HAROLD FARBERMAN—whose entire catalog of music is listed below—was born November 2, 1929 on New York City's Lower East Side. Coming from a family of musicians (his father was the drummer in a famous 1920's klezmer band led by Schleomke Beckerman; his brother was a drummer and his first percussion teacher, Irving Farberman a cousin, was a percussionist who played under Toscannini with the NBC Symphony) it was inevitable that he pursue music as a career. After graduating from The Juilliard School of Music on scholarship in 1951, Farberman became the youngest member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) when he joined its percussion section.
With a performer's knowledge of percussion instruments and a dissatisfaction with their conventional treatment by most composers, Farberman became an early advocate for the use of percussion sonorities as a major voice in compositional structures. During his twelve year tenure with the BSO, Farberman earned a Master's Degree in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music. His very first work, Evolution, written in 1954 for soprano, French horn and seven percussionists, is scored for over one hundred percussion instruments and has been recorded four times, once by Leopold Stokowski.
After hearing Evolution, in 1955. Aaron Copland invited Farberman to study composition with him at Tanglewood. In 1956, the Quartet for Flute, Oboe, Viola and Cello received first prize in the New England Composer's Competition with Walter Piston as head of the jury. In 1957, Greek Scene, a trio for mezzo soprano, piano and percussion was chosen to represent the United States in an International Composer's Symposium held in Paris. Within the next few years a growing interest in his music led to several commissions and awards.
During the summer that Farberman studied composition with Copland, he was also one of three active conductors in Maestro Eleazar DeCarvalho's conducting class, and in 1963 Farberman left the Boston Symphony to embark on a conducting career that has earned him an international reputation. He has been Music Director of the Colorado Springs, CO and Oakland, CA Symphonies, Principal Guest Conductor of the Denver, CO Symphony and the Bournemouth (Great Britain) Sinfonietta. Farberman has been a frequent guest conductor and recording artist of major orchestras, including The London Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic, BBC English Chamber Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Swedish Radio, Danish Radio, Hessischer Rundfunk, Linz Philharmonic, Mozartium Orchestra, Hong Kong, Seoul Philharmonic, KVS, Sydney Symp, Melbourne Symphony, Australia and Jerusalem Philharmonic, Israel to name a few.
For his dedication to the music of Charles Ives, through performance and recordings, Farberman was awarded the Ives Medal by the Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the founder of the Conductors Guild and also created the Conductors Institute, the premiere training ground for young conductors from around the world. His text The Art of Conducting Technique is published by Alfred Music.
Like Farberman the conductor, the music of Harold Farberman is well traveled and has been heard in numerous international venues.
Although he has composed
steadily over the years, his compositions have often been overshadowed by his more visible
role as a conductor. Cortelu hopes you will take the opportunity to examine the catalog
and create a memorable 80th year for Maestro Farberman in your 2009-2010 season.