Ralph Shapey

Ralph Shapey

Profile:
Ralph Shapey (Philadelphia, March 12, 1921 – Chicago, June 13, 2002) was an American composer and conductor. He is well known for his work as a composition professor at the University of Chicago, where he founded and directed the Contemporary Chamber Players. Shapey was a MacArthur Fellow in 1982.
Although Shapey's style is characterized by Modernist angularity, irony, and technical rigor, his coincident concern for sweeping gesture, frenetic passion, rhythmic vitality, lyrical melody, and dramatic arc recall Romanticism. Shapey was dubbed by critics Leonard Meyer and Bernard Jacobson as a "radical traditionalist," which pleased him immensely—he held a deep respect for the masters of the past, whom he regarded as his finest teachers.[citation needed]
The French-American composer Edgard Varèse was among Shapey's most important influences. Both composers shared a fascination with unusual sonorities, counterpoint masses, and the outer extremes of pitch space. The coordination of static "sound blocks" in Shapey's music also reminds one of another great French composer, Olivier Messiaen, though Shapey reportedly found Messiaen's music saccharine and maudlin. Shapey also studied with Stefan Wolpe.[citation needed]
Although comparisons are useful, Shapey's compositional voice is undoubtedly personal and distinctive. Many listeners would call his music[weasel words] "atonal," but Shapey himself denied the label. He considered himself a tonal composer, and indeed his work, though couched in a highly dissonant harmonic idiom rich in interval classes 1 and 6, does adhere to certain organizational features of tonal music, including pitch hierarchy and object permanence.[citation needed]
In 1992 the Pulitzer Prize for Music jury, which that year consisted of George Perle, Roger Reynolds, and Harvey Sollberger, selected Shapey's "Concerto Fantastique" for the award. However, the Pulitzer Board rejected that decision and choose to give the prize to the jury's second choice, Wayne Peterson. The music jury responded with a public statement stating that they had not been consulted in that decision and that the Board was not professionally qualified to make such a decision. The Board responded that the "Pulitzers are enhanced by having, in addition to the professional's point of view, the layman's or consumer's point of view," and they did not rescind their decision.
Shapey created a body of over 200 works, many of which have been published by Presser. Presser also offers his textbook A Basic Course in Music Composition, written after over fifty years of teaching the subject. Recordings of Shapey's music are available on the CRI, Opus One, and New World labels. Shapey's works have been catologued by Dr. Patrick D. Finley in A Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Shapey, published by Pendragon Press
His students include Gerald Levinson, Robert Carl, Gordon Marsh, Michael Eckert, Philip Fried, Matt Malsky, Lawrence Fritts, James Anthony Walker, Frank Retzel, Jorge Liderman, Jonathan Elliott, Deborah Drattell, Ursula Mamlok, Shulamit Ran, Terry Winter Owens, and a very broad and exceptional list of others.
The composer Robert Black was particularly influenced by him, and as a conductor he also premiered Shapey's Three for Six.
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Artist

Ralph Shapey Discography Tracks

Albums

CRI SD 232 Ralph Shapey, John Macivor Perkins Ralph Shapey, John Macivor Perkins - Music For 13 Players(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 232 US 1964 Sell This Version
DC 7124, DC7124, DC-7124 Ralph Shapey / Emmanuel Ghent Ralph Shapey / Emmanuel Ghent - Songs Of Ecstasy / Helices(LP) Desto, Desto, Desto DC 7124, DC7124, DC-7124 US 1970 Sell This Version
CRI SD 275 Ralph Shapey / Seymour Shifrin Ralph Shapey / Seymour Shifrin - Rituals / String Quartet No. 6 / Three Pieces For Orchestra(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 275 US 1972 Sell This Version
CRI SD 355 Ralph Shapey Praise(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 355 US 1976 Sell This Version
GS-1045 The Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago, Ralph Shapey The Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago, Ralph Shapey - Ben-Zion Orgad: Dialogues On The First Scroll / Jacob Gilboa: The Beth Alpha Mosaic(LP, Album) Grenadilla Records GS-1045 US 1977 Sell This Version
CRI 391, SRD SD 391 Ralph Shapey String Quartet #VII(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI), Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI 391, SRD SD 391 US 1978 Sell This Version
CRI SD 428 Ralph Shapey, Robert Black (4) Ralph Shapey, Robert Black (4) - Fromm Variations (31 Variations For Piano)(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 428 US 1980 Sell This Version
CRI SD 423, CRI 423 James Ostryniec - Rochberg* / Seeger* / Shapey* / Schuller* / Julian* / Singer* James Ostryniec - Rochberg* / Seeger* / Shapey* / Schuller* / Julian* / Singer* - Music For Oboe (La Bocca Della Verita / Diaphonic Suite No. 1 / Rhapsodie / Trio / Wave Canon / Work)(LP, Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI), Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 423, CRI 423 US 1980 Sell This Version
CRI SD 435 Ralph Shapey The Covenant(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 435 US 1982 Sell This Version
CRI SD 501 James Ostryniec - Witold Lutoslawski / Ralph Shapey / Ruth Crawford Seeger / Charles Ives / Otto Luening James Ostryniec - Witold Lutoslawski / Ralph Shapey / Ruth Crawford Seeger / Charles Ives / Otto Luening - Epitaph / Sonata / Three Songs / Adagio Sostenuto / Legend(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 501 US 1984 Sell This Version
CRI SD 509 Shulamit Ran / Ralph Shapey Shulamit Ran / Ralph Shapey - Apprehensions / Three For Six(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 509 US 1984 Sell This Version
CRI SD 496 Wanda Maximilien - Ralph Shapey / Gerald Chenoweth / Robert Moevs Wanda Maximilien - Ralph Shapey / Gerald Chenoweth / Robert Moevs - Encore(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 496 US 1984 Sell This Version
Maryvonne Le Dizes-Richard* - Elliott Carter, Tod Machover, John Melby, Ralph Shapey Maryvonne Le Dizes-Richard* - Elliott Carter, Tod Machover, John Melby, Ralph Shapey - Hidden Sparks (Album) New World Records US 1986 Sell This Version
Faye-Ellen Silverman, Ralph Shapey With Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Stephen Mosko, David Shostac, Joel Krosnick, Gilbert Kalish, Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago*, Ronald Anderson Faye-Ellen Silverman, Ralph Shapey With Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Stephen Mosko, David Shostac, Joel Krosnick, Gilbert Kalish, Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago*, Ronald Anderson - Works By Faye-Ellen Silverman And Ralph Shapey New World Records US 1987 Sell This Version
80413-2 New York Woodwind Quintet / Martin Bresnick, Mel Powell, Ronald Roseman, Ralph Shapey New York Woodwind Quintet / Martin Bresnick, Mel Powell, Ronald Roseman, Ralph Shapey - Works By Bresnik, Powell, Roseman, Shapey(CD, Album) New World Records 80413-2 US 1991 Sell This Version
80541-2 Leslie Bassett, Ralph Shapey, William O. Smith, Harvey Sollberger, Robert Erickson, Andrew Imbrie, Robert Hall Lewis, Robert Morris (3) Leslie Bassett, Ralph Shapey, William O. Smith, Harvey Sollberger, Robert Erickson, Andrew Imbrie, Robert Hall Lewis, Robert Morris (3) - New Music For Virtuosos (CD, Album) New World Records 80541-2 US 1998 Sell This Version
Z6728 Ralph Shapey Songs of Life(CD, Album) Arabesque Recordings Z6728 US 1999 Sell This Version
BRIDGE 9243 Roger Sessions & Ralph Shapey Roger Sessions & Ralph Shapey - Sessions & Shapey(CD, Album) Bridge Records (4) BRIDGE 9243 US 2007 Sell This Version
CRI 141 Yehudi Wyner / Ralph Shapey Yehudi Wyner / Ralph Shapey - Serenade / Evocation(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI 141 US Unknown Sell This Version
CRI SD 245 Thomas Putsché / R. Murray Schafer / Henry Weinberg - Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago*, Ralph Shapey Thomas Putsché / R. Murray Schafer / Henry Weinberg - Contemporary Chamber Players Of The University Of Chicago*, Ralph Shapey - The Cat And The Moon / Requiems For The Party-Girl / Cantus Commemorabilis I(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 245 US Unknown Sell This Version

Compilations

CD 690 Ralph Shapey The Covenant; Rituals; Incantations(CD, Album, Comp, RM) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CD 690 US 1995 Sell This Version