|John Weedon Verrall (born Britt, Iowa,
June 17, 1908; died April 15, 2001) was an American composer of contemporary
Prior to his University studies, Verrall studied composition with Donald Ferguson, followed by studies with R. O. Morris in London and Zoltán Kodály in Budapest. He obtained a B.M. degree from the Minneapolis School of Music in 1929, and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1934. In the early 1930s he spent several summers at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where he studied composition with Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Frederick Jacobi. He taught at Hamline University from 1934–1942 and Mount Holyoke College from 1942–1946, during which time he briefly served in the U.S. Army during World War II. While teaching at Mount Holyoke College, Verall also worked as a music editor for G. Schirmer. In 1946 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1948 he joined the music faculty at the University of Washington, where he taught composition and music theory until he retired as professor emeritus in 1973. Several of Verrall's students have gone on to have successful careers, including William Bolcom, Alan Stout, and Gloria Wilson Swisher. [Throughout this page, names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on this website. BD]
From the late 1940s, Verrall used as the tonal basis for his music a nine-pitch scale consisting of two tetrachords on either side of a central pitch, itself alterable (C–D–E–E, F or F, G–A–B–B). This collection lends itself to symmetrical harmonic formations and melodic contours which, with equivalent rhythmic and metrical formations, generate the global and local pitch and rhythmic relations in his music.
Verrall wrote numerous symphonic works and chamber music pieces including four symphonies, seven string quartets, a violin concerto, and a viola concerto, among many other works. He also wrote several vocal art songs, choral works, and three operas.
The John Verrall Papers are held by the Special Collections department of the University of Washington Libraries.
John Verrall, composer, teacher
By Stuart Eskenazi, Seattle Times staff reporter Posted Thursday, April 19, 2001
The musical legacy of composer John Verrall, who taught composition and music theory at the University of Washington for 25 years, was constrained only by his humility. "He knew his own worth but did not want to capitalize on it," said John Kunz, a friend for more than 30 years. "This was a quiet man who could relax because he knew what he had done."
Mr. Verrall died of congestive heart failure at his Laurelhurst home Sunday at age 92. With his death, the Verrall catalog of symphonies and concertos could become accessible to classical-music lovers beyond the circle of composers, musicians and students who have revered his talents for years. William Bolcom, who won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 and studied under Mr. Verrall, wants the world to become acquainted with Verrall scores through a retrospective on compact disc, said Robin McCabe, director of the UW School of Music.
Born in Iowa, Mr. Verrall experienced his musical baptism at the piano at a young age. At 12, a brush with greatness set him on his career course. He attended a concert by Rachmaninoff and was allowed to meet the Russian composer. The youngster handed the master a musical score he had written. "Rachmaninoff was so impressed that he contacted some senior people at the University of Chicago and that led to him being able to take correspondence lessons in musical composition," Kunz said.
Mr. Verrall obtained a bachelor's degree in music from the Minneapolis College of Music in 1929 and a bachelor of arts from the University of Minnesota in 1934. One of his first jobs was as an usher during performances of the Minneapolis Symphony, which permitted him to attend each concert. Dmitri Mitropolous, the legendary conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony, took an interest in Mr. Verrall, and the orchestra performed his compositions. Kunz said Mitropolous pledged to Mr. Verrall that the symphony would perform anything he wrote.
Vilem Sokol, a UW music professor emeritus and former conductor of the Seattle Youth Symphony, said Mr. Verrall liked to regale his colleagues with stories about Mitropolous. "He said he would give Mitropolous one of his scores and he would leaf through it page by page, spending about five or 10 seconds on each page," Sokol recalled. "Then when Mitropolous got to the end, he would say, `Jack, back on page 34 the tuba was in the wrong register' or something like that."
Mr. Verrall charmed people not only through his music, but also his winning personality, Sokol said. "It really says something that his compositions appealed to someone like Mitropolous, who was always promoting very contemporary works," he said. "Jack's works had a contemporary feel to them, but they were in no way ultracontemporary."
Mr. Verrall studied under American composer Aaron Copland in New York at the Berkshire Music Center; Composer Leonard Bernstein was a classmate at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts. After serving in World War II, Mr. Verrall worked in New York as the music editor for G. Schirmer, which publishes classical compositions. It was a plum job for an aspiring composer. "As far as I know, he never used his position there to spread his own music," said Bela Siki, a UW music professor emeritus.
Mr. Verrall accepted a position on the UW faculty in 1948. He retired in 1973. He received various honors along the way, including a D.H. Lawrence Fellowship in 1964. During that year, he lived in Lawrence's former home in Taos, N.M.. As a teacher, he was well-liked by students, said McCabe, the UW School of Music director, who was a UW undergraduate during Mr. Verrall's tenure. "He was passionately committed to music," she said. "He lived and breathed music. That kind of teacher is just naturally inspiring. And his modest sense of self was endearing, especially to young people." His students, she said, "emerged with a great understanding in the way lines move and breathe in musical composition."
Mr. Verrall was asked to compose a choral symphony as part of the Washington Centennial celebration in 1989. The subject of the piece was Chief Joseph, and it was performed at Whitman College in Walla Walla and New York's Carnegie Hall. It was his final major composition.
Mr.Verrall, preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, last year, is survived by an older brother in Mississippi. No public memorial service will be held.
Stanley Chapple was born in 1900. He studied at the London Academy of Music where he was successively student, professor, Vice-principal and until 1936 principal. In 1920, at the age of nineteen, he was hired as director of the City of London School's opera, and he was also hired by the Aeolian Vocalion (record) Company as and piano accompanist. By 1924 he became music director, a position he held about 1929. A fascinating article by Chapple was published in the Gramophone in 1929.
By 1922 he had been invited to appear as a guest conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra; and shortly after he was made head director, although I can find no mention of this in the history of the LSO publish a few years back. In 1930 the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra invited Chapple to appear as guest conductor, and by the end of the decade he had become one of the most coveted guest conductors on the European Philharmonic circuit, travelling to Vienna, the Hague, and Warsaw.
Chapple also frequently travelled to the USA making his first voyage I believe in August 1931. Chapple’s dream of going to Russia was ruined when war broke out in 1939. He was in Boston at the time when the tour to Russia had to be cancelled. Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian then British ambassador in Washington D.C. asked him to stay in America to ‘promote good will’. During the war, Chapple conducted the National Symphony in the Watergate concerts. In 1940, the director of the Boston Symphony opened a school for conductors and orchestra musicians in Massachusetts and made Chapple its director. Thus was born Tanglewood, a music academy that is still going strong today. Leonard Bernstein was Chapple's first student there. Chapple was invited to teach at the University of Washington and to be director of the University of Washington School of Music in 1948, when the active dean of the department heard him at Tanglewood. When the Seattle Symphony lost its conductor in 1950, Chapple took over and virtually remodeled Seattle's culture. He used the Symphony as a means of introducing Seattle to the opera, ballet, and the theater. During his tenure as conductor, he greatly enhanced the professional level of symphony players In 1962, Chapple became director of symphony and opera at the University of Washington, and when he retired in 1971, Mayor Wes Uhlman asked him to direct the Seattle Senior Symphony (Musicians Emeritus), a program providing ‘encouragement and help to former music-makers wishing to resume their participation in music-making’. For the next fourteen years Stanley Chapple was the much beloved conductor of Musicians Emeritus Symphony Orchestra and Thalia Symphony Orchestra. Chapple died in on June 21st, 1987, in Seattle.
-- From a blog by "Jolyon50"
Volfgangs Dārziņš was born in 25. September, 1906 in Riga. His father was
the famous Latvian composer Emīls Dārziņš. He got the name Volfgangs in honor
of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He studied composition in the Latvian conservatory
under Jāzeps Vītols and graduated in 1929. Later he continued his studies
in conservatories and piano classes. He graduated in 1934. In 1933 Dārziņš
participated in the VIII Latvian National song festival where several of
his Latvian folk song arrangements were acclaimed. He also worked for several
Latvian newspapers as a music critic. Overall he has published more than
1000 articles. During this time he also became known for his extensive research
into Latvian folk music, mapping the distribution of many folksongs.
In 1944 he emigrated to Germany and lived in the main Latvian displaced persons center at Esslingen. In 1950 he relocated to United States and until 1955 worked as a teacher in the Spokane conservatory. He also worked in the music school of the University of Washington, and was a conductor of several church choirs. Also he continued to perform as a pianist and made several concert tours through the country. His most notable performance was in Carnegie Hall, New York in 1954. Dārziņš died in Seattle, on 24 June 1962.
Volfgangs Dārziņš is best known for his ability to include folk motives into classical music. He made more than 200 Latvian folk song arrangements for piano and voice, and also for symphonic orchestra. He has also written two piano concertos and several suites. He developed a strong original style, influenced to some degree by Bartók and Stravinsky.
Chrisopher Leuba is known as much for his pedagogical writing and lecturing and his many prominent students as for his distinguished and varied playing career. He has taught at the Aspen and Chautauqua festivals, Portland State University, and most notably the University of Washington in Seattle. His publications include A Study of Musical Intonation (highly regarded as a seminal work for teaching the principles of just intonation to musicians), Rules of the Game, Phrasing Concepts, and Dexterity Drills (all used by brass teachers around the country).
Chris was born in 1929 in Pittsburgh and now lives in Seattle. He started playing the horn during his senior year in high school, studied with Aubrey Brain and Philip Farkas, and served two terms in the United States Army (West Point and the English Midlands). He was a member of the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Orchestra), finally becoming principal horn, then served as principal horn with the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner during the 1960-1962 seasons. He has also appeared with the Philharmonica Hungarica under the direction of Antal Dorati.
Additional indication of Chris's playing range is shown by his having performed fourteen complete Wagner Ring cycles as second horn in the Seattle Opera, and appeared with Sarah Vaughn, Quincy Jones, and the Bill Russo big band. While teaching at the University of Washington (1968-1979), Chris was a member of the faculty wind quintet, Soni Ventorum, and participated in the university's Contemporary Group.
Chris was principal horn of the Portland Opera in Portland OR for 23 years and continues to participate in International Horn Society symposiums. He became an Honorary Member of the IHS in 2007.
[Verrall wrote quite a number of pieces for horn, and I wanted to point out that the recording above of Eusebius Remembered was written for and dedicated to Leuba in 1976, while the recording below of the Sonata for Horn and Piano is a different work, and is dedicated to John Barrows!]
Conductor, David André, a California native,
commenced his music studies at age five receiving his baccalaureate degree
from San Francisco State University and his master’s and doctorate degrees
from the University of Washington. A contrabassist with the Seattle Symphony,
he served as principal chairman of that section in the San Jose Symphony,
chairman of the Cabrillo College music department, and assistant conductor
for the internationally acclaimed Cabrillo Music Festival. A finalist in
the Georg Solti Conducting
Competition in 1972, he then became music director for the symphonies of
Everett (1974-77), Maui (1984-85), and Port Angeles (1973-84), which he toured
through China in 1985. He became music director of the Tulare County Symphony
in 1985, and in 1992 was designated “An American Cultural Specialist” by
the U.S. State Department.
Since that time André has been guest conducting many of the major symphony orchestras of the world every year, including those in Moscow, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Prague, Kazan, Budapest, Kiev, Minsk, Sofia, and many others. Much of his guest appearances have also found him in Central America, Mexico, Canada, and of course, the United States. He has served as chief conductor for the Alicanti Music Festival in Spain and the Arcady Music Festival in Maine, was engaged by the U.S. State Department to conduct the National Symphony of the Ukraine for the 10th anniversary celebration of U.S. diplomatic relations with the former Soviet States, and was invited by the Russian Ministry of Culture to be the first American to conduct the Russian National Folk Orchestra.
Samuel Krachmalnick (January 9, 1926, St. Louis – April 1, 2005, Burbank,
California) was an American conductor and music educator. He first came to
prominence as a conductor on Broadway during the 1950s, notably earning a
Tony Award nomination for his work as the music director of the original production
of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. He
went on to work as a busy conductor of operas and symphony orchestras internationally
during the 1960s and 1970s. He was particularly active in New York City where
he held conducting posts with the American Ballet Theatre, the Harkness Ballet,
the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Opera. His later career was
primarily devoted to teaching on the music faculties of the University of
Washington and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Born in St. Louis, Krachmalnick was a child prodigy and gave his first piano recital at the age of 8. He earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School; attending both schools on full scholarships. At Eastman he studied piano, French horn and music theory, and at Juilliard he studied conducting with Jean Morel. After graduating from Juilliard in 1952, he spent two more years at the school working as Morel's teaching fellow. He also studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood.
While at Juilliard, Krachmalnick began conducting concerts under the auspices of the International Society for Contemporary Music in 1951. In 1954 he won the Tanglewood Music Center's inaugural Koussevitsky Memorial Prize in conducting which was presented to him by Aaron Copland. That same year he served as associate music director under Thomas Schippers for the original Broadway production of Gian Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street; often serving as conductor in the pit during the production's run. It was through this production that he met his wife of 50 years, mezzo-soprano Gloria Lane, who portrayed the role of Desideria.
In 1955 Krachmalnick conducted the world premiere of Marc Blitzstein's opera Reuben, Reuben in Boston. He returned to Broadway in 1956 to serve as music director and conductor for the original production of Bernstein's Candide for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Conductor and Musical Director in 1957. He also conducted the original Broadway cast recording of the work. In 1959 he returned to Broadway one last time to serve as music director for the short lived musical Happy Town.
[The cast of the recording of Carry Nation (shown at right) includes Ellen Faull, BeverlyWolff, Julian Patrick, and Arnold Voketaitis.]
Krachmalnick also held conducting posts with the American Ballet Theatre, the Boston Arts Festival, the Harkness Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, the Symphony of the Air, and the Zürich Opera House. He also worked widely as a guest conductor at opera houses internationally, making appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, the Teatro Carlo Felice, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Teatro di San Carlo, and the Teatro Regio di Turino among others. He also worked as a guest conductor with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Zurich Symphony Orchestra among others.
From 1971 to 1976 Krachmalnick served on the music faculty at the University of Washington where he directed the university symphony orchestra. In 1974 he conducted a UW student production of Carlisle Floyd's Markheim which was recorded and Broadcast nationally on PBS. For his work he won three Emmy Awards.
From 1976 to 1991 Krachmalnick served as director of the opera theater program and the symphony orchestra at the University of California, Los Angeles. While there he played an instrumental role in shifting the school's focus from training music teachers to a more performance oriented program. Some of the student productions he conducted at UCLA were the musicals Leave It to Jane and The Boys from Syracuse, and the opera Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thomson. He ended his career at UCLA with a lauded production of Candide in 1991. After leaving UCLA he continued to teach privately.
Krachmalnick appeared as an actor in two films in small roles, Die Laughing (1980) and Brain Donors (1992). He and his wife Gloria Lane lived in Studio City, Los Angeles. They had two children, Magda and Robert. He died of a heart attack at the age of 79.
© 1988 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded on the telephone on March 12, 1988. Portions were broadcast on WNIB three months later, and again in 1993 and 1998. This transcription was made in 2016, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.