Boosey & Hawkes Composer News
FEATURED COMPOSERS

Barbara Kolb

 b.10 February 1939, Hartford, ConnPhoto credit: Carlo Carnevali

Biography


English    


Short Biography:

Born in Connecticut, Barbara Kolb attended the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford, where she received her B.M. (cum laude) and M.M. degrees.  She has been the recipient of many awards, including three Tanglewood Fellowships, four MacDowell Fellowships, and two Guggenheim Fellowships.  Ms. Kolb became the first woman to receive the American Prix de Rome (1969-71) in music composition.  She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Vienna.  Other honors include a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Institute for Arts and Letters grant.

Ms. Kolb's music is characterized by interwoven, impressionistic textures and
a freely atonal yet deeply expressive harmonic language.  Many of her works have drawn upon ideas and images having their sources in literature or the visual arts.

Many organizations have commissioned works from Barbara Kolb, including the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Radio France, IRCAM, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Fromm Foundation.  Her music is performed internationally: Millefoglie (1983), her much-admired score for chamber ensemble and computer tape, has been played in Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Dallas, Washington DC, Gelsenkirche (Germany), Helsinki, Liège, Montreal, Paris, San Francisco, Vienna, and Tokyo, where it was performed by the Tokyo Sinfonietta under Kunitaka Kokaji as part of the 1996 Tokyo Summer Festival. 

Long Biography:

Born in Connecticut, Barbara Kolb attended the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford, where she received her B.M. (cum laude) and M.M. degrees.  She has been the recipient of many awards, including three Tanglewood Fellowships, four MacDowell Fellowships, and two Guggenheim Fellowships.  Ms. Kolb became the first woman to receive the American Prix de Rome (1969-71) in music composition.  She was also awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in Vienna.

Ms. Kolb's music is characterized by interwoven, impressionistic textures and a freely atonal yet deeply expressive harmonic language.  Many of her works have drawn upon ideas and images having their sources in literature or the visual arts.

Among the many commissions received by Barbara Kolb during the 1970's were those from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Washington Performing Arts Society, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the Fromm Foundation (1970, 1980).  She has been awarded grants from the Institute of Arts and Letters (1973) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The numerous major performances of Ms. Kolb's works include those by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Pierre Boulez (December 1975), and by the Boston Symphony under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, the latter both in Boston and on the BSO's Japanese tour in March 1978.

From 1979 to 1982 Ms. Kolb was Artistic Director of Contemporary Music at the Third Street Music School Settlement, presenting the "Music New to New York" concert series. In 1983-84 she spent nine months in residence at IRCAM, where she received a commission for Millefoglie, for chamber ensemble and computer tape.  Subsequent to its premiere in Paris, Millefoglie has been performed in Amsterdam, Brussels, Cologne, Dallas, Washington DC, Gelsenkirche (Germany), Helsinki, Liège, Montreal, San Francisco, Vienna, and Tokyo, where it was played by the Tokyo Sinfonietta under Kunitaka Kokaji as part of the 1996 Tokyo Summer Festival.  In 1984-85 Ms. Kolb held the post of visiting professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music; in 1986 she created, under the auspices of the Library of Congress, a music theory instruction program for the blind and physically impaired. 

One of the composer’s most widely-performed works is Voyants, for solo piano and chamber orchestra, commissioned by Radio France in 1991 with L'Orchestre de Radio France under the direction of Joel Revsen with Jay Gottlieb, pianist. Its U.S. premiere took place in February 1992 on an all-Kolb program by the Theater Chamber Players at Kennedy Center.  In October of the same year, Voyants appeared on another all-Kolb concert, this one performed on Austrian radio by the Ensemble of the 20th Century.  In addition, the American Symphony Orchestra, I Solisti di Villa Abrizzi (Venice), the Seattle Symphony, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra have all programmed the piece.

Ms. Kolb’s recent chamber works include New York Moonglow, commissioned by Elisa Monte Dance and scored for a mixed sextet of saxophones, trumpet, strings and percussion; and Sidebars, a duet for bassoon and piano composed for Italian bassoonist Stefano Canuti.  Virgin Mother Creatrix, an a cappella choral work inspired by the mysticism of Hildegarde of Bingen, had its premiere in March 1998 at the International Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where Ms. Kolb was the featured composer.

- April 2010

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes

Mailing List

Sign up for news updates and offers via email

SIGN UP
Listen To Kolb
Get Adobe Flash player
Shop for Kolb

Sheet Music, CDs, ringtones and downloads

SHOP NOW
ONLINE SCORES

Explore our library of over 1000 online scores

VIEW SCORES
FAQ | Contact Us | Links | About Us | Shop Directory | Careers | Terms of use | RSS Index