December 29, 2003 by

Meyer Kupferman

2 comments

Categories: Musicians

Meyer Kupferman, a prolific composer, educator and clarinetist, died on Nov. 26 from a heart attack. He was 77.
Although he picked up the violin as a child, Kupferman switched to the clarinet when he was 10 years old. As a teenager, he taught himself the piano, studied at the High School of Music and Art in Queens, N.Y., and launched a career performing in jazz clubs as a clarinetist.
Kupferman wrote his first piano concerto and opera at 22, and followed them up with six more operas, 12 symphonies, nine ballets, nine concertos and more than 200 chamber and solo works. These compositions were recorded on 40 albums and performed by musicians worldwide.
From 1951 to 1993, Kupferman taught composition and music theory at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where he also served as chair of the music department for five terms and conducted the school’s orchestra.
In 1982, he was commissioned by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic to write a piece of music to celebrate the centennial of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birth. The musical score, “Symphony No. 10: FDR,” currently resides in the Roosevelt Library.

2 Responses to Meyer Kupferman

  1. lynn Small

    I just heard of the passing of Meyer. He was a very important teacher and encouragement to my husband, Michael Small, who became a film composer after studying with Meyer. Michael died on Novemeber 23, 2003. What a coincidence that these dates are within three days of each other.
    My belated condolences to his family.
    Lynn Small

  2. Armando Cáceda

    Armando Cáceda(ACO)
    Hoy, navegando por internet, me enteré que el músico Meyer Kupferman murió hace cerca de cinco años. Enseguida releí una nota periodística que títulé, “La OBC [Orquesta de Baja California, Tijuana, México] adopta un sonido llamado Meyer Kupferman”, del 27 de febrero de 1996. Aquí integré fragmentos de mis entrevistas a Kupferman y al director de la OBC, en aquel entonces, Eduardo García Barrios, junto a mis impresiones personales.
    Él reconoció que en su pentagrama sus anotaciones se caracterizan por “cambios constantes y contrastantes, del blanco al negro, expresando tras la gravedad y seriedad, humor. La mayoría de los compositores no aproxima tanto estos estados de ánimo. Bueno, yo sí lo hago”.
    Así lo percibí al oír algunos de sus ensayos con la OBC, su concierto en Ensenada y parte de sus tres días de grabación de su Sinfonía para 12, Rito de Masada y otras piezas para clarinete y guitarra.
    Aquí destaca un modelo de estructura musical que trueca, apoyándose y saltando, ora en las cuerdas, inesperadamente en los alientos o las cuerdas percutidas del piano.
    Un inquieto y movedizo collage de timbres, de acordes, de ideas musicales con una “poderosa intensidad, como la danza de la vida, la danza de las emociones”.
    Un reto no sólo para los oyentes sino sobre todo para los ejecutantes.
    Por supuesto que escuché también Moon Finger’s Demond y Acrobats of Apollo. “Diseños líricos y sonoridades agitadas o explosivas”, de “movimientos contínuos”, donde “existe una extraña e íntima historia, de esas que los verdaderos artistas evidentemente dan a conocer de alguna forma”.
    (ACO, 20 Julio, 2008)

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