Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bill Whitley

Elements of gregorian chant, Indian raga music, gamelan, rock and progressive rock are frequently present in Bill Whitley’s work; and western composers who continue to influence his work include Brian Eno, John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, Tetsu Inoue, Giacinto Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Lou Harrison, Pauline Oliveros, and Paul Dresher

“Ad emergere, distintiva, è una vena narrativa che si esplica nella studiata interpolazione di incisivi episodi melodici e ritmici, insieme a momenti di sospeso e incantato lirismo.” -Filippo Focosi, Kothodik eZine, October 2017." (A distinctive narrative that emerges is the interpolation of incisive melodic and rhythmic episodes, together with moments of suspended and enchanted lyricism.)

“… exceptional command of melody and compositional form. The music…stands head and shoulders above others of its ilk…” – Textura eZine, August 2017 review of Bill’s I DREAM AWAKE recording.

 “Whitley composes music of integrity and sophistication that’s also disarmingly accessible—not an easy combination to achieve, even if he makes it sound easy…” -Textura eZine, August 2017

Whitley’s music has been performed primarily in Italy, and in the U.S., by ensembles ranging from Symphony Orchestra to Solo Electric Guitar. Commissions consist of chamber, choral, vocal, and orchestral works. His most recent work, Then Elephant Speaks, commissioned by Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan, is scored for two guitars, harp, vibes, and two pianos.

Bill was born in the Northwest United States, and he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1994 from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington where he studied organ, piano, and composition. In 2000, he earned a Master of Music degree in composition at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho; and in 2007, a PhD in composition at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon.

Bill has studied composition with Robert Kyr, David Crumb, Robert Dickow, Dan Bukvich, and Fr. Kevin Waters; and has had master classes with Lou Harrison, George Crumb, Veljo Tormis, John Adams, and John Corigliano.

Whitley has taught at The University of Idaho, Western Oregon University, The University of Portland, and The University of Oregon. He currently teaches Music Theory, Aural Skills, Composition and Piano at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. 

Bill Whitley’s music is recorded on Teal Creek Music and Ravello Records,and his sacred choral works are published by Trinitas Choral Series.

Representative Works:
• Lily of Force (2009)
• Awake (2015)
• Little White Salmon, IV. Mouth (2011)
• The Circles

Visit Me Online:
• Music: SoundCloudCD BabyTeal Creek MusicAmazon.comJW Pepper
• Web: Society of Composers: William Whitley
• Video: YouTube
• Social Media: FacebookLinkedin

Oregon Connection:
I feel like Portland is my cultural inheritance. Maybe because I was born in Brewster, Washington, where the Okanogan flows into the Columbia, and I have always retained a special relationship with the Columbia river, and much of my work references it, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.
Perhaps this is what drew me to the Valley.

I have lived and worked as a composer and musician in Oregon since 2000. From 2000-2004, I was a doctoral student of Robert Kyr and David Crumb at the University of Oregon. After my coursework at the UofO was completed (2004), I began teaching composition at Western Oregon University. I taught at WOU from 2004-2015 before taking an out-of-state Visiting Professorship.
Since 2016, I have been working as professional composer, while continuing to live in the Mid-Willamette valley.

As long as I'm living on an immediate tributary to the Columbia, I continue to be at home.