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Hear Museum Art (B.L.C./Greenfest) <> Mad Dreams and Brits
THE PRINTED WORD
RECENT RELEASES, 31
COMPOSER INDEX, 34
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Chamber Players In Concert for Impact
Birtwistle: Refrains and Choruses
Meyer Kupferman (1926-2003)
By Leo Kraft
Meyer Kupferman died the day before Thanksgiving, 2003 at the age of 77. He had been ill for several weeks and finally his stout heart gave out.
Meyer lived life to the fullest. He was a prodigious composer, a marvelous clarinetist, a caring teacher, and the focus of a group of friends and former students who looked to him for musical leadership. His home in Rheinbeck, New York was a musical center, where he and his devoted wife Pei-Fen welcomed members of the community.
If ever a composer was an autodidact it was Meyer Kupferman. While he was aware of the major contemporary trends, he resolutely followed his own path. He found his own language at an early age, and while he deepened and broadened that, he never changed his course. An independent spirit, he performed his own music, established a company, Soundspells, to publish and record his work. Meyer was not associated with any group or camp. He was his own man. Pei-Fen and his loyal friends will carry through the unfinished recordings of his final works.
From his early days Meyer Kupferman was able to elicit the support and cooperation of many fine performers. His music was performed by Ronald Roseman, Samuel Baron, Gilbert Kalish, Catherine Rowe, and Kazuko Hayami, among others. His supporters were not limited to American musicians for he found adherence in Mexico and in the Czech Republic. Some of these appear on recordings of Kupfermans, always adding their special combination of virtuosity and commitment.
Although (naturally) primarily interested in promoting his own music, Kupferman was also concerned with the work of his friends. For a number of years he presented an annual concert in what was then Carnegie Recital Hall. In these concerts he generously included works by as many as five of his friends, a number of which were written for the occasion. I was the beneficiary of his generosity on three occasions, and the music I wrote with Meyer in mind has a special place in my oeuvre. I cannot think of another composer with so generous an attitude toward his colleagues.
A large man with large energies and enthusiasm, Meyer Kupferman created a large body of work, which will find its place as posterity forms its judgments. He was a very definite musical presence, and will be missed.