Robert Erickson

Biography

Born: March 17, 1917; Marquette, MI   Died: April 24, 1997; San Diego, CA  
American maverick and Modernist Robert Erickson was among the first U.S. composers to write in the 12-tone system and to experiment with tape manipulation. As a teacher at a number of universities and co-founder of the UCSD Music Dept. in the mid-'60s, he influenced countless musicians and composers including Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, and Paul Dresher. He also wrote two books: The Structure of Music: A Listener's Guide (he Read more claimed that writing this 1950s book helped him overcome a "contrapuntal obsession") and Sound Structures in Music (1975).

Born in Marquette, MI, Erickson played music from a young age and later studied under Ernst Krenek. After receiving his master's degree, he began his long and successful teaching career at a number of institutions. He went on to co-found the UCSD Music Dept. and help start the San Francisco Tape Music Center. As a composer, Erickson wrote for a variety of lineups including string quartet, orchestra, chorus, and voice, tape, and solo instruments. He was commissioned by a number of cities, by the NEA (1976), by Kronos Quartet, SONOR, and other ensembles. During his career, Erickson was the recipient of many honors and awards including Yaddo Fellowships in the '50s and '60s, the Guggenheim Fellowship (1966), and the 1985 Friedham Award for Chamber Music for his string quartet "Solstice."

In addition to sometimes working with tape, Erickson also wrote pieces that incorporated another unusual element: resonating metal rods, which can be heard in "Taffy Time" (1983) and a few other works. His final work was "Music for Trumpet, Strings, and Tympani" (1990). Sadly, Erickson spent his last 15 years bedridden with polymyositis. He is the subject of two biographies and a retrospective disc by CRI. Read less
Browse 1-15 of 15 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Darmstadt Aural Documents, Box 3: Ensembles
    Label: Neos   Catalog: 11230 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Hanns Jelinek,  Herbert Brun,  Franco Evangelisti,  Iannis Xenakis  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Heaton,  Fernando Grillo,  Akemi Karaki,  Martine Joste  ... 
    Conductor:  Bruno Maderna,  Pierre Boulez,  Gregg Smith,  Robert HP Platz  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Végh String Quartet,  LaSalle String Quartet,  Parrenin String Quartet  ... 
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  • 2.
    Agitato: Trumpets Works from Vivaldi to Dubrovay / Palfalvi
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300682 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Robert Erickson,  George Frideric Handel,  György Ligeti  ... 
    Performer:  Tamas Palfalvi
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  • 3.
    Plot: Music for Unspecified Instrumentation
    Label: Ravello   Catalog: 7916 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Stuart Saunders Smith,  Robert Erickson,  Johanna Beyer,  James Tenney  ... 
    Performer:  Corey Merenda,  Chris Herman,  Stuart Saunders Smith,  Eunmi Ko  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert McCormick
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  McCormick Percussion Ensemble
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  • 4.
    Robert Erickson: Complete String Quartets / Del Sol Quartet
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80753 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Del Sol String Quartet
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  • 5.
    Psst... Psst! / Beta Collide
    Label: Innova   Catalog: 775 Release Date: 08/31/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederic Rzewski,  Valentin Silvestrov,  Robert Kyr,  Stephen Vitiello  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Beta Collide
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  • 6.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 325 Release Date: 02/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson,  John Ferrito,  J. K. Randall,  Jean Eichelberger Ivey
    Performer:  Allen Blustine,  Neva Pilgrim,  Ursula Oppens,  Bethany Beardslee  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Gaburo,  David Gilbert,  Andrew Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NMCE I,  Notes From Underground
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  • 7.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 218 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Crumb,  Robert Erickson
    Performer:  Louise Toth,  Paul Parmelee,  David Burge,  Thomas MacCluskey
    Conductor:  Ralph Shapey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hartt Chamber Players
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  • 8.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 494 Release Date: 01/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Performer:  David Burkhart,  Carol Plantamura
    Conductor:  Robert Hughes,  Gregory Barber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arch Ensemble
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  • 9.
    Erickson: Auroras, Night Music, East Of The Beach / Boston Modern Orchestra Project
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80682 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Conductor:  Gil Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Modern Orchestra Project
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  • 10.
    American Classics - A Continuum Portrait Vol 9 - Erickson
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559283 Release Date: 05/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Performer:  Joel Sachs,  Cheryl Seltzer,  Mia Wu,  Ellen Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Joel Sachs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Continuum
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  • 11.
    Erickson: Pacific Sirens, Etc / Edwin London, Cleveland Cso
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80603 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Performer:  Keith Humble,  Laura Martin
    Conductor:  Edwin London
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Chamber Symphony,  U. of Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players memb.
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  • 12.
    American Chamber Music From The Sixties - Rhodes, Et Al
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80563 Release Date: 06/22/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harvey Sollberger,  Edwin Dugger,  Peter Westergaard,  Robert Erickson  ... 
    Performer:  Sophie Sollberger,  Harvey Sollberger,  Thomas Nyfenger,  David Gilbert  ... 
    Conductor:  David Epstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia University Group for Contemporary Music
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  • 13.
    New Music For Virtuosos - Erickson, Sollberger, Imbrie, Etc
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80541 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leslie Bassett,  William O. Smith,  Robert Erickson,  Andrew Imbrie  ... 
    Performer:  Donald Sinta,  Ellen Weckler,  William O. Smith,  Stuart Dempster  ... 
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  • 14.
    Robert Erickson: Kryl, Ricercar, Postcards, Dunbars Delight
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 616 Release Date: 04/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson
    Performer:  Edwin Harkins,  Bertram Turetzky,  Jürgen Hübscher,  Carol Plantamura  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Nee
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  SONOR Ensemble
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  • 15.
    20th Century Settings For Trumpet / Plog, Sanders
    Label: Crystal   Catalog: 663 Release Date: 12/29/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Erickson,  Fisher Tull,  Halsey Stevens,  Anthony Plog  ... 
    Performer:  Anthony Plog,  Sharon Davis,  Hal Smith,  Robert Karon  ... 
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