The University Record, September 10, 1997

Bolcom composes special 'Fanfare for a New President'

Bolcom was the 1997 Russel Lecturer. Photo by Bob Kalmbach


By Mary Jo Frank
University Relations

"It's short and punchy, and I hope it's fun," says composer William E. Bolcom of his new work, "Fanfare for a New President," which will premiere at the inauguration ceremony.

Bolcom, the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Music, says, "It's light and bright and very short. I took notes made from President Bollinger's name. You also might recognize a little Michigan tune being used in the counterpoint."

The fanfare will be played by the 75-member University Symphony Band under the direction of Kevin L. Sedatole, the Donald R. Shepherd Professor of Conducting and the band's associate director.

Symphony Band Director H. Robert Reynolds says that although fanfares often are written only for brass instruments, the Bolcom fanfare, which is a little more than one minute long, is for the entire band.

Reynolds, who will be out of the country on inauguration day, says, "We've started practicing, and we're looking forward to playing it. It is a very nice fanfare, not pretentious, but festive."

Inauguration Planning Committee Chair Walter Harrison says starting the ceremony with the new musical composition "reflects the committee's desire to plan a memorable occasion that mirrors the academic and cultural vitality of the University and President Bollinger's love of music and the arts."

A major figure in American musical life, Bolcom draws inspiration from American's rich musical heritage to inform his own compositions. His wide-ranging contributions to America's repertoire include the Pulitzer Prize-winning "12 New Etudes for Piano," "Songs of Innocence" and the popular "Graceful Ghost" rag.

Bolcom is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was this year's recipient of the Henry Russel Award, which recognizes distinguished achievement in research and teaching and is the highest honor the University confers on a faculty member.