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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

COWELL, Henry

b Menlo Park, California, 11 March 1897

d Shady, New York, 10 December 1965, aged sixty-eight

He began studying the violin at the age of three and gave it up because of ill health at the age of eight. As a composer he was largely self-taught until he went to the University of California in 1913. In 1919 he wrote a book called New Musical Resources. From 1931 to 1932 he worked on oriental music at the University of Berlin, and from 1956 to 1957 he went to Asia under a Rockefeller grant to study Indian music at the Academy of Music, Madras. He also studied Japanese and Iranian music, and wrote books and articles promoting the works of other composers.

1914-20 (17-23)

Vestiges, for orchestra

1918 (21)

Symphony No 1

1920 (23)

Communication, for orchestra

1922 (25)

The Building of Banba, ballet

1924 (27)

Ensemble, for chamber orchestra

192G (29)

Atlantis, ballet

Seven Paragraphs, for chamber ensemble

1927 (30)

Some Music, for orchestra

Suite for violin and piano 1

928 (31)

Sinfonietta for chamber orchestra

1929 (32)

Irish Suite, for chamber orchestra

1930 (33)

Polyphonica, for twelve instruments

Exultation, for ten stringed instruments

Reel No 1, for orchestra

Suite for woodwind quintet

1931 (34)

Synchrony, for orchestra

Rhythmicana, for orchestra

Havana Hornpipe, for orchestra

Competitive Sport, for chamber orchestra

Steel and Stone, for chamber orchestra

Heroic Dance, for chamber orchestra

1932 (35)

Jig, for orchestra

Reel No 2, for orchestra

1933 (36)

Four Casual Developments, ballet

Scherzo for orchestra

Four Continuations, for chamber orchestra

String Quartet No 2, 'Mosaic'

1934 (37)

Movement for instruments

1935 (38)

Six Casual Developments, for chamber orchestra

1936 (39)

String Quartet No 4, 'United'

1937 (40)

Immediate Tragedy, ballet

Deep Song, ballet

Old American Country Set, for orchestra

Chrysanthemums, for soprano, two saxes and four strings

Sarabande, for oboe, clarinet and percussion

Three Ostinati with Chorales for oboe or clarinet and piano

1939 (42)

Symphony No 2, Anthropos

Shipshape, overture

Symphonic Set, for orchestra

American Melting Pot, for orchestra

Celtic Set, for orchestra

1940 (43)

Pastorale and Fiddler's Delight, for orchestra

Voxhumana, for orchestra

Ancient Desert Drone, for orchestra

Concerto Piccolo, for piano and orchestra

1941 (44)

Schoonthree, for orchestra

Tales of our Countryside, for orchestra

Two Bits, for flute and piano

Grinnell Fanfare, for organ and brass

1942 (45)

Symphony No 3, Gaelic

Trickster Coyote, for flute and percussion

1943 (46)

American Pipers, for orchestra

Little Concerto for piano and orchestra

Action in Brass, for horn, two trumpets and two trombones

This is America, for brass ensemble

Improvisation on a Persian Mode, for orchestra

1944 (47)

United Music, for orchestra

Animal Magic, for wind band

1945 (48)

Philippine Return, for orchestra

Big Sing, for orchestra

Fanfare, for wind band

Two Appositions, for wind band

Grandma's Rumba, for wind band

Triad, for trumpet and piano

Violin Sonata No 1

Hymn, for string orchestra

1946 (49)

Symphony No 4, Short Symphony

Festival Overture for two orchestras

Saxophone Quartet

1947 (50)

Tune Takes a Trip, for five clarinets

1948 (51)

Symphony No 5

Festive Occasion, for orchestra

Tall Tale, for brass ensemble

Saturday Night at the Firehouse, for orchestra

1949 (52)

O'Higgins of Chile, opera

Four Declamations with Return, for cello and piano

The Sax-happy Quartet

Congratulations, for strings

A Curse and a Blessing, for wind band

Overture for orchestra

1951 (54)

Symphony No 6

1952 (55)

Symphony No 7

Fiddler's Jig, for violin and string orchestra

Fantasie, for wind band

Four Trumpets for Alan, for four trumpets and piano

1953 (56)

Symphony No 8 for chorus and orchestra

Symphony No 9

Symphony No 10 for chamber orchestra

Symphony No 11, Seven Rituals of Music

Rondo for orchestra

Towards a Bright Day, for orchestra

Singing Band, for brass

1955 (58)

Ballad for strings

1955-6 (58-9)

Symphony No 12

Set of Two, for violin and piano

Set of Four, for harpsichord

Set of Five, for violin, piano and percussion

String Quartet No 5

Septet, for five wordless voices, clarinet and keyboard

1956 (59)

Variations for orchestra

A Thanksgiving Psalm, for male chorus

1956-7 (59-60)

Persian Set, for orchestra

1957 (60)

Music for orchestra

Ongaku, for orchestra

1957-8 (60-1)

Symphony No 13, Madras

1958-9 (61-2)

Antiphony, for divided orchestra

1959 (62)

Concerto for percussion

Mela Fair, for orchestra

Characters, for orchestra

Homage to Iran, for violin and piano

1960 (63)

Symphony No 14

Concerto Brevis, for accordion and orchestra

Thesis, for orchestra

Variations on thirds for orchestra

Introduction and Allegro for viola and harpsichord

Prelude and Allegro for violin and harpsichord

1961 (64)

Chiaroscuro, for orchestra

1962 (65)

Symphony No 15, Thesis

Quartet for flute, oboe, cello and harp

1963 (66)

Symphony No 16, Icelandic

Symphony No 17, Lancaster

Symphony No 18

1964 (67)

Concerto for koto and orchestra

1965 (68)

Symphony No 19

Cowell also wrote sixteen hymn-and-fuguing-tunes for various combinations,

many choral works, songs and piano works.

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