Frederick C Tillis

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Biography: 

Frederick Tillis, portrait by Jack CoughlinComposer, and poet, Frederick Tillis was born in Galveston, Texas on January 5, 1930. He is a graduate of Wiley College and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Iowa.

His catalog includes more than 125 compositions and commissions, spanning both jazz and classical European traditions in various media - orchestral, jazz, instrumental, choral, chamber music, and vocal works. Melodic and harmonic textures reflect elements of various musics of the world, including Asian and Western cultures, as well as natural outgrowths of his ethnic and cultural background.

Tillis' music is performed nationally and abroad. Among his commissioned compositions are "A Symphony of Songs," a choral/orchestral work based on poems by Wallace Stevens and commissioned by The Hartford Chorale, Inc. (1999); "A Festival Journey," (1992) and "Ring Shout Concerto," (1974) for percussion, written for Max Roach and premiered by Max Roach and symphony orchestra; and "Concerto for Piano" (Jazz Trio) and symphony orchestra (1983) written for Billy Taylor and performed with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Tillis has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 1997 Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and an award for outstanding service from the International Association of Jazz Educators. As Professor of Music at the University of Massachusetts, he taught music composition and a survey course in the history of Afro-American Music & Musicians. Active as a jazz saxophonist, he has traveled with the Tillis-Holmes Jazz Duo and the Tradewinds Jazz Ensemble to Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the former Soviet Union, Switzerland, and Turkey.

In addition, he recently visited the University of Fort Hare in South Africa, served as a Master Artist in residence at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Yamaguchi, Japan and conducted a three-week residency on behalf of the United States Information Agency at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in 1991 to help the school establish a major in jazz.

Dr. Tillis has published seven books of poetry: In the Spirit and the Flesh, Images of Mind and Heart, In Celebration, Of Moons, Moods, Myths, and the Muse, Harlem Echoes, Children's Corner: From A to Z, Seasons, Symbols, and Stones, Akiyoshidai Diary, Scattered Ghosts & Southern Winds, Bittersweet Harvests, Breaking Dawn & Healing, The Nature of Things: Human and Otherwise, and Beginning Again.

Dr. Tillis is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Music and Dance and serves as Director Emeritus of the University Fine Arts Center and Director of the Jazz in July Workshops in Improvisation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

(portrait of Tillis by Jack Coughlin)

ACA List for Frederick C Tillis

1 ALLELUIA (1969)
satb (pf reh only)

2 AUTUMN CONCERTO FOR TRUMPET (1979)
Fl, 5 Sax, 2 Hrns, 5 tpts, 5 tb, Perc, Pno/Guit, bass

3 Beck and Call (1993)
voice, pno

4 THE BEST TIMES (1993)
voice, pno

tillisthe_best_times_excerpt.mp3

Excerpt, Jon Humphrey, tenor; Nadine Shank, piano

5 Beyond Shades of Doubt (1993)
high voice, piano

beyond_shades_of_doubt_excerpt.mp3

Paulina Stark, soprano; Nadine Shank, piano

6 BLOW OUT THE CANDLES OF YOUR CAKE (1994)
sop, vlc, pf

7 Bolero (1995)
SATB, Pno

8 CAPRICCIO (1960)
vla,pf

9 CAPRICE for string orchestra
str orch 2-1-1-1

10 CELEBRATION, Grand March
band: pic-1-1-4sax-5-1; 3cor-4-0-3-bar-1; timp, perc; cb

tilliscelebrationexcerpt.mp3

Excerpt - Celebration by Frederick Tillis

11 CONCERT PIECE
cl,pf

12 CONCERTO for Piano (Jazz Trio) and Symphony Orchestra (1979)
pf (jazz trio) w/b&drm,orch: 2-2-2-2; 4-3-3-1; timp,2perc; str

13 CONCERTO for Trio and Orchestra (1980)
for trio pro viva(fl/alfl/pic,vcl,pf) & cham orch:hn,tpt,timp/perc,str

14 COTTON CURTAIN, THE (1966)
orch: 1121 4321, timp, perc, str

15 DESIGNS FOR ORCHESTRA 1 & 2 (1963)
orch:2/pic-1-1-bcl-1, 2-2-1-1,3perc,str

17 FANTASY ON A SCHEME BY J.S. BACH (1987)
SOPRANO SAX, PIANO

18 Fantasy on Sunday in Egypt's Land (1997)
5 sax, 4 tpt, 4 tbn, Gtr, Pno, Bass, Drums

19 FESTIVAL JOURNEY for Solo Percussion and Symphony Orchestra (1992)
solo jazz drum set & orch: pic-2-2-2-2,4-3-3-1,2perc,timp,str

tillisfestjourneyiiiexcerpt.mp3

Excerpt (III) New Orchestra of Boston, David Epstein, conductor; with Max Roach, Trap Drums-Soloist

20 FESTIVAL JOURNEY for Solo Percussion and Wind Ensemble (1992)
solo perc, pic,2fl,2ob,2bsn,e-cl,3cl,bass cl,sop sax,alt sax,ten sax,bar sax,3 t[t. 4 horn, 3 trmb, bass trmb, euph, tuba, contrabass, timp, perc`

21 Five Fantasies on Primary Colors
woodwind quintet

22 FIVE SPIRITUALS for chorus and brass ensemble (1976)
satb plus brass choir:4-4-4-4-euph-1

23 FOR THE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF SEPTEMBER 11 (2001)
5 sx, 4 tpt, hn, 3 tbn, tb, timp, vib, Narr, gtr, pf, db, dms

tillisforthevictims911.ii_.mp3

Excerpt (II) Al Freeman Jr, Narrator

24 FOUR CORNERS OF THE WORLD (2005)
Narr, orch: pic-2-2-2-1; 4-3-3-1; timp, perc; str

tillisfourcorners1.mp3

Excerpt, Part 1, Four Corners of the World

25 FOUR SONGS
voice and keyboard

Tillis_4_SongsExcerpt.mp3

Four Songs - excerpt

26 FREEDOM (1968)
satb (pf for reh)

tillisfreedomexcerpt.mp3

Excerpt, Univ of Massachusetts Chorale Singers, Richard du Bois, conductor

27 HALLELUYAH (1966)
TTBB (male glee club)-pf for reh only

28 IMAGES OF THE BLUE EARTH (1990)
string quartet with solo soprano saxophone

29 IN THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH (1985)
SATB, jazz trio, orch: 2-2-2-2, 4-3-3-1, timp, perc, str

tillisinthespirit1.mp3

Excerpt, Christopher Dukes, tenor; Hartford Symphony & Chorale

30 INAUGURAL OVERTURE (1989)
trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba, perc

32 LATIN AMERICAN SUITE for String Quartet (2006)
string quartet

Tillis_A_Latin_American_SuiteExcerpt.mp3

A Latin American Suite Excerpt

33 Latin Fringe (1999)
SATB

35 Little David (1995)
voice, pno

36 Metamorphosis on a Scheme by J.S. Bach (1972)
5 sax, 4 tpt, hn, 4 tbn, gt, pno, bass, perc

37 MILITANT MOOD for brass sextet (1961)
1-2-1-euph-1

38 MOTIONS (1964)
tbn,pf

39 MUSIC (1972)
vln,vcl,pf

40 MUSIC FOR AN EXPERIMENTAL LAB ENSEMBLES No. 1 (1967)
NO.1:alsax,tensax,hn,tb,pf,vln,

41 MUSIC FOR EXPERIMENTAL LAB ENSEMBLES No. 2
NO.2:fl,2tpt,pf,med vc

42 NIGER SYMPHONY (1975)
cham orch:1-1-1-0,2-1-1-1,perc,str

43 Nobody Knows (1986)
tpt, ten sax, 2 vln, vla, vcl, cb

44 One for Ray (1984)
SATB, Pno, cb, drumset

45 OVERTURE TO A DANCE (1961)
band:pic-2-2-5(Ebcl-2-lalcl-bcl)- 4sax(aatb)-1,4-3-euph-3-1,timp,perc,cb

46 PASSACAGLIA for Brass Quintet (1950)
br qnt:1-2-1-1

47 PASSACAGLIA for organ (1962)
org

48 PASTORALE (1974)
wind ensemble:pic-2-15-4sax(aatb)-1, 2-3-barhn-3-1, 7 perc

49 PHANTASY (1962)
vla, pf

50 PLAY ON YOUR FLUTE LITTLE MARY (1995)
sop, ten, pf

51 POEM FOR ORCHESTRA NO. 1 (1996)
pic, 2 fl, 2 ob+ca, 2 cl+bcl, 4 hn, 3 tpt, 3 tbn, tb, 3 perc, str.

52 A PRAYER IN FAITH (see Two Songs) (1960)
Baritone, pf

53 QUINTET FOR BRASS (1962)
br qnt: 1-2-1-1

54 Quintet for Four Woodwind and Percussion (1962)
fl, ob, cl, bsn, perc (mar, 2 bong, temp bl, mrcs, 3 susp cymb, 2 g, hi-hat, 2 trg, 2 cow b, 4 timp, s d, timb, tamb) )

55 THE RAIN FOREST (1993)
voice and piano

tillisthe_rain_forest_excerpt_.mp3

Excerpt, Jon Humphrey, tenor; Nadine Shank, piano

56 REFLECTIONS (1971)
S or T, pf

57 RING SHOUT CONCERTO for solo percussion & orchestra (1974)
perc& orch:1-1-1-4sax(satb)-1, 2-3-2-0,perc,str

58 Secrets of the African Baobab Tree (1976)
5 Sax, 4 tpt, 4 tbn, perc, pno, bass

59 Sequences & Burlesque (1966)
student str.orch.

60 Seton Concerto for Trumpet (1974)
5 sax, 4 tpt, 4 tbn, perc, pno, bass

61 Singing for the Sake of My Soul (1993)
voice, pno

tillis_singing_for_the_sake_of_my_soul_excerpt.mp3

Excerpt, Paulina Stark, soprano; New World Records

62 Sombrero (1990)
SATB

63 Song for Sister Hokkaido (2008)
brass quintet, chimes, perc (1) congas

Tillis_SONG_FOR_SISTER_HOKKAIDO.mp3

Song for Sister Hokkaido by Fred Tillis

64 SPIRITUAL CYCLE (1978)
S, orch: 2-2-2-2; 4-3-3-1; timp, 2perc, str

65 SPIRITUAL CYCLE (1978)
sop,orch:2-2-2-2,4-3-3-1,timp,2perc,str

66 SPIRITUAL FANTASY 9: SYMPATHY (1986)
SATB, Soprano solo, & brass quintet (1-2-1-1-0)

tillisspfant9excerpt_.mp3

Excerpt, Univ of Massachusetts Chorale, Paulina Stark, soprano solo

67 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 1 (1980)
piccolo trumpet, piano

tillisspiritfantasy1iiiexc.mp3

Spiritual Fantasy No. 1 Excerpt (III) Fred Irby III, trumpet; Carol Yampolsky, piano

69 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 12 (1988)
for string quartet, includes "Wade in the Water" (2nd movement)
str qrt

spiritual_fantasy_no.12.2__wade_in.mp3

The Lark String Quartet; excerpt from 2nd movement, Wade in the Water

70 Spiritual Fantasy No. 14 and Rag (1990)
pno, fl, ob

72 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 2 (1980)
cb, pf

77 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 24: LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE (2010)
cl, pf

tillisspiritualfantasyno24excerpt.mp3

Spiritual Fantasy No. 24 Excerpt; Ben Ringer, clarinet

79 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 3 (1981)
pf 4-hands

81 Spiritual Fantasy No. 32 (2007)
picc tpt, pno

83 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 4 (1981)
piano

Tillis_Spiritual Fantasy No 4 - excerpt.mp3

excerpt - Spiritual Fantasy no. 4

84 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 5 (1982)
hn,pf

85 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 6 (1982)
solo tpt, orch: 2-2-0-2,2-2-0-0, timp,perc,str

tillis__spiritual_fantasy_6_.mp3

Paul Neebe, trumpet; Slovak Radio Symphony, David Wiley, conductgor

86 SPIRITUAL FANTASY NO. 7 (1983)
vcl, pf

90 SPIRITUAL FANTASY SUITE, NO. 29: STAN' STILL JORDAN (2004)
sop sax, alto sax, pf

91 STRING TRIO (1961)

92 SYMPHONY OF SONGS (1997)
orch: pic, 2- 2(ca)-2cl-2 , 2-3-3-1, SATB chor

94 THREE MOVEMENTS (1964)
pf

95 THREE PLUS ONE (1969)
cl,gtr,vln,tape recorder

96 THREE SHOWPIECES FOR VIOLA (1966)
viola

100 THREE SYMPHONIC SPIRITUALS (1978)
orch:2-2-2-2,2-2-2-1, cel,timp,perc,str

101 TIME HAS COME, THE (1989)
SATB, pf, str bass, drums

102 TRIO (STRING TRIO) (1961)

103 TWO MOODS FOR VIOLIN DUET (2009)
2 vln

106 TWO SONGS (Enogod; Me) (1960)
sop,pf

108 VERZIERUNGEN (GRACE NOTES) (2003)
solo cl, 5 sx, 4 tpt, hn, 3 tbn, tb, vib, vc, gtr, pf, db, dms

109 WADE IN THE WATER (1988)
str 4tet: 2-1-1

110 WE WEAR THE MASK (1988)
SATB, Piano

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