January 13, 1943 - September 13, 2012
William Duckworth is a composer of over 100 works. His Time Curve Preludes for piano and Southern Harmony for a cappella chorus define the postminimalist style, of which he is the founder. Since the 1979 premiere, his preludes have been performed on five continents, most recently at the Festival of Havana by Italian pianist Oscar Pizzo. The Village Voice said Duckworth's preludes are "likely to be one of the 20th century piano cycles most often performed in the 21st." Musical America called them "a work of captivating beauty", and described listening to them as "hearing a kaleidoscope." His music is published by C.F. Peters and Monroe Street Music.Duckworth's music is regularly performed around the world. His first appearance in Europe was at the 1984 Pro Musica Nova festival in Bremen, Germany. More recently, he has been a member of the composition forum at Darmstadt, has given master classes in Rome, and was a featured composer at the 1995 Ferrara Festival. He has also recorded with the Electric Phoenix in London, and supervised the bi-continental premiere of his Gathering Together/ Revolution for mallet percussion, keyboards, and drums: a two-part work written in the summer of 1992 and the winter of 1993 for Rome's Ars Ludi and New York's Essential Music, respectively. The Village Voice called the result "a compositional landmark: the first chance-determined postminimal moment form."Duckworth's most recent work is Cathedral, a piece for the web that went on line June 10th, 1997, and is slowly growing toward the year 2001. Incorporating live performances, interactive electronics,and images, Cathedral, will culminate in a live and on-line interactive concert instillation in homes, cathedrals, and concert spaces around the world. Duckworth is also completing the first CD recording of music for Cathedral, titled Whistlin' Joe.As a performer, Duckworth participated in the 1992 CAGEMUSICCIRCUS!, a John Cage memorial concert at New York's Symphony Space, playing Cage's Speech on a short-wave radio, while Laurie Anderson read from the daily papers. He also closed the 18-hour marathon performance of Satie's Vexations, presented by New York's new music space Roulette in 1993 to honor the 100-year anniversary of the work. In its review, The New York Times said Duckworth "played with uncanny steadiness and stillness."Born in North Carolina in 1943, Duckworth was educated at East Carolina University and the University of Illinois, where he studied composition with Ben Johnston. He is a past recipient of the Walter Hinrichsen Award, endowed by C.F. Peters Corp., and has held both an NEA Composer Fellowship and an NEA Collaborative Fellowship. The last was to compose Simple Songs About Sex and War with Hayden Carruth, winner of the 1997 National Book Award in poetry.Duckworth currently holds a position at Bucknell University, teaching computer music composition, and a class on jazz, rock, and the avant garde. A 1992 Rolling Stone profile called him a "hip, bright, innovative" teacher who "opens up worlds" students never knew existed.
Kyle Gann's blog, September 13, 2012
William Duckworth's Web Site