Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed February 19, 1999
Contact: Glenn Hare

Brown University concert to showcase music of writer Anthony Burgess

Best known for his futuristic novel A Clockwork Orange, British novelist Anthony Burgess was also a prolific composer. A concert showcasing his chamber music will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, 1999, in Grant Recital Hall. The free concert will première several works for piano solo, chamber group and voice.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Musical compositions of British novelist Anthony Burgess will be performed in Grant Recital Hall, near Hope and Benevolent streets behind the Orwig Music Building, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, 1999. Burgess, known for his futuristic book A Clockwork Orange and other fiction, was also a prolific writer of music, with more than 150 compositions to his credit. The all-Burgess concert will showcase several pieces for solo piano, chamber ensemble and voice, performed by professional musicians from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Paul Phillips, director of orchestras and chamber music at Brown, has organized the concert, which is free to the public. "Most people know Anthony Burgess as a British novelist and essayist," Phillips said, "but he was also a very gifted composer who wrote a vast amount of music of all types, including orchestral, ballet and chamber music compositions."

The performance will begin with the earliest preserved work by Burgess, Cradlesong, written in 1952, and Preludes (1964), both for piano solo. The concert will feature Master Coale's Pieces, a work written for Sam Coale, a professor at Wheaton College and a Providence resident. "In the late '70s, while Sam Coale traveled to Monaco to interview Burgess for a biography, Sam mentioned that he played the piano," said Phillips. "A few days later Burgess presented him with a set of piano pieces entitled Master Coale's Pieces." Coale, who has never heard a live performance of the compositions, will introduce the work and describe the circumstances of its composition.

Performers will include pianists Gary Steigerwalt, Michael Lewin, Dana Muller and Paul Phillips, and oboist Stuart Dunkel. Soprano Kathryne Jennings, artistic director of the Ocean State Lyric Opera, will sing a set of Burgess songs based on texts by Joyce, Hardy and Shakespeare. The concert will conclude with soprano Michelle French performing The Brides of Enderby, a song cycle based on poems by F.X. Enderby, one of Burgess' best-known fictional characters.

"The performance of The Brides of Enderby will be the first since 1978," said Phillips, who currently is writing a book on the music of Burgess, "and most of the other works on the program will be U.S. premières."

The Orwig Music Building is located on the corner of Hope Street and Young Orchard Avenue.