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date: 14 December 2019

Baley, Virko locked

  • Kyle Gann

Extract

(b Radekhov, Oct 21, 1938). American composer and conductor of Ukrainian birth. He studied at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Art (BA 1960, MM 1962; later the California Institute of the Arts), where his teachers included Earle Voorhies and Morris Ruger; he also studied the piano with Rosina Lhevine and composition with Donald Erb and Mario Davidovsky. He joined the music department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1970. He has also served as founder-conductor of the Nevada SO (1980–95), music director of the Las Vegas Opera Company (1983–8) and principal guest conductor and music advisor of the Kiev Camerata (from 1995). His scholarly work has established him as an authority on Soviet music.

Although Baley's music frequently refers to Ukrainian sources, his style became increasingly Americanized after 1980. The First Violin Concerto (1987) includes Ukrainian folk elements and exhibits a European polish and mood, but its unusual orchestral textures, rippling with celeste, vibraphone and harpsichord, seem American, as does the energetic drumming of the second movement ‘Dies irae’ and the muted jazz trumpet of the final ‘Agon’. His gradual move away from a mournful, Eastern European, somewhat neo-classical idiom climaxed in ...

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