“Gloria Coates has created symphonies with the compelling intellectual and expressive power equal to the great symphonic composers of the Old World, but with the vivid imagination and freedom of an artist from America.”
Rheinischer Merkur,Germany, H. Malcomess
Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, Gloria Coates began composing at an early age, winning a National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Contest at the age of twelve. After earning a Masters of Music Degree in Composition at Louisiana State University, she continued postgraduate studies in composition at Columbia University with Otto Luening and Jack Beeson. From 1975 to 1983 she taught for the University of Wisconsin’s International Programs and initiated the music program in London and Munich. Gloria Coates has been invited to lecture on her music with concerts at Harvard, Brown, Princeton, the University of Wisconsin Madison (with master-classes), Torun, Poland, the College of Music Munich, and in India at the Max Mueller Bavahns of New Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay.
"Gloria Coates is one of the most startlingly individual figures on the contemporary music scene. Most superficially, she is the most prolific female symphonist in history. More significantly, she has made a career out of the slow glissando in orchestral and ensemble music. To avoid caricature, this latter point requires amplification. The elements of Coates’s music are generally few in number, easily described, often odd, and oddly combined, giving her music an instantly recognizable profile. One recurring element is slow string glissandos. Another is wavery textures of faster glissandos, at varying rates. Another is conventionally tonal chorale writing, often quoting previous music. Another is simple, even march-like rhythmic patterns, sometimes offset within her favorite 5/4 meter. The essence of Coates’s music is not any one of these elements, but their juxtaposition and combination sometimes even their indistinguishable fusion into some of the strangest textures in recent music. She brings together the straight and the curved, the familiar and the weird, the hard-edged and the vague, the tonal and the beyond-atonal, and sets us down in musical landscapes which disallow our usual figure-ground experiences of focusing within a musical texture."
Quotation by Kyle Gann (Naxos CD notes)
Her music has been heard at the Dresden Festival, New Music America - New York 1989, the Passau International Festival, the Dartington Festival in England, the Montepulciano Festival Italy, the New York Microtonal Festival, Aspeckte Festival Salzburg, and at the March Music - Berlin Festival 2004 and others. The music of Gloria Coates has been performed by leading soloists and ensembles, such as the Kronos Quartet, the Kreuzer Quartet, Crash Ensemble Dublin, New Century Chamber Orchestra - San Francisco, City of London Sinfonia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Polish Chamber Orchestra.
Her compositions include 15 symphonies and other orchestral pieces, chamber music, of which there are nine string quartets, solo pieces, vocal and choral music for orchestra and ensembles, electronic works, as well as music for the theatre.
Her music has been listed by “The Wire” 3 times on the best of the year lists, the ‘New York Times’, ‘Los Angeles Times’, ‘BBC Music Magazine’ with 5 stars, ‘Village Voice’ as Pick Hit, Gramophone, Critics’ Choice on ‘Billboard Magazine” , ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’, among others.
Photo by Randy Nordschow
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