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John W. Pozdro   

 Pozdro passed away in 2009.


John Pozdro was born in Chicago in 1923 and began piano and music theory lessons at an early age with pianist Nina Shafran. During 1941-2, he studied piano with Edward Collins at the American Conservatory of Music. After service in the U.S. Army he resumed his music training at Northwestern University, receiving the B. Mus. in 1948 and the M. Mus. in 1949; his principal composition teacher was Pulitzer Prize composer Robert Mills Delaney. At the Eastman School of music, where he was a Teaching Fellow during his doctoral residence, he studied with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers, earning the Ph. D. in Composition in 1958.

His first teaching position (1949-50) was at The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. In the summer of 1950 he served as a visiting professor at Northwestern University. From 1950 to December, 1992, when he retired, he was a member of the faculty of the University of Kansas serving as Department Chairman of Theory and Composition from 1961 to 1988. From 1958 to 1967 Pozdro was chairman of the university's Annual Symposium of Contemporary American Music.

He has participated as chair and panelist at numerous scholarly meetings and has been juror for several national composition competitions; he has had articles published in The American Music Teacher, The Composer, and College Music Symposium, among others. His article in American Music Teacher on the nature of nonfunctional tertian harmonic progression was the first such on the subject.

In 1961 he received the Bernard Fink Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, and in 1970 was again selected as one of Kansas University's outstanding teachers.. He has been the recipient of several research grants from Kansas University for projects in theory and composition. In August, 1993 he served as Guest Composer at the University of California at Berkeley where he was presented with the University of California-Berkeley Medal.

Co-winner in 1972 of the N.S.O.A. Roth-Orchestra Competition, he was also awarded a prize from the Delius Association in 1974; he was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts in 1976, a citation from the American Council of Polish Cultural Arts in 1978 and awards from the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers for achievement in the field of serious music annually since 1965. In 1962 his Third Symphony was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Dr. Pozdro has been commissioned by the Ford Foundation, The Oklahoma City Symphony, The Music Teachers National Association, The Lawrence (Kansas) Youth Symphony, Concerts for Young Audiences, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Stanton Memorial Foundation, and the Guild of Carillonneurs in North American, among others.

He is listed in Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, La Musica, Musik Lexicon, American Composers at American Universities, Contemporary American Composers, American Music Handbook, Ton Kunstler Lexicon, Who's Who in America, Music Since 1900, and The Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Classical Musicians, and the Centennial Edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary, among others..

His music, which has been widely performed in America and Europe, includes works for symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, piano, chorus, chamber ensemble, and carillon. There are two staged works - Malooley and the Fear Monster, and Hello Kansas!, the latter commissioned in observance of the Kansas' centennial anniversary in 1962.

The most recent recording of his music (Four Preludes for Piano) featured pianist David Wehr. His most recent commission was from the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America to compose The Winds Of Autumn, for the 1997 international meeting in Lawrence, Kansas.

Pozdro died in January 2009.

Recent Performances

  • Variations on a Slavonic Theme, Brian Swager, Katholek Universitiet, Netherlands. August 5, 2002.
  • Tryptich, Elaine Brewer. July 7, 2002.
  • Rustic Landscape, Jill Forrest, University of Sydney, Australia. June 16, 2002
  • Winds of Autumn, John Gouwens, Katholek Universitiet, Netherlands. June 13, 2002
  • Landscape II, Elizabeth Berghout, May 22, 2002.

Recent Awards

  • Award from ASCAP for 2002-03 in the Serious Music Category; this was the 38th consective award for John Pozdro from ASCAP.

Recent Works

  • Five Pieces for Child Performer (Piano).


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