36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

012: Columbia University & composition


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

After Vienna
Two Years Later

012 — Columbia University & composition
Fall–Spring 1973–74

Written April 28–29, 1974

This year at Columbia University, I have professor Bülent Arel as my teacher. He is really great and has given me much insight into the technical aspects of electronic composition as well as the compositional aspects.


I have made a new composition, finished around January. It is untitled but offers various types of “poetic” impressions. I sort of like it. Professor Arel sort of liked it also (with several valid criticisms).

I have kept in contact with Professor Kaufmann in Vienna. I sent him a copy of the revised
Fantasy, which he liked and said he was going to play at some festivals. I also sent him a copy of this “Untitled Work” and would be interested in hearing what he has to say about it.

I am now attempting to do several folk songs for soprano with electronic accompaniment. It is an exciting challenge and I hope the results will turn out as good as I hope. Maria has sung some of the vocal parts for it.

Of course, I am still studying with Prof. Walker.


Composition at Columbia. I am back at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center for a second year of study, classes, and lab time. I like it. I follow the same routine as in year 1, going to classes twice a week (I believe) and having lab time on Sundays. Classes are with Professor Bülent Arel whom I like. There are no private composition lessons as part of the class.

Electronic works. I imagine that I may still be putting on the finishing touches to the revised Fantasy on Broken Glass, thus I use 1974 as the date of that composition. I also complete a work, Untitled Work, that I think is not quite finished but a start. Prof. Arel has some valid comments, I see. Then, I send off both works to Prof. Kaufmann in Vienna.

European Performances. Surprise. Prof. Kaufmann, does play the revised Fantasy on Broken Glass at a few electronic music festivals in Europe. I’ll try to find one of the programs. That was very nice of him. Once again, while Fantasy is a programmatic work with nature and man-made sounds, I think it is an amazing achievement that it was created from a single sound.

Folk songs for soprano and tape. I appear to be starting work on new electronic compositions. I mention a piece that will be folk songs for soprano and tape that I am starting. I record my good friend, Maria, singing the folk songs, which I will later manipulate. I complete this work during my studies (in the future) at Indiana University and it is one of the works on my Master’s Recital.

George Walker. This year, I continue to study music theory and composition with Prof. Walker.

I am happy that I was active during these two years and working towards my goal of writing music.


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