Bios of various wordiness

Long bio David Rakowski was born and raised in St. Albans, Vermont, where he played trombone in high school and community bands, and keyboard in a mediocre rock band called The Silver Finger. Early musical challenges included taking pop songs off the radio for his band to play. He was his high school class's valedictorian and its Best Thespian.

He received his musical training at New England Conservatory, Princeton, and Tanglewood, where he studied with Robert Ceely, John Heiss, Milton Babbitt, Paul Lansky, Peter Westergaard, and Luciano Berio. He spent the four years after graduate school not writing his dissertation, holding down dismal part-time word processing jobs and helping to run the Griffin Music Ensemble in Boston. At the end of those four years, he took a running leap into academia with a one-year appointment at Stanford University. Seven years later, he finished his dissertation.

Rakowski's most widely-performed music is his collection of one hundred highly varied and high-energy piano études; these pieces approach the idea of etude from many different angles, be they technical, conceptual, compositional, or stylistic; many of them may be viewed on YouTube. He is now at work on a set of piano préludes and has finished seventy of a projected one hundred. He has also written six symphonies, nine concertos, three large wind ensemble pieces, a sizable collection of chamber and vocal music, as well as incidental music and music for children.

Rakowski's awards include the Rome Prize, the Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2006 Barlow Prize, and the 2004-6 Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tanglewood Music Center, BMI, Columbia University, the Orleans International Piano Competition (the Chevillion-Bonnaud composition prize), the International Horn Society, and various artist colonies. He is the only composer ever to be commissioned both by Speculum Musicæ and the "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band. He has also been commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Sequitur, Network for New Music, Koussevitzky Music Foundation (with Ensemble 21 in 1996 and with Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2006), the Boston Chamber Music Society, Collage New Music, the Kaufman Center/Merkin Hall, Boston Musica Viva, the Fromm Foundation (twice), Dinosaur Annex, Network for New Music, Triple Helix, and others. In 1999 his Persistent Memory, commissioned by Orpheus, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music, and in 2002 his Ten of a Kind, commissioned by "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He has been composer-in-residence at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, Guest Composer at the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Karel Husa Distinguished Professor of Music at the Ithaca College School of Music, the Maurice Abravanel Visiting Composer at the University of Utah (twice), and a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts; since 2011, he is composer-in-residence with the New England Philharmonic Orchestra. His music is published by C.F. Peters, is recorded on New World/CRI, Innova, Americus, Albany, Ravello, New Focus, ECM, Blue Griffin, Centaur, Capstone, BMOP/sound and Bridge, and has been performed worldwide. His second CD of orchestral music, "Stolen Moments", was recently released on BMOP/sound, and a fourth volume of piano études performed by Amy Briggs will released on Bridge Records in December, 2016. He also contributed a solo piano arrangement of "The Ladies Who Lunch" to the album Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano performed by Anthony de Mare on ECM Recordings. In 2016, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

After his year at Stanford, he taught at Columbia University for six years, and then skipped town, while laughing maniacally, to join the faculty of Brandeis University, where he is now the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition. While at Brandeis, he has also taken part-time appointments teaching at Harvard University (twice) and New England Conservatory (also twice). Now a distinguished ex-trombonist, he lives in Boston exurbia and in Maine with his wife Beth Wiemann and exactly two cats named Sunset and Camden.

Shorter bio David Rakowski grew up in St.Albans, Vermont and studied at New England Conservatory, Princeton, and Tanglewood, where his teachers were Robert Ceely, John Heiss, Milton Babbitt, Paul Lansky, and Luciano Berio. He has received a large number of awards and fellowships, including the Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Rome Prize, and he has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music (for pieces commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the US Marine Band). He has composed nine concertos, six symphonies, 100 piano études, 70 piano préludes, eight song cycles, and a large amount of wind ensemble music, chamber music, and vocal music for various combinations, as well as music for children. His music has been commissioned, recorded, and performed widely and is published by C.F. Peters. He is the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition at Brandeis University, having also taught at New England Conservatory, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford. In 2016, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Eentsy weentsy bio David Rakowski, composer, lives in Massachusetts with his wife Beth. They own two red canoes.

Eentsy weentsy beentsy bio David Rakowski writes music that could have sucked more.

Oddly overlong bio David Rakowski was born and raised in St. Albans, Vermont, where he played trombone in high school and community bands, and keyboard in a mediocre rock band called The Silver Finger. Early musical challenges included taking pop songs off the radio for the band to play. He was his high school class's valedictorian and its Best Thespian. His first composition was written for his high school band, who premiered it in June, 1975, conducted by the composer. That piece stole all the best licks he admired from pieces he played in at the Vermont All-State and All-New England Music Festivals, but also had two twelve-note chords.

Rakowski received his musical training at New England Conservatory, where he studied with Robert Ceely and John Heiss; at Princeton, where he studied with Milton Babbitt, Paul Lansky and Peter Westergaard; and at Tanglewood, in 1982, where he studied with Luciano Berio. At graduation, New England Conservatory awarded him its George Whitefield Chadwick Medal. After graduate school, he spent four years holding down dismal part-time word processing jobs and helping to run the Griffin Music Ensemble in Boston along with Ross Bauer, Beth Wiemann, and Allen Anderson. After those four years (in 1988), Stanford offered him a one-year Lecturer position when Ross Bauer left for UC Davis.

That same year, he tossed off a virtuosic little piano piece called E-Machines, which turned into the first of a set of one hundred piano études that were written over the next twenty-two years. For étude writing, he set strict rules: an étude could have no a priori structure; it must be written in six days or less; and no revising was allowed, only starting over. The études covered the familiar étude territory, but evolved also to cover style, multiple keyboards, talking, and extremely limited harmonic, motivic, or compositional elements. Originally written as respites from larger pieces, they evolved into a thing of their own as pianists — such as Geoffrey Burleson, Marilyn Nonken, Teresa McCollough, Steven Weigt, and Amy Briggs — began picking them up and requesting their own, or suggesting premises for études; Rakowski also frequently turned to his friend Rick Moody for étude ideas. The collection is highly varied and high energy, and the pieces have been picked up by many pianists; they are regularly performed worldwide. The études are Rakowski's most well-known and most highly regarded music, and three dissertations have been written about them. Amy Briggs has recorded ninety-two of them in four volumes on Bridge Records, and they may be heard or watched on YouTube, Spotify, Tidal, and iTunes, among other places, or on ziomusic.net. The collection was finished in June, 2010, and in September of that year, Rakowski began a set of one hundred piano préludes, of which sixty-six have been written. The études and préludes are published by C.F. Peters in books of ten.


In addition to piano miniatures, Rakowski has also written other piano music, six symphonies, three large wind ensemble pieces, nine concertos, a great deal of vocal music and chamber music, incidental music, and music for children. His Persistent Memory was commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 1996, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1999; his second symphony, Ten of a Kind, for ten clarinets and wind ensemble, was commissioned in 2000 by "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

Rakowski received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1989, the Rome Prize in 1995, the Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000, the Barlow Prize in 2006, and the 2004-6 Elise L. Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; he also was awarded Brandeis's highest teaching award in 2009 (The Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer '69 Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring). He also has received awards and fellowships from the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Tanglewood Music Center, BMI (BMI Awards to Student Composers), Columbia University (Bearns Prize), the Orleans International Piano Competition (the Chevillion-Bonnaud composition prize), the International Horn Society, and various artist residencies (about three dozen residencies). He is the only composer ever to be commissioned both by Speculum Musicæ and the "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band. He has also been commissioned by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Sequitur, Network for New Music (twice), Boston Chamber Music Society, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation (with Ensemble 21 in 1996 and with Boston Modern Orchestra Project in 2006), Collage New Music, the Kaufman Center/Merkin Hall, the Jebediah Foundation (with Boston Modern Orchestra Project), Boston Musica Viva (three times), the Fromm Music Foundation (twice), Dinosaur Annex, Triple Helix, the New England Philharmonic, and others.

He has been composer-in-residence at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival (1999), Guest Composer at the Wellesley Composers Conference (1999), the Karel Husa Distinguished Professor of Music at the Ithaca College School of Music (2012), the Maurice Abravanel Visiting Composer at the University of Utah (2010 and 2017), and a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (in 2004); other summer festivals at which he taught composition are Etchings (2009), New Music on the Point (2011), Fresh Inc. (2012) and Cortona Sessions (2016). He is, for the fourth time, retired from summer teaching, and this time he really means it.

Since 2011, Rakowski has been composer-in-residence with the New England Philharmonic Orchestra, which has so far commissioned three symphonies and a violin concerto from him. His music is published by C.F. Peters. Bridge Records has issued four volumes of his piano études performed by Amy Briggs, and BMOP/sound has issued two volumes of his orchestral music, including both of his piano concertos. His music is also recorded on New World/CRI, Innova, Americus, Albany, Ravello, New Focus, ECM, Blue Griffin, Centaur, and Capstone. That second CD of orchestral music, "Stolen Moments", was recently released on BMOP/sound, and the fourth volume of piano études performed by Amy Briggs will be released on Bridge Records in December, 2016. He also contributed a solo piano arrangement of "The Ladies Who Lunch" to the album Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano performed by Anthony de Mare and recently released on ECM Recordings.

In 2016, Rakowski was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

After his year at Stanford, Rakowski taught at Columbia University for six years, and then sneaked out of town in the dead of night to join the faculty of Brandeis University. In 2005, Brandeis awarded him the Walter W. Naumburg Chair. While at Brandeis, he has also taken part-time appointments teaching at Harvard University (twice) and New England Conservatory (also twice).

Rakowski is married to composer and clarinetist Beth Wiemann, who teaches at the University of Maine in Orono (they have not taught in states that share a border since 1994). As such, they own houses in Maine and Massachusetts, and Beth drives between Maine and Massachusetts frequently during the school year. Their two cats, Sunset and Camden, clearly prefer the house in Massachusetts, where they can sit under a gazebo.

Rakowski's friends, colleagues, and students call him Davy.