The widely performed composer Charles Wuorinen died on Wednesday ‘from complications after sustaining a fall in September 2019’.
He was 81.
He leaves around 270 works, mostly written in 12-note style with complex yet elegant and accessible themes.The most attention was claimed by the opera Brokeback Mountain, commissioned by Gerard Mortier for the Teatro Real in Madrid and premiered there in January 2014. Wuorinen also received commissions from Christoph von Dohnanyi at Cleveland and James Levine at the Boston Symphony. New York City Opera premiered his opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories based on the novel by Salman Rushdie in 2004.
New York born, he founded The Group for Contemporary Music to promote such fellow-modernists as Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter and Stefan Wolpe. He won a Pulitzer at age 32 and a Macarthur Fellowship a decade later. He taught at Columbia and Manhattan School of Music. His interests included fractal geometry, astrophysics, Egyptology and Chinese calligraphy.