Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gary Noland

Gary Noland grew up on a plot of land three blocks south of UC Berkeley known as People's Park, which has distinguished itself as a site of civic unrest since the 1960s. As an adolescent, Gary lived for a time in Salzburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where he absorbed many musical influences. Educated at Berkeley, the Boston Conservatory, and Harvard, where he studied with many famous and distinguished teachers, including the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, his catalogue consists of over 400 works, which include piano, vocal, chamber, experimental and electronic pieces, full-length plays in verse, "chamber novels," and graphically notated scores. His "39 Variations on an Original Theme in F Major" for solo piano (Op. 98) is, at almost two hours duration, one of the longest set of solo piano variations in the history of the genre. He has been called "the Richard Strauss of the 21st century," "court jester to the classical establishment," and "the most virtuosic composer of fugue alive today." His compositions have been performed and broadcast in many locations throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia. Gary has taught music at Harvard and the University of Oregon and currently teaches piano, theory, and composition as an independent instructor in Portland, Oregon. A number of his works (fiction, music, and graphic scores) have been published (and/or are slated for publication) in various litmags, including Quarter After Eight, The Berkeley Fiction Review, The Portland Review, Denali, The Monarch Review, The NewerYork Press, The Writing Disorder, Prick of the Spindle, and Heavy Feather Review. His graphic scores are included in Theresa Sauer's book "Notations 21," which is a sequel to John Cage's celebrated compilation of graphic scores "Notations" (first published in 1969). His scores are available for purchase at J.W. Pepper, RGM, and Freeland Publications. Six CDs of his compositions are available on North Pacific Music at:

Representative Works:

"Grande Rag Brillante" (Op. 15, 1979, revised 1989) is, quite possibly, the longest and most technically challenging piano rag of all time. This work was premiered on 4 October 1991 at the inauguration of the (then) brand new Pacifica Radio (KPFA) facility in Berkeley, California. The premiere is mentioned in Nicolas Slonimsky's celebrated book listing the most important (in his opinion) musical events and premieres of the 20th century: "Music Since 1900." Recordings of these works and many others by Gary Noland are available for purchase at:

"Fantasy in E Minor" (Op. 24, 1984, revised 1992) for cello and piano performed by two of Oregon's most distinguished musicians—cellist Hamilton Cheifetz and pianist Victor Steinhardt.

"Effete Stinkopations" (Op. 72, No. 2, 2004) from "24 Postludes" for piano. Performed by Gary Noland.

Visit Me Online:
• Music: YouTube (about 100 compositions). Houseconcerts
• Web
• Video: YouTube and VIMEO
• Social Media

Oregon Connection: I moved to Eugene from Berkeley with my wife Kaori in February, 1993. After feeling claustrophobic in such a tiny town, we finally moved to Portland in 2005. Last year (2013) we moved to another even tinier dot of a town—Lake Oswego—which is (thankfully) within walking distance to the Portland border. While in Eugene I resumed my composers concert series Seventh Species, which I founded in San Francisco in 1990. In our early days we put on regular concerts at Mills College in Oakland. Seventh Species had its successful Oregon debut concert in Eugene in November, 1994. In the twenty years since that time, I have organized well over fifty Seventh Species concerts in Oregon featuring works by scores of living composers, mostly in Portland and Eugene but also in Corvallis and Monmouth. In 2008 I became one of the seven founding members of Cascadia Composers and was active on its board for four years. Since moving to Oregon I have made my living as a private instructor of composition, theory, and piano.