Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

Felciano, Richard (James)

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Felciano, Richard (James)

(b Santa Rosa, CA, 7 Dec 1930). American composer. He studied at the San Francisco State College (BA 1952), Mills College (MA 1952), where his teachers included Milhaud, the Paris Conservatoire and the University of Iowa (PhD 1959). He also studied privately with Dallapiccola in Florence (1958–9). After serving as chair of the music department at Lone Mountain College, San Francisco (1959–67), he joined the composition department at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been active at the San Francisco Tape Music Center (1964) and at the National Center for Experiments in Television (1967–71). From 1971 to 1973 he held the position of composer-in-residence for the city of Boston (1971–3), during which he created a 14-channel electronic environment for City Hall and composed Galactic Rounds (1972), an orchestral work using Doppler shifts to explore the time-space continuum. After a residency at IRCAM (1982–3), he founded the University of California's Center for New Music and Audio Technologies, an interdisciplinary facility linking music to cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science and architecture, disciplines that inform much of his work. His honours include awards from the Italian and French governments, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Fromm, Ford, Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations.

Felciano's music reflects a fascination with the physical world and the context it provides for its inhabitants. He has introduced electronic sounds into religious liturgy (Pentecost Sunday, 1967), used live electronic interaction to mimic ecological processes (Angels of Turtle Island, 1972), intermingled Eastern and Western modes (In Celebration of Golden Rain, 1977) and mapped the microcosm of psycho-acoustical phenomena (Shadows, 1987; Masks, 1989). The power of his music, however, lies in its ability to ennoble the intellect through a paradoxically sensuous love of sound and transform technology into a celebration of the human spirit.



Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (chbr op, R. Fahrner, after anon.), 1964, San Francisco, 3 April 1964


Choral: 4 Poems from the Japanese (trans. K. Rexroth), female vv, 5 hp, perc, 1964; The Captives (T. Merton), SATB, orch, 1965; Te Deum, solo vv, 3 Tr, SATB, mar, pf, org, 1974; The Seasons (Felciano), SATB, 1978; 9 others for vv and various insts

Solo: Lumen (Dante), S, org, 1980; Furies (Felciano), 3 S, 3 fl, 1988; Streaming/Dreaming (Felciano), S, 1994; Vac (Felciano), female v, cl, vn, vc, pf, 1995


Orch: Mutations for Orch, 1966; Galactic Rounds, 1972; Orch, 1980; Org Conc., 1986; Camp Songs, 1992; Sym., str, 1993; Overture concertante, cl, orch, 1995

Chbr and solo inst: Evolutions, cl, pf, 1962; Contractions, mobile, ww qnt, 1965; Spectra, fl ens, db, 1967; In Celebration of Golden Rain, gamelan, org, 1977; Dark Landscape, eng hn, 1985; Lontano, hp, pf, 1986; Constellations, multiple brass qnts, hn ens, org, 1987; Shadows, fl, cl, pf, perc, vn, vc, 1987; Masks, fl, tpt, 1989; Palladio, vn, pf, perc, 1989; Primal Balance, fl, db, 1991; Cante jondo, cl, bn, pf, 1993; Str Qt, 1995; 8 others

Kbd: Gravities, pf, 4 hands, 1965; The Tuning of the Sky, carillon, 1978; Berliner Feuerwerksmusik, 3 mobile carillons, 1987; Prelude, pf, 1997; 5 others

electro-acoustic and multimedia

With voices: Words of St Peter (Bible: I Peter ii.1–9), SATB, org, elec, 1965; Glossolalia (Ps cl), Bar, org, perc, elec, 1967; Pentecost Sunday: Double Alleluia (Ps ciii.30), unison chorus, org, elec, 1967; Sic transit (St Matthew, J.F. Kennedy, M.L. King), vv, org, elec, lighting, 1970; Out of Sight (Felciano), SATB, org, elec, 1971; Signs (R.B. Fuller, Teillard de Chardin, J.-F. Revel, St Luke), SATB, elec, slide projections, 1971; Three-in-One-in-Three (Felciano), antiphonal choruses, org, opt. insts, elec, 1971; The Angels of Turtle Island (Felciano), S, fl, vn, perc, live elec, 1972; Responsory (Lat.), male v, live elec, 1991; 6 others

With insts: Crasis, fl, cl, perc, pf, hp, vn, vc, 1967; Linearity (video), hp, live elec, 1968; Background Music (theatre piece), hp, live elec, 1969; Ekagrata, org, 2 perc, elec, 1972; Chöd, vn, vc, db, 2 perc, pf, live elec, 1975; Alleluia to the Heart of Stone, amp rec, 1984; 6 others

With kbd: God of the Expanding Universe, org, elec, 1971; 3 others

Other: Noösphere II, 1967; The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria (incid music, Arrabal), 1969; 5 others


Recorded interviews: US-NHoh

Principal publishers: Belwin-Mills, E.C. Schirmer, Peters, E.B. Marks, World Library, Fallen Leaf Press

Principal record companies: Opus One, Musical Heritage Society, Gothic Records, Albany



J. Price: ‘Video Pioneers’, Harper's Magazine, no.1465 (1972), 87–92

A. Custer: ‘Current Chronicle: New England Contemporary Music Circuit’, MQ, lxi (1975), 131–7, esp.134–5 [on The Angels of Turtle Island]

S. Christansen: The Sacred Choral Music of Richard Felciano (diss., U. of Illinois, 1977)


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