



AMERICAN MUSIC SERIES                                                  191 h-k



Robert Beaser

with Ingram Marshall

New York, N.Y.

October 6, l998




[DAT 1]


Cassette Side h                                                                                                            pp. 1-22


Contemporary Music Review on resurgence of tonality--George Rochberg, Kurt Schwertsik, George Perle, Fred Lehrdahl, David Del Tredici--Composers as writers--American Composers Orchestra--Musical Elements--Dan Asia--Bang On A Can--New York consortium for New Music--Ligeti Kammerkonzert--Hans Abrahamsen--Paul Ruders--John Adams--Shaker Loops--Saxton--George Lewis--Beaser's career as a conductor--Meet the Composers Series and the ACO--Beaser as composer in residence--Francis Thorne--Sonidas Festival--Seven Deadly Sins--Piano Concerto--Chorale Variations--role of the ACO--Beaser and the ACO--residencies--American education and music--Beaser's work with ACO as influence on his composing--teaching as chairman of the composition dept. at Juilliard--modernism--Goffredo Petrassi--Alberto Franchetti--Chorale Variations--Symphony for Soprano and Orchestra--String Quartet--Woodwind Quintet--Seven Deadly Sins.


Cassette Side i                                                                                                              pp.22-45


Seven Deadly Sins--influence of minimalism and Reich's Music for Eighteen Musicians--Perle's Concertino--Song of the Bells (Flute Concerto)--Piano Concerto--complexity and depth in music--Chorale Variations--Mountain Songs--Beaser's settings of poetry--Anthony Hecht, e.e. cummings, Montale Gertrude Schnakenberg--The Heavenly Feast with Dawn Upshaw--James Paul--Schnakenberg's The Lamplit Answer--Beaser's Psalm 150, Psalm 119, Psalm 23--piece for children's chorus and Big Bird--Judith Clurman--Double Chorus--Manhattan Roll--Chicago Symphony Orchestra--Variations for Flute and Piano--Adolph Herseth--John Corigliano, Shulamit Ran, Henry Fogel--Piano Concerto with Leonard Slatkin--American music commissions.


Cassette Side j                                                                                                              pp.45-50


Composers relationship vis a vis the orchestra, recording, publishers, education--apathy of public vs. flood of new composers--his one act opera--Terrence McNally--Michael Torke--Deborah Drattell.


[DAT 2]


Cassette Side k                                                                                                            pp.50-72


Title of his opera:  Central Park--other projected works:  guitar concerto, piccolo piece, brass quintet, piece for Chanticleer--risk of becoming a composer--Beaser in the eighties--helping other composers--Beaser’s family--Chorale Variations--William Schuman and his drafting table--comparison with Samuel Barber--influences on a composer--computers and music--orchestration--Jacob Druckman--more on Beaser’s opera--music publishing.