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Haskins Lecturers


Milton Babbitt

1991 Haskins Lecturer

William Shubael Conant Professor Emeritus of Music, Princeton University

The lecture was delivered on April 25 during the 1991 ACLS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

From the lecture program:
Milton Babbitt was born in 1916 in Philadelphia. He was educated in the public schools of Jackson, Mississippi, and at New York and Princeton Universities. His primary teacher of musical composition was Roger Sessions, with whom he studied privately for three years. At present, he is William Shubael Conant Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, where his teaching career began in 1938, including three years as a member of the Mathematics faculty, from 1942-45. He also is on the Composition Faculty of The Juilliard School, and was Fromm Foundation Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 1988.

A co-founder and member of the Committee of Direction, Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, since 1959, Professor Babbitt has been a Visiting Professor at the Rubin Academy at Jerusalem, the University of Wisconsin and Composer-in-Residence at New York University. He has taught, conducted seminars, and lectured at various universities and schools of music in this country and in Austria, Australia, Canada, England, Germany (Darmstadt) and Mexico. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His honors include: two New York Music Critics Circle Citations (1949, 1964); National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1959); Brandeis University Gold Medal (1970); National Music Award (1976); Pulitzer Prize Special Citation (1982); George Peabody Medal (1983); MacArthur Fellow (1986-91); The Gold Medal in Music of the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters; The Music Award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters; Guggenheim Fellow He has received honorary degrees from Middlebury College, New York University, Swarthmore College, New England Conservatory, University of Glasgow, and Northwestern University.

Professor Babbitt's articles have appeared in such periodicals as Perspectives of New Music, Journal of Music Theory, Musical Quarterly, and The Score, and in anthologies, including Perspectives on Contemporary Music Theory, Perspectives on Schoenberg and Stravinsky, Perspectives in Musicology, Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, The Orchestral Composer's Point of View, Twentieth Century Views of Music History, Esthetics Contemporary, and Words About Music (ed. by Dembski and Straus). His most recent compositions include: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra; Transfigured Notes (for the Philadelphia Orchestra), The Joy of More Sextets (for violin and piano), Whirled Series (for saxophone and piano), Consortini (for five players). The most recent recordings of his music are of Paraphrases (by Parnassus, on CRI), Composition for Guitar (by David Starobin, on Bridge), piano music (by Robert Taub, on Harmonia Mundi), Piano Concerto and The Head of the Bed on New World Records, Groupwise: An Elizabethan Sextette, and Time Series on CRI, Sextets and The Joy of More Sextets on New World Records, and the Widow's Lament on Nonesuch.


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