Mary J. Van Appledorn


Born: October 2, 1927; Holland, Michigan  
This widely-respected educator and stylistically diverse composer was born October 2, 1927 in Holland, Michigan. She graduated (as valedictorian) in 1945 from Topeka High School, Topeka, Kansas. She received her Bachelor of Music (with Distinction) in Piano at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, in 1948, and was awarded George Eastman Honorary Scholarships each year; her Master's degree in Music Theory followed in 1950, and she Read more received teaching fellowships between 1948-50. She received her Phd. in Music from Eastman in 1966. Her primary teachers at Eastman were Bernard Rogers and Alan Hovhaness. She is presently on the music faculty at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where she has taught since 1950. Her earliest listed composition dates from 1947, her Contrasts for piano, a group of three homages in the styles of Bartok, Bloch, and William Schuman. The work received the Mu Phi Epsilon National Composition Contest. In 1948 she wrote Cellano Rhapsody for cello and piano, which was recorded by CRS Inc. Her Two Shakespeare Songs for choir and piano (1953) received two awrds: one from the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest in 1979, and from the Southcoast Choral Society of California in 1985. Her Set of Five for piano received a Mu Phi Epsilon award and was recorded by Opus One Records (#52) featuring the composer as pianist.
Her Concerto Brevis for piano and orchestra followed the next year, and her Patterns for French Horn Quintet was written in 1956; this surprising work was released on a recent Opus One CD (#162). Her Concerto for Trumpet and Band (1960) was premiered in the USSR in 1986, and in Budapest, Hungary in 1987; it has been recorded on an Opus One LP (#110) by Robert M. Birch and the Texas Tech University Symphonic Band.
Her Passacaglia and Chorale for orchestra was composed in 1973 and was a finalist in the NSOA/Scherle & Roth Orchestra Composition Contest in 1979; it is available on the same Opus One LP (#110). The year 1976 saw two important works: the West Texas Suite for Chorus, symphonic band and percussion ensemble (commissioned by the Lubbock Independent School District for the Lubbock Bicentennial Choral Concert in that year; and her award-winning Suite for Carillon which received the Premier Prix at Dijon, France in 1980.)
The large-scale cantata Rising Night After Night for choirs, three soloists, narrator and orchestra was composed in 1978 and premiered the following year at Texas Tech University. It has been recorded in the Vienna Modern Masters Series (#3004) by the Slovak Radio Orchestra of Bratislava, conducted by Oliver Dohnanyi.
Her Matrices for saxophone and piano (1979) received the Texas composers Guild Award for 1980, and was recorded on Golden Crest Records by Dale Underwood and the composer. Her 1980 Symphony for Wind Ensemble, percussion and toys was commissioned by the Women Band Directors National Association and recorded by Golden Crest Records. It received the Virginia College Band Directors National Association Award. The same year saw her Azaleas for baritone solo, flute and piano, which received the Petit Jean International Art Song Festival Award in 1984.
Her Lux; Legend of Sankta Lucia for symphonic band, harp, percussion ensemble and handbells was commissioned by National Intercollegiate Bands in 1981 and it received the Virginia College Band Directors Award in 1982. One of her most unusual works, Liquid Gold for saxophone and piano was composed in that year, and received its premier at the 1982 World Saxophone Congress, nurembert GFR. It received the American Society of University Composers Award in 1982 and Premio Ancona (Italia) Award in 1986. It has been recorded on an Opus One CD (#147). Her A Celestial Clockwork for carillon followed in 1983, and in the next year A Liszt Fantasie for piano which received awards from Bradley University and Composers and Songwriters International Composition Contest. It has been recorded by Max Lifchitz on a North/South Consonance CD. Her Four Duos for viola and cello (1986) won First Prize fro the Texas Composers Guild in 1987. Her 1987 work for harp, Sonic Mutation was premiered in New York in that year and was recorded by the Contemporary Record Society, and her Missa Brevis for voice, trumpet, and organ (also brass Quintet) was premiered in the USSR. The following year saw a variety of new pieces, the Caprice for carillon which was premiered at the Riverside Church in New York City by james Lawson. Her Sonatine for clarinet and piano premiered at Carnegie Hall, New York City; a ballet, Set of Seven was premiered by New York City Ballet Company at Lincoln Center. A work for mixed chorus and organ, Love Divine, All Love Excelling and five short pieces for unaccompanied trumpet, Cornucopia rounded out the year.
The year 1992 saw two dramatic works: her Incantations for trumpet and piano was commissioned by North Dakota State University and premiered there and leter recorded on an Opus One CD (#162); and the excellent Terrestrial Music. A double concerto for violin solko, piano solo and string orchestra received its premier in Nagano, Japan and a later performance at the Columbia University Miller Theatre in New York.
The 1993 Atmospheres for trombone ensemble was recorded by Opus One (#169); also that year her Postcards to John for guitar was composed and the next year received the Guitar Foundation of America Award. The year 1994 also saw the genesis of her Rhapsody for trumpet and harp, also recorded on Opus One (#169); Les Hommes Vides (from T.S.Eliot's The Hollow Men) for unaccompanied chorus; Sound the Trumpet for trumpet and organ, and the very colorful and brilliant Reeds Afire for clarinet and piano.
Her 1995 Cycles of Moons and Tides for symphonic band was commissioned for the 50th Anniversary of Tau Beta Sigma and received a lively recording on Opus One (#170); in the same year came an organ work Variations on Jerusalem the Golden, the very intelligent Trio Italiano for trumpet, horn and bass trombone; and a setting of a Kay Scully poem, Legacy, for bass baritone and piano. The Trio Italiano received the International Trumpet Guild Award for 1996 in Long Beach, California; and a new work, Passages for trombone and piano received its world premier at the International Trombone Festival in Feldkirch, Austria. Read less

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