Paul Creston

Biography

Born: October 10, 1906; New York, NY   Died: August 24, 1985; San Diego, CA  
As a composer, Paul Creston was about as self-made as he could be. Born Giuseppe Guttoveggio in New York City in 1906, Creston chose his professional surname from a high school play he'd been in, adopting "Paul" simply because it appealed to him. The son of poor Italian immigrants -- his father was a housepainter -- Creston was forced to leave high school after two years to work at a variety of jobs. Still, he educated himself in his free hours, Read more practicing on a $10 piano and studying the scores of the masters: Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and, above all, Johann Sebastian Bach. To fuel his nocturnal marathons, Creston bypassed coffee drinking altogether and took to smoking ground coffee beans in his pipe.

Recognition came late to Creston, who devoted his energies to composition only from 1932; but when the accolades and honors did come, they were many and impressive. Early performances of his music by Henry Cowell, a similarly accomplished autodidact, led to a 1938 Guggenheim fellowship. In 1941, Creston's Symphony No. 1 received the annual award from the New York Music Critics' Circle. To his accelerating musical activities Creston added teaching duties, first at Swarthmore, and later at the New York College of Music (1963-1967) and Central Washington State College (1968-1975). His music was championed by a number of important conductors, including Toscanini, Ormandy, and Stokowski, but few were as committed to Creston's music as Howard Mitchell, longtime conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C.

Creston composed in a variety of forms; his catalogue includes six symphonies, 15 concerti (including some for neglected instruments like marimba and saxophone), and miscellaneous orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works. Creston demonstrated a particular affinity for the poetry of Walt Whitman, which inspired five major scores between 1934 and 1972. Though Creston's bold use of counterpoint often results in striking dissonance, he considered serialism a terrible mistake that would eventually be corrected. Accordingly, Creston's music is always distinctly tonal in the modern American idiom and possessed of a strong rhythmic sense. Rhythm is so central to Creston's aesthetic, in fact, that in addition to authoring two texts on rhythmic matters -- Principles of Rhythm (1964) and Rational Metric Notation (1979) -- the composer wrote a ten-volume series of 123 instructional piano works collectively titled Rhythmicon (1977).

From his earliest years as a composer, Creston maintained a post as organist of St. Malachy's Church in New York City (1934-1967). There is a distinct religious sensibility to much of his music that is clearly evident in such works as the Symphony No. 3 ("Three Mysteries"; 1950) and the orchestral meditation Corinthians: XIII, Op. 82 (1963). After retiring from his academic career, Creston moved to San Diego, where he died on August 24, 1985. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 43 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Children's World / Conti
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1642 Release Date: 09/13/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Federico Mompou,  Lalo Schifrin,  Joaquin Turina  ... 
    Performer:  Mirian Conti
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  • 2.
    Paul Creston: Songs
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1504 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston
    Performer:  Rebecca Sherburn,  Patricia Higdon,  Karen Kushner,  Joan Sommers
    Conductor:  Robert Olson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Umkc Conservatory Chamber Orchestra
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  • 3.
    The Argo Years / Marriner, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002081902 Release Date: 06/03/2014   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Giuseppe Torelli,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli  ... 
    Performer:  Gwynne Howell,  Philip Langridge,  Anna Reynolds,  Elly Ameling  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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    CD: $98.99
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  • 4.
    Above and Beyond / Schwarz,
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8573121 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Aaron Copland,  Gerard Schwarz,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  "President's Own" United States Marine Band
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  • 5.
    La Creation du Monde / Delangle, Lindberg
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1640 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Roger Boutry,  Paul Creston,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    Performer:  Claude Delangle
    Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Wind Ensemble
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    CD: $21.49
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  • 6.
    Decreasing Radius / Stout, Dahl
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1338 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Sigismund Stojowski,  Roger Boutry,  Elizabeth Raum  ... 
    Performer:  Rick Stout,  Christina Dahl
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  • 7.
    Copland: Appalachian Spring, Symphonic Ode; Creston: Symphony No 3 / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8571203 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Aaron Copland
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 111 Release Date: 03/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Herbert Haufrecht,  Wells Hively,  Pedro Sanjuán
    Conductor:  Alfredo Antonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Celebration / Lowell Graham, U.S. Air Force Band
    Label: Klavier Records   Catalog: 11176 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  William Schuman,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Russell Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Lowell Graham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Band
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  • 10.
    Best Encores 100
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 64752 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Alexander Goedicke,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Teodor Grigoriu,  Ernesto De Curtis  ... 
    Performer:  Ole Edvard Antonsen,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Placido Domingo,  Cheryl Studer  ... 
    Conductor:  John Barker,  Asher Fisch,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Franz Welser-Möst  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Theater Opera Orchestra of Paris  ... 
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  • 11.
    2009 Midwest Clinic: Neuqua Valley High School Wind Ensemble
    Label: Mark Records   Catalog: 8544 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gene Milford,  Randall Standridge,  Donald Grantham,  Paul Creston  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles W. Staley Jr.
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Neuqua Valley High School Wind Ensemble
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  • 12.
    Great American Composers - Copland, Harris, Hovhaness, Hanson, Diamond, Creston, Piston
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 6012 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Roy Harris,  Walter Piston,  Paul Creston,  David Diamond  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  James Earl Jones
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  New York Chamber Symphony
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    CD: $58.99
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  • 13.
    Last Night Of The Proms - The 100th Season
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4388 Release Date: 08/26/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Minoru Miki,  Paul Creston,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Evelyn Glennie,  Bryn Terfel
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Barber, Ives, Copland, Creston, Cowell  / Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000894402 Release Date: 06/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Cowell,  Aaron Copland,  Charles Ives,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Celia Nicklin,  Michael Laird
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 15.
    American Voyage - Creston, Sessler, Locklair / Alan Morrison
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20094 Release Date: 02/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Daniel Crozier,  Harold Stover,  Larry King  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Morrison
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  • 16.
    American Classics - American Saxophone Music
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559241 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Hovhaness,  Walter Hartley,  Rudy Wiedoeft,  Robert Muczynski  ... 
    Performer:  Neil Hornsby,  Alex Mitchell,  Jeremy Limb
    CD: $13.99
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  • 17.
    Creston: Symphony No 4, Etc / Miller, Albany So
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 737 Release Date: 02/22/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston
    Performer:  Gregory Fulkerson
    Conductor:  David Alan Miller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    All-american - Gershwin, Loeffler, Et Al / Toscanini, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2256/57 Release Date: 08/31/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Martin Loeffler,  Paul Creston,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Earl Wild,  Benny Goodman,  Oscar Levant
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 19.
    American Classics - Paul Creston: Symphony No 5, Etc
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559153 Release Date: 09/23/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston
    Performer:  Scott Goff,  Ikka Talvi
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Great American Composers Collection - Hanson, Et Al/ Schwarz
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3708 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Walter Piston,  Howard Hanson,  David Diamond
    Performer:  Carol Rosenberger,  Randall Ellis,  Susan Jolles,  Judith Mendenhall
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Chamber Symphony
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  • 21.
    Lees, Shawn: Piano Concertos;  Et Al / Hobson, Oppens, Et Al
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 441 Release Date: 05/29/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston,  Benjamin Lees,  Allen Shawn,  Andrew Bishop
    Performer:  Ian Hobson,  Ursula Oppens
    Conductor:  David Alan Miller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Piano Music Of Copland, Creston, Zuckerman / Peter Vinograde
    Label: Phoenix Usa   Catalog: 149 Release Date: 05/29/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mark Zuckerman,  Aaron Copland,  Paul Creston
    Performer:  Peter Vinograde
    CD: $15.99
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  • 23.
    Copland: Four Unpublished Cello Pieces / Terry King
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1076 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nicholas Slonimsky,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  George Gershwin,  Otto Luening  ... 
    Performer:  Terry King,  John Jensen,  Shizue Sano
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Dello Joio: Variations;  Creston, Bloch / David Amos, Et Al
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2356 Release Date: 08/12/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernest Bloch,  Paul Creston,  Norman Dello Joio
    Conductor:  David Amos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    American Classics - Creston: Symphonies No 1-3 / Kuchar
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559034 Release Date: 04/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Creston
    Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
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