Named 2007 Composer of the Year
by Musical America and honored with multiple Grammy Awards for his ground-breaking setting of Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience
, William Bolcom is a composer of cabaret songs, concertos, sonatas, operas, symphonies, and much more. He was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his 12 New Etudes
With his wife mezzo-soprano Joan Morris, he has performed in concert for 35 years throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. In addition to performing together, Bolcom and Morris have recorded two dozen albums together. Their first one, After the Ball, garnered a Grammy nomination for Joan Morris. Their most recent recordings are two albums of songs by lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg and Gus Kahn on Original Cast Records and Bolcom's complete Cabaret Songs, written with lyricist Arnold Weinstein, on Centaur.
Recent premieres include: Canciones de Lorca with tenor Placido Domingo, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carl St. Clair at the gala opening concert of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Orange Country Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, CA (September 2006); Eighth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival chorus conducted by James Levine [February 2008]; Lucrezia, a one-act opera for 5 singers and 2 pianists [March 2008]; and First Symphony for Band with the University of Michigan Symphony Band conducted by Michael Haithcock [February 2009].
In the spring of 2007 Bolcom was feted in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, with a two and a half-week festival of his music, including master classes, recitals and concerts of his vocal, organ and chamber music. Titled Illuminating Bolcom, the festival was highlighted by two performances of Songs of Innocence and of Experience accompanied by animated projections of Blake's illuminations. The animations were commissioned by VocalEssence and created by projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, who designed the projections for Bolcom's opera, A View from the Bridge.
In November 2007 his opera A View from the Bridge was produced by the Washington National Opera in Washington, DC. Future performances of View will be presented in Brooklyn, NY, University of Texas at Austin, and the Los Angeles Opera.Â In February 2008 his Eighth Symphony was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in three performances.
Bolcom taught composition at the University of Michigan from 1973-2008. In the fall of 1994 the University of Michigan named him the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition.