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Richard Cameron-Wolfe

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Composer-pianist Richard Cameron-Wolfe was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and received his music training at Oberlin College and Indiana University. His principal piano teachers were Joseph Battista and Menahem Pressler; his composition teachers included Bernard Heiden, Iannis Xenakis, Juan Orrego-Salas, and John Eaton.

After brief teaching engagements at Indiana University, Radford College (Virginia), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Cameron-Wolfe moved to New York City, where he performed and composed for several major ballet and modern dance companies, including the Joffrey Ballet and the Jose Limon Company. In 1978 he began a 23-year Professorship at Purchase College, State University of New York, teaching music theory and history, composition, and music resources for choreographers. He resigned in 2002 - while he could still walk and think - in order to dedicate his life to the piano and to composing.

As a composer, one of his particular interests is micro-opera, a very short theatrical work of 5 to 15 minutes duration, developed through the collaboration of composer, writer (preferably a poet), a scenic/costume designer (preferably a visual artist), and a videographer. The work is intended to be staged in small spaces and could be broadcast on television or the web. See Cameron-Wolfe's Composition Catalogue below.

As a pianist, Cameron-Wolfe has in recent years focused on the "missing links", composers of the early 20th century who provided the transition from late Romanticism into post-World War II "sound art" but whose music is now seldom heard. Examples in his current repertoire include works by Leo Ornstein, Dane Rudhyar (with whom he studied and whose music he has recorded on the Furious Artisans label), and Charles Ives.

Devoted to the promotion of modern classical music (which he prefers to call “sound art”), Cameron-Wolfe has served as an administrator for several musical organizations: Friends of American Music (1974 to the present), the New Mexico Music Festival (1978-82), Music from Angel Fire (1984), The Charles Ives Center for American Music (1990-92), and as Executive Director of the American branch of CESAME: the Center for Soviet/American Musical Exchange (1989-93).

He now lives in the mountains of northern New Mexico, where he teaches piano and composition, occasionally writes music articles for Horse Fly, a monthly journal of politics and culture [*ARTICLES REPRINTED HERE IN MY BLOG*], and hosts a monthly three-hour, web-streaming “Sunday Morning [Un]Classics” radio show (dominated by 20th-century music).

His current projects include the recording and editing of two CDs – one of his own compositions, the other showcasing his unique piano repertoire of music by lesser-known 20th-century composers.

Cameron-Wolfe’s 2006 composition A Measure of Love and Silence, a cantata based on the poetry of Tatyana Apraksina (set in both Russian and English translation) was US-premiered in June of 2008 at the American Composers Alliance [ACA] Festival and world-premiered in May 2008 at the St. Petersburg "Musical Spring" Festival in Russia. He is currently composing an orchestral work with prominent piano part, to be titled ARQ (a Noah’s Ark of the near future), inspired by the biblical Book of Revelation and has begun to compose a chamber opera, celebrating the life and art of Nicholas Roerich, with libretto by Tatyana Apraksina and James Manteith. Most recently, his violin work ARQ: Region III - Refuge, originally commissioned for a March 31, 2008 premiere performance at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, was recently revised and re-premiered at the June 2009 ACA Festival in New York.

In 2004 Cameron-Wolfe performed in Taos, Berlin (at "Simile"), and in the "Moscow Autumn" Festival. In 2006 he played in the Astrakhan "International Music Days" Festival (in southern Russia), and gave a "salon" concert in London. He is preparing for an autumn 2009 piano tour, with concerts projected in Oldenburg, Germany and Hjarup, Sweden. He will participate as pianist and composer in the October 2009 "Days of Modern Music" Festival in Astrakhan, Russia and present a concert of American piano music at the December Sollertinsky Festival in Vitebsk, Belarus. Concerts in Seattle and Los Angeles are also on the horizon.

Compositions by Richard Cameron-Wolfe

3 to 5 timpani; 5 clay flowerpots; 6 chimes/tubular bells; large gong; addl percussion instrument of player's choice; various mallets/brushes
violin, cello, piano


excerpt - Code of Unsilence: A Prayer
high voice, 2 guitars
guitar, optional pedal activated drum
high voice, flute, vibraphone, perc (2), vla, db, chorus of bass singers
3 flutes, one doubling alto flute
flute, prepared piano
high voice, vcl, pno
fl/alto flute; piano
piano, string orchestra (54331)
vln, pf
Bb tenor saxophone (male), Dancer (female), Stagehand


SIU players perform A Measure of Love and Silence, excerpt 2008
TRIO: soprano, alto&bass flutes, piano
Soprano and guitar
solo piano
ob/eng hn, Bb/Eb cl, bsn, hn, tbn, 2 vln, vla, 2 vcl,
cello and bayan, or accordion
fl, cl, vln, vcl, perc
bsn, tbn, db, actor, Butoh dancer
flute, clarinet in Bb, piano, Soprano, Baritone, violin, viola, and cello
vcl, pno
unaccompanied clarinet