George Crumb


Born: October 24, 1929; Charleston, WV  
George Crumb was one of the most distinctive compositional voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. A charter member of the "New Virtuosity" movement, Crumb developed an expansive musical palette noted for its emphasis on extended instrumental and vocal techniques, its rich and sophisticated musical allusions, an evocative theatricality, and a poet's sense of sonorous detail.

Crumb was born in West Virginia in 1929
Read more into a musical family, and studied at various schools in the Midwest as well as at the Berlin Hochschule as a Fulbright Scholar. He eventually joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he composed and taught for three decades. His highly intuitive approach to composition, with its emphasis on texture, timbre, and line, bore substantial fruit during the 1960s, including the Madrigals (1966-1969), Eleven Echoes of Autumn (1965), and, inspired by the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Night of the Four Moons (1969). Echoes of Time and the River, one of Crumb's rare orchestral works, earned the composer the Pulitzer Prize.

Crumb's style remained remarkably consistent during the subsequent decades. Black Angels (1970) used a dizzying arsenal of extended techniques to evoke a surreal soundscape of the Vietnam War. Star Child (1977) applied Crumb's acute ear for nuance to an impressive vocal/orchestral ensemble. Ancient Voices of Children (1970), with its unimaginable timbral variety and taxingly dramatic vocal lines, became a near-instant classic of the postwar period. It also demonstrated the resonance between his compositional style and the writing style of Garcia Lorca, whose poems would repeatedly serve as the inspiration for and/or words to a number of Crumb's pieces.

Crumb's works became known also for their almost choreographic visual elegance in performance -- and, in fact, numerous dance companies have composed dance pieces to be performed with his work. Crumb's poignant use of musical borrowing and stylistic allusion also add a sense of reflective history and introspection to his compositions. In some cases, this visual approach to design spills over into the very notation: some of the pieces in the two-volume keyboard collection Makrokosmos (1972-1973) appear engraved on staves that turn and twist into a variety of curious Zodiac symbols. Having eschewed process-oriented compositional techniques, his output slowed in later years as greater demands were placed on his creative faculties to find continually new sounds and inspirations -- though by the turn of the century, his historical importance was already firmly established. Read less
Beginnings - Crumb, Kellogg / Eighth Blackbird, Chanticleer
Release Date: 05/25/2004   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 76   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 86 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    I & Silence / Bode, Fontanals-Simmons
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: DCD34229 Release Date: 08/23/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Dominick Argento,  Samuel Barber,  Peter Lieberson  ... 
    Performer:  Marta Fontanals-Simmons,  Lana Bode
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  • 2.
    Crumb: Chamber Music / Zarebinska, Oles-Blacha
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: DUX1510 Release Date: 09/06/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Malgorzata Zarebinska,  Katarzyna Oleś-blacha,  Jan Krzeszowiec,  Marcin Misiak  ... 
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  • 3.
    Le violoncelle au xxe siecle / Bertrand
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 508466 Release Date: 08/19/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henri Dutilleux,  Hans Werner Henze,  George Crumb,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Emmanuelle Bertrand
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  • 4.
    Complete Crumb Edition Vol 11 / Degaetani, Kalish, Mann, Et Al
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9253 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Jan DeGaetani,  Gilbert Kalish,  Alice Rybak,  Susan Grace  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Mann,  Paul Mann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aeolian Chamber Players,  Quattro Mani,  Odense Symphony Orchestra
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  • 5.
    George Crumb Edition Vol 9 / Arnold, Arciuli
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9170 Release Date: 08/30/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  William Hill,  David Starobin,  Mark Foster,  John Kinzie  ... 
    Conductor:  David Colson
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  • 6.
    World Premiere Collection - Corigliano, Cowell, Et Al
    Label: First Edition   Catalog: 32 Release Date: 03/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roy Harris,  John Harbison,  Tobias Picker,  Joan Tower  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  The Louisville Orchestra,  Houston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Notturno: Music of Lights & Shadows / Veit
    Label: Tyxart   Catalog: TXA18112 Release Date: 08/09/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb,  Claude Debussy,  Alexander Scriabin,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Matthias Veit
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  • 8.
    ...Our Passage to the Stars... / Kleiankina
    Label: Blue Griffin   Catalog: 505 Release Date: 07/09/2019  
    Composer:  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Pierre Jalbert,  William Bolcom,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Olga Kleiankina
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  • 9.
    Crumb: Metamorphoses, Book 1 & 5 Pieces for Piano / Tan
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 303 Release Date: 06/15/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Margaret Leng Tan
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  • 10.
    Anthology of American Piano Music, Vol. 2: American Nocturnes / Licad
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 783 Release Date: 11/03/2017   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Crumb,  Amy Marcy Beach,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Louis Moreau Gottschalk  ... 
    Performer:  Cecile Licad
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  • 11.
    Complete Crumb Edition, Vol. 18
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9476 Release Date: 10/27/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Tony Arnold,  Marcantonio Barone,  William Kerrigan,  David Nelson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quattro Mani
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  • 12.
    Dream Images / Ivanov
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 393 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb,  Alexander Scriabin,  Luciano Berio,  Galina Ustvolskaya
    Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov
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  • 13.
    George Crumb: Voice of the Whale
    Label: Mug Shot Productions (Dvd)   Catalog: 7499 Release Date: 06/24/2016  
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Carole Morgan,  Lambert Orkis,  Barbara Haffner
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  • 14.
    Feldman: Palais de Mari - Crumb: Little Suite for Christmas / Osborne
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 68108 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Morton Feldman,  George Crumb
    Performer:  Steven Osborne
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  • 15.
    American Works for Cello and Piano
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10881 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Leonard Bernstein,  Elliott Carter,  George Crumb  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Watkins,  Huw Watkins
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  • 16.
    Masterworks of the 20th Century
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875061902 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez,  Toru Takemitsu,  Igor Stravinsky,  Gunther Schuller  ... 
    Performer:  Yvonne Minton,  Yuji Takahashi,  James Pappoutsakis,  John Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Seiji Ozawa,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Danlee Mitchell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Musique Vivante,  New Philharmonia Strings,  Toronto Symphony  ... 
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  • 17.
    Insomnia / Kai Schumacher
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93334 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  John Cage,  George Crumb,  Brian Belet  ... 
    Performer:  Kai Schumacher
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  • 18.
    George Crumb Edition Vol. 17 - Voices from the Morning of the Earth
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9445 Release Date: 06/02/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Randall Scarlata,  Ann Crumb,  David Colson,  Rachel Rudich  ... 
    Conductor:  James Freeman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra 2001
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  • 19.
    Zoforbit - A Space Odyssey / Zofo Duet [2 CDs & 1 Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 92178 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Urmas Sisask,  George Crumb,  David Lang
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ZOFO Duet
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  • 20.
    Music Of Xenakis, Del Tredici, Stockhausen, Cage And Crumb
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 3265 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Iannis Xenakis,  David Del Tredici,  Karlheinz Stockhausen,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson,  Max Neuhaus,  Jan DeGaetani
    Conductor:  Richard Dufallo,  Richard Wernick
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Festival Chamber Ensemble,  Penn Contemporary Players
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  • 21.
    Crumb: Vox Balanae, Night Of The Four Moons, Makrokosmos Vol 2 / DeGaetani, Miller
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74933 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Lewis Kaplan,  Erich Graf,  Jan DeGaetani,  Paul Tobias  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aeolian Chamber Players
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  • 22.
    Crumb: Makrokosmos Vol 1 & 2 / Jo Boatright
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1044 Release Date: 06/07/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb
    Performer:  Jo Boatright
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  • 23.
    Celebration of the New
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1410 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Fennimore,  Katherine Hoover,  George Crumb,  Lowell Liebermann
    Performer:  Pola Baytelman,  Jan Vinci
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  • 24.
    Images / John Milbauer
    Label: Fleur De Son   Catalog: 58006 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  George Crumb,  John Adams
    Performer:  John Milbauer
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  • 25.
    Earle Brown Contemporary Sound Series, Vol. 6
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 6943 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  John Cage,  Christian Wolff,  George Crumb,  Isang Yun  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Zukofsky,  Gilbert Kalish
    Conductor:  Alcides Lanza
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Sound Composers-Performers Group
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