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Obituary

American Composer George Crumb Has Died At Age 92

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MEDIA, PA (CelebrityAccess) – American composer George Crumb passed away Sunday at his home in Media, PA, confirmed by his recording label, Bridge Records. No cause of death was announced.

Peter Matthews from New York City, United States, CC BY 2.0 

Crumb’s 1970 work Black Angels was a protest against the Vietnam War that used spoken word, water glasses and electronics. The first movement, “Threnody I: Night of the Electric Insects was used in the soundtrack for The Exorcist and David Bowie declared the original recording of Black Angels to be one of his favorite albums of all time, according to NPR. “It is a study in spiritual annihilation … it scared the bejabbers out of me,” said Bowie.

Crumb won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for his work Echoes of Time and the River and a 2001 Grammy Award for 1977’s Star-Child, which included soprano, a male speaking choir, children’s choir, large orchestra and bell ringers.

He continued to compose later in life and was celebrated by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on his 90th birthday, where he presented a brand new piece for percussion quintet.

George Henry Crumb, Jr. was born in Charleston, WV in 1949 to two professional musicians, his mother (cellist) and his father (clarinetist) who played in the local orchestra. Crumb began composing at the age of 10 and was exposed to eclectic musical styles growing up, including gospel, country, folk and pop.

Crumb attracted a legion of students and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught from 1965 to 1995. Many of his pupils became influential composers in their own right, including Jennifer Higdon, Melinda Wagner and Christopher Rouse.

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