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Anthony E. Vazzana   


Anthony E. Vazzana passed away on February 24th, 2001.



Anthony Vazzana began his formal study of music at age eight. At eleven he received his first scholarship (in piano) at the Emma Willard Conservatory in his native Troy, N.Y.

Formal education includes degrees at the State University of New York, Potsdam, and master's and doctorate at the University of Southern California. In addition, he did advanced study at Tanglewood and Bennington College in theory and composition.

Besides scholarships in composition which include two from Alchin, a Moss and Friends of Music at U.S.C., he has received numerous awards. Among them are the Helen Anstead Award for his orchestral work, Symphonic Allegro, and others from both B.M.I. and ASCAP. Grants and fellowships also include those from both B.M.I. and ASCAP

He was honored by the University of Southern California School of Music with the Friends of Music Award for excellence in teaching. In 1988 the University presented him the Burlington Northern Foundation Award as outstanding scholar. The following year he received the Minerva Award presented by The State University of New York in recognition of his outstanding professional achievement.

Among his residencies in composition are three Dorland Mountain Colony and one each at the Bennington College Composers' Conference, MacDowell Colony, Montalvo Arts Center, the Djerassi Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy

He has composed over 100 works several of which have been performed and broadcast in Europe, Asia and at New Music Festivals in the United States with additional performances scheduled for South Africa in 1992. A few recent premieres include: ODISSEA for orchestra (1988), METAMORPHOSES for wind orchestra, DISEGNI II for piano, 'cello and percussion (both in 1989), VIAGGI for trombone octet, CONCERTO SAPPORO for euphonium and orchestra and LINEA for solo horn (all three in 1990).

He completed production of and recorded an interview for RAI Radio 3 to accompany the broadcast of TRINAKIE for orchestra in Rome, Italy. He has been a frequent guest on radio in live interviews featuring his music. In the United States his works have been broadcast nationally on program such as NPR. In Europe his music has been aired over radio in Hilvorshim (Holland), Sudwest Rundfunk (Germany), Radio Copenhagen (Denmark) and Radio Basel (Switzerland) with performances also in the Phillipines and Japan.

He has presented lectures in several colleges and universities such as those at Chabot, Claremont, Pomona. He was invited by the Louisiana Composers' Guild to lecture at Loyola University (New Orleans). Other presentations included those at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge),Cornell and Syracuse Universities as well as the Laguna Art Museum in California.

Dr. Vazzana taught composition, orchestration and theory at the University of Southern California since 1959. He instituted several innovative courses such as Contemporary Music Performance Practices, World Music Systems (with composer, Lou Harrison), Percussion writing techniques for Composers and is a co-founder of the Contemporary Music Ensemble. For many years he directed the Composition Forum held at the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, produced New Music Concerts of both faculty and student composers and organized festival concerts for American Music Week at USC.

Over the years he arranged evenings of music by Ernst Toch, Ernest Kanitz, Ellis Kohs and Halsey Stevens, and in April 1990 he presented the chamber music of the late Ingolf Dahl marking the twentieth anniversary of his passing.

A champion of young aspiring composers and dedicated teacher as well, he gave them valuable public exposure by organizing and arranging radio broadcasts of students' music complete with live interviews by them and is responsible for programming nearly 400 of their works in live performances, most of them world premieres.

For more than 16 years he directed the USC Composition Forum and brought to the USC campus composers and musicians such as John Adams, Milton Babbitt, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, Peter Maxwell Davies, Morton Feldman, John Harbison, William Kraft, Ernst Krenek, Witold Lutoslawski, Steven Stucky, Sir Michael Tippett, Charles Wourinen and lannis Xenakis and others of comparable international stature.

Commissions include those by the Duo Contemporain of Holland, the Goldman-Brown Duo, the Southwest Chamber Music Association, the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, the Davis-Joachim Duo of Canada and T.U.B.A. Recent commissions include the aforementioned DISEGNI II, another for horn and organ to be premiered at the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna, a concerting for piano and chamber ensemble to be premiered in New York by the North-South Consonance in 1991 and still another for wind orchestra by the West Texas State University Band. In addition, the International Tuba-Euphonium Society/ T.U.B.A. commissioned CONCERTO SAPPORO for euphonium and orchestra was performed August, 1990 at the International Conference by soloist, IE and ODISSEA respectively.

On November 14 1990 his LINEA for horn, commissioned by the Southwest Chamber Music Society, was premiered at the Wien Modern Festival in Vi Brian Bowman with conductor, Keith Brown, and the Sapporo Symphony in Japan. In progress is the third panel in his orchestral tryptich, ORIZONTE scheduled for completion in 1992. His suite for soprano saxophone and piano, SAGGI MUSICALI, was performed 1991 in South Africa by Douglas Masek. Since his retirement in May, 1990 he has devoted full time to composition and lecturing.

He is the author of the four-volume work, Projects in Musicianship, (funded by the Ford/MENC Foundation) and his compositions have been recorded by Shawnee, Golden Crest, Silverseal and Orion.

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