Charles Wuorinen (b. 9 June 1938, New York City) has been composing since he was five and has been a presence on the American musical scene for more than four decades.
In 1970, he became the youngest composer to win the Pulitzer Prize (for the electronic work Time's Encomium). The Pulitzer and the MacArthur Fellowship are just two among many awards, fellowships, and other honors to have come his way.
Wuorinen has written more than 250 compositions to date. His newest works include Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra for Peter Serkin, James Levine, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Eighth Symphony for the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and Metagong, for two pianos and two percussion.
His Haroun and the Sea of Stories, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, was premiered by the New York City Opera in Fall, 2004.
Wuorinen's operatic treatment of Annie Proulx's Brokeback Mountain (libretto by the Author) will have its premiere in Madrid in January of 2014.
Iin 1975 Stravinsky's widow gave Wuorinen that composer's last sketches for use in A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky. Wuorinen was the first composer commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnanyi (Movers and Shakers); and likewise the first to compose for Michael Tilson Thomas' New World Symphony (Bamboula Beach). Fractal geometry and the pioneering work of Benoit Mandelbrot have played a crucial role in several of his works, including Bamboula Squared, and Natural Fantasy, a work for organ.
Wuorinen's works have been recorded on nearly a dozen labels, including several releases on Naxos, Albany Records (Charles Wuorinen Series), John Zorn's Tzadik label, and a CD of piano works performed by Alan Feinberg on the German label Col Legno.
C.F. Peters Corporation is his exclusive publisher. He is the author of Simple Composition, used by composition students the world over.
Wuorinen has lectured at universities throughout the United States and abroad, and has served on the faculties of Columbia, Princeton, and Yale Universities; the University of Iowa, University of California (San Diego), Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, State University of New York at Buffalo, and Rutgers University.
He has also been active as pianist and conductor of his own works, in addition to other twentieth century repertoire. His orchestral appearances have included the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the American Composers Orchestra.
In 1962 he co-founded the Group for Contemporary Music, one of America's most prestigious ensembles dedicated to performance of new chamber music. In addition to cultivating a new generation of composers and performers, commissioning and premiering hundreds of new works, the Group has been a model for many similar organizations which have appeared in the United States since its inception.
Charles Wuorinen is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.