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.


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. 

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Iris named after "Graceful Ghost" 

Horticulturist Robert Hollingworth wrote us to share a photo of the Graceful Ghost Iris, which he hybridized and named after Bolcom’s beloved ragtime piece.

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World Premiere: Three Intermezzi for Organ

Saint John's Abbey, 2900 Abbey Plaza, Collegeville, MN 56321

Solemn Blessing of the Expanded Holtkamp-Pasi Abbey Pipe Organ featuring the world premiere of an organ piece by William Bolcolm, “Three Intermezzi for Organ,” commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey through the generous donation from Jeff (SJU ’87) and Jamie Barnett; played by Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB.

Free; event may be streamed online


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