American Composer Gordon Getty Turns 85
American composer Gordon Getty celebrates his 85th birthday on December 20, 2018. Mr. Getty's music has been widely performed in North America and Europe in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London's Royal Festival Hall, Vienna's Brahmssaal, and Moscow's Tchaikovsky Hall and Bolshoi Theatre, as well as at the Aspen, Spoleto, and Bad Kissingen Festivals.
About his compositions, Getty has said: "My style is undoubtedly tonal, though with hints of atonality, such as any composer would likely use to suggest a degree of disorientation. But I'm strictly tonal in my approach. I represent a viewpoint that stands somewhat apart from the twentieth century, which was in large measure a repudiation of the nineteenth and a sock in the nose to sentimentality. Whatever it was that the great Victorian composers and poets were trying to achieve, that's what I'm trying to achieve."
Mr. Getty's discography includes Young America, choral works performed by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas; Joan and the Bells, a cantata portraying the trial and execution of Joan of Arc; two recordings of The White Election, a song cycle on poems by Emily Dickinson; his Orchestral Works with Sir Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Piano Pieces recorded by the gifted pianist Conrad Tao; and his operas Plump Jack, Usher House and The Canterville Ghost. His latest recording (released in August, 2018), Beauty Come Dancing, sets poetry by John Keats, Lord Byron, John Masefield, Sara Teasdale, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Ernest Christopher Dowson, as well as poetry by Mr. Getty himself. The recording features James Gaffigan conducting The Netherlands Radio Choir and Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recent performances of Mr. Getty's works include his "Scare Pair" (Usher House and The Canterville Ghost) presented by the Los Angeles Opera in June, 2018, and presented in New York by The Center for Contemporary Opera in October, 2017. A performance of his cantata, Joan and the Bells, was presented by the Berkeley Symphony in February, 2018. Mr. Getty was the subject of the 2016 documentary film There Will Be Music, by director Peter Rosen. PBS broadcast the film nationwide in 2017.