William Jay Sydeman
William Jay Sydeman is one of America’s most prolific and inventive composers. In an era in which many of his colleagues have defined their careers through a handful of brief works, he has produced an output whose scope and variety are absolutely unique. His work is a prominent part of late 20th century American music – widely published and frequently performed – but the full extent of it’s accomplishments will probably not become entirely clear until we are well into the new millennium. At that time, when classical radio stations and mainstream ensembles have exhausted their repertoire of 18th and 19th century music, they will begin to explore our century, and there is no doubt that the rich veins of Mr. Sydeman’s creation will be a much-mined and frequently heard treasure.
There is a fluency and inspired craftsmanship illuminating Sydeman’s more than 400 compositions that is reminiscent of the Baroque and Classical eras. When asked recently if there are some forms he has yet to examine, he responded that he has written for just about every medium: “…two operas, scads of chamber music, ten orchestral pieces. There’s nothing that I still want to explore. But,” he continued, “it’s like every new piece is an exploration.” This is where Sydeman continues to work, getting in touch with his muse on a daily basis, and returning again and again to create works on what he calls “the edge of the process”.