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American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: I (Part 1 – Charles Ives, Anthony Iannaccone, and Andrew Imbrie)

When our series of American Composers and Musicians came around to me this time, the choice was quite limited.  The letter I…hmmmm. I thought,  “Who is an American composer with a last name starting with ‘I’?”  Finally, it dawned on me: you can’t be more of an American composer than Charles Ives, but I have posted about his contributions previously.  He is to be admired for his daring and interesting results of bi-tonality.  Sometimes I think of it as composing from the subconscious, bringing to light unusual (or accidental) tunes and sounds. A very interesting New Englander, Mr. Ives.

But, there are other 20th-century composers with a last name beginning with “I.” Anthony Iannaccone (1943-) studied with American composers Aaron Copland, David Diamond, and Samuel Adler in New York at the Manhattan School of Music and Eastman School of Music. In addition to composing, he taught and founded an electronic music studio (remember Moog synthesizers? That was the hot item in music theory and composition classes in the mid-1970s.) Mr. Iannaccone has won prizes from the National Band Association and the Sigma Alpha Iota/C. F. Peters Competition, as well as the American Bandmaster Association. As a former “band kid” I appreciate new compositions. His compositions also include a song about an American author, Walt Whitman Song, as well as a madrigal (A Whitman Madrigal). I look forward to learning and hearing more works from this second-generation American composer.

Andrew Imbrie (1921-2007) studied piano and crossed the Atlantic to France. Like other young American composers, he made the pilgrimage to France and studied with Nadia Boulanger. Upon his return, he continued his studies with Roger Sessions at Princeton and followed him to University of California, Berkeley.  There he remained until his retirement in 1991. His compositional style was influenced by Bartók and Sessions. I think composers who have a day job as instructors are very fortunate, as they are provided with a great laboratory.  Many talented students and faculty are available for compositions to be performed, and Imbrie’s works include opera, chamber ensembles, chorus, symphonies, sonatas for various instruments and string quartets.

I hereby move that we approve these American composers; the “I’s” have it!

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