National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award-winner William Bolcom (born May 26, 1938) is an American composer of chamber, operatic, vocal, choral, cabaret, ragtime, and symphonic music.

He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Music in 1973, was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in 1994, and retired in 2008 after 35 years.  Bolcom won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 for 12 New Etudes for Piano, and his setting of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience on the Naxos label won four Grammy Awards in 2005.

As a pianist Bolcom has performed and recorded his own work frequently in collaboration with his wife and musical partner, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris.  Cabaret songs, show tunes, and American popular songs of the 20th century have been their primary specialties in both concerts and recordings.  Their 25th album,  "Autumn Leaves," was released in 2015.

In 2018, nine world premieres of Bolcom works commemorated William Bolcom's 80th birthday.


New Release: Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Band 

A concerto grosso is a Baroque-era form involving a small group of instrumentalists, called the concertina, in dialog with the ripieno or large orchestra. William Bolcom’s Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra was commissioned by the PRISM Quartet. A new recording by the PRISM Quartet and Temple University Wind Symphony is now available for streaming and download.

The piece originally premiered with the Detroit Symphony in 2000, and was later recorded by PRISM with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project for innova Records.

Mr. Bolcom has adapted the work for sax quartet and wind ensemble, which PRISM recorded with the Temple University Wind Symphony under Dr. Patricia Cornett for an April 22, 2022 release on BCM&D Records, the label of  Temple University Boyer College of Music & Dance.

Now available for streaming and download


Read more

A ghostly "Graceful Ghost" 

In this age of virtual performances, the saxophone sextet The Moanin' Frogs took a unique approach to filming an elegant, ghostly version of Bolcom's Graceful Ghost. 

Read more




Graceful Ghost Rag (Roomful of Pianos)

NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA

(Postponed from 2022 due to supply chain issues) -- Over the past four years, Roomful of Pianos has become a highly anticipated event at The NAMM Show, bringing unforgettable performances for 10 pianos, 20 pianos, even 40 pianos to the show’s international audience of 110,000 music industry attendees. Graceful Ghost Rag (arr. John S. Hord) will be featured in concert by an ensemble of 30 pianists, in Lounge 88 at the Anaheim Convention Center (Anaheim, CA). Exact Date/Time/Place TBA.


E.B. Marks Newsletter Signup