About John Corigliano

The Corigliano Quartet was founded in 1996 with the blessing of Pulitzer, Grammy and Oscar-winner John Corigliano. "They are truly one of the great quartets of the new generation," said the composer. "Their fiery intensity, musical sensitivity, and bold programming make for an absolutely stunning concert experience."


Photo: Christian Steiner
John Corigliano, winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Symphony No. 2, is internationally celebrated as one of the leading composers of his generation. In orchestral, chamber, opera and film work, he has won global acclaim for his highly expressive and compelling compositions as well as his kaleidoscopic, ever-expanding technique.

In March 2000, Corigliano won the "Oscar," the Academy Award, for "The Red Violin," his third film score. He was the second classical composer, after Aaron Copland, to be so honored.

In April 1999, Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles received its European premiere, in a new production directed and designed by Jerome Sirlin for the opening of the new opera house in Hannover, Germany. Commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera, where it premiered in December 1991, the immensely popular Ghosts sold out two engagements at the Metropolitan (1991 and 1994) as well as its 1995 production at the Chicago Lyric Opera. The nationwide telecast of the Metropolitan's premiere production was released on videocassette and laser-disk by Deutsche Grammophon. Following its premiere, The Ghosts of Versailles collected the Composition of the Year award from the first International Classic Music Awards.

Corigliano first came to prominence after winning the chamber music prize at the 1964 Spoleto Festival for his Sonata for Violin and Piano. Other important commissions have come from the New York Philharmonic (Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Fantasia on an Ostinato), Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Poem in October), New York State Council on the Arts (Oboe Concerto), flutist James Galway (Pied Piper Fantasy), and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Promenade Overture). Recent premieres include Chiaroscuro (1997), a soundscape for two pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart; DC Fanfare (1997), written for Slatkin and the National Symphony; Dodecaphonia (1997), a whimsical song about serialism with a text by Mark Adamo, premiered by Joan Morris and William Bolcom; and the 40-minute String Quartet (1995), commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Cleveland Quartet's valedictory performance. In 1996, the Quartet's recording, like that of the Symphony before it, won Grammy Awards both for Best Performance and again for Best New Composition, making Corigliano the first composer to win twice in the history of that award. Sony Classical's "Phantasmagoria," features cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianists Emanuel Ax and James Tocco, who offer the premiere recordings of Fancy on a Bach Air, for solo cello; the titular Phantasmagoria, for cello and piano, based on themes from The Ghosts of Versailles; as well as new interpretations of the solo piano pieces Etude Fantasy and Fantasia on an Ostinato.

Born in New York on 16 February 1938, Corigliano comes from a musical family. His father was concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic from 1943 to 1966 and his mother was an accomplished pianist. Corigliano holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music at Lehman College, City University of New York and, in 1991, was named to the faculty of The Juilliard School. Also in1991 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, an organization of 250 of America's most prominent artists, sculptors, architects, writers, and composers. In 1992, Musical America named him their first "Composer of the Year." The National Arts Club in New York City honored him with their Gold Medal in March 2002.