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Biography

  • Born

    9 June 1938 (age 80)

  • Born In

    Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Charles Wuorinen (born June 9, 1938 in New York City) is an American composer who lives in and Long Valley, New Jersey. Wuorinen is married to his longtime partner and manager Howard Stokar. Co-founder of The Group for Contemporary Music, Wuorinen writes serial instrumental music. Some of his pieces are influenced by fractal geometry and Benoît Mandelbrot, while his later works feature some tonal relationships.

In 1970, Wuorinen was the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for the electronic piece Time's Encomium, until Caroline Shaw won in 2013 with her piece, Partita for 8 Voices. He is also the author of Simple Composition, ISBN 0-938856-06-5, which he says is, "written by a composer and is addressed to other composers - intending or actual, amateur or professional." Thus it is similar in intent to certain older books on the subject like Thomas Morley's "A Plain and Easie Introduction to Practical Musicke" (1597), for instance. It outlines present practice, and while it can be used for purely didactic purposes, it can also be employed in composing "real" music.

According to The New York Times, "Charles Wuorinen has taken the decrees of 12-tone music and made them sing."

Wuorinen is a graduate of Columbia University and Trinity School. He studied with Stefan Wolpe. Recordings of his pieces include the album Lepton. He is currently preparing an operatic setting of Annie Proulx's short story, Brokeback Mountain.

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