Photo (c) Eden Prairie Ward, view her work here.
Bavarian Sketches is 6 1/2 minutes duration.
Dedicated to pianist Volker Banfield
I. Allegro moderato
A Meet the Composer grantee, MacDowell Colony Fellow and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Music Award nominee, and recipient of the 2016 VMTA Commissioned Composer Award.
Bavarian Sketches was premiered by the composer at the Grace and Holy Episcopal Church of Richmond, Virginia. Becker’s “Saltimbanques: Seven Character Pieces for Piano Trio” (1989), was commissioned and performed nationally by the Peabody Piano Trio, his “Five Mementos for Piano” was performed nationally and recorded by pianist Nancy Burton Garrett with a grant from CRS (Records).
Becker’s Meet the Composer award winning “Fantasy on B-A-C-H” (1985) was commissioned and performed extensively by Bennington pianist Kitt Young. Richard Becker’s songs have been commissioned and performed by Kathy Kaon, Jennifer Cable and members of the University of Richmond vocal faculty. His “Cat and the Moon” (SATB, cl., ob., hn. trb.) was commissioned and premiered by University of Richmond’s Schola Cantorum and also received performances by the James Madison Madrigal singers through a Meet the Composer award. Other commissions and premieres have come from: Richmond Symphony Woodwind Quintet; Richmond Symphony Woodwind Trio; Roxbury Players, David Niethamer, Director; Hillel Foundation of Rochester, NY; and First Unitarian Church of Richmond.
Becker’s music has been performed at such venues as the Tanglewood Music Festival, Peabody Conservatory’s Freidberg Hall, Town Hall (New York), National Gallery of Art, the Gardner Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Boston University School of the Arts, University of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, University of Texas, Williams College, Bennington College, École Normale de Musique, Salle Michelet of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Eastman School of Music and most recently at the University of Kansas (2011).
Richard Becker’s music is often composition inspired by poetry. His “Four Poems of Emily Dickinson for Piano” was premiered at University of Richmond, March, 2011 and featured in June, 2011 at the University of Kansas for the American Matthay Association Festival of 2011 and is part of a lecture/recital he has been giving on “Poetry and Music” which also includes his own performance of Ravel’s “Gaspard de la nuit.”
Becker’s 2006 Cité Internationale des Arts piano recital in Paris included his “Seven Piano Fantasies” and “Five Mementos.” His “Quotations for Piano Duet: On Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop” was performed by Mr. Becker and his wife, pianist Doris Wylee-Becker at the 2005 Matthay Festival in Bristol Tennessee. His “Getty Square,” a tribute to the city of Yonkers, New York was the highlight of 2003 retrospective concert he gave in Richmond and in Bristol and uses as its primary structuring melody and harmony the 12-tone-row of Roger Sessions’s great oratory, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.”
Becker’s “Crossing Pont Marie for Cello and Piano,” commissioned and premiered by James Wilson, performed with pianist Joanne Kong at a University of Richmond Camp Concert Hall new music program and was hailed as “an absolute triumph” by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2000. In an article in Richmond’s Style Weekly Magazine at that time it was announced Crossing Pont Marie would be included in the duo’s Virginia Commission of the Arts touring repertoire. Becker is the VMTA 2016 Commissioned Composer for which he is writing a set of variations on themes of Bartok and Ligeti for premiere by his wife the pianist, Doris Wylee-Becker at Shenandoah Conservatory, October, 2016.
Richard Becker’s poetry has appeared in such periodicals as The Literary Review, America, Columbia, and the Cold Mountain Review. His chapbook, “Fates, a Nine Poem Sequence,” has been published both online and in the print edition by The Literary Review (2008).