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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American Ballet Theatre - Some Assembly Required

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

This intimate and unconventional pas de deux follows the arc of a relationship, exploring the moments of tension and companionship that make two into one. Choreography by Clark Tippet; Staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner; Music by William Bolcom.

William Bolcom: Violin Concerto

Bradley Symphony Center, 212 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

Ken-David Masur, conductor; Ilana Setapen, Violin. Haydn’s Symphony No. 96, one of his famed London symphonies, earned its nickname “Miracle” when a chandelier fell during its premiere and — miracle! — killed no one. This program also includes Prokofiev’s playful Classical Symphony, composed on an idyllic farm against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution; Schoenberg’s moody “Accompaniment to a Film Scene;” and a jazz-infused violin concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom, performed here by the MSO’s own Acting Concertmaster Ilana Setapen.


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