InstantEncore
Biography
 American composer, musicologist and native New Yorker Douglas Townsend was still actively composing, teaching, writing and producing concerts until just days before his death in Manhattan at age 90, on August 1, 2012.  After graduating from Manhattan's famed High School of Music and Art, he privately studied composition with a succession of well-known composers of the day:  Tibor Serly, Stefan Wolpe (five years), Aaron Copland (on a scholarship to Tanglewood), Otto Luening (on two scholarships to the Middlebury Composers' Conference), and Felix Greissle. He enjoyed early success when, at only 17 years of age, his Contra Dances won a nationwide contest for student composers and was performed by the CBS Symphony on a national radio broadcast (Bernard Herrmann conducting). Seven years later, just one day after turning age 24, his Sonatina for Piano Solo No. 1 was premiered at Carnegie Hall by the internationally well-known female concert pianist Ray Lev.

Over the next seven decades and into his final year, 2012, Townsend composed well over 100 original works: symphonies, concertos, chamber and ballet music, film scores, and incidental music for theatrical productions. His vocal works include operas, operettas and choral music; and he has written extensively for wind ensembles and concert bands.  He was the recipient of numerous commissions and grants, including a grant in composition from the National Endowment for the Arts.  More recently he received two '08 Meet the Composer awards (one from MTC and one from NEFA); four consecutive ASCAPlus awards in '08,'09,'10,'11; and an '07 award from the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.  Just two months before his death, he won the 2012 Composers Concordance "Generations" Composition Competition in the category "age 70 and up" for a work for brass quintet with optional percussion entitled Dr. Jolly's Quick Step.  Much of his work has been published and remains in print (C.F. Peters, Carl Fischer, Theodore Presser, Boosey & Hawkes, Alfred, Shawnee, Tetra/Continuo), recorded, videotaped, podcast, broadcast, performed and/or reviewed, as have his editions and arrangements of over 70 compositions from the 18th and 19th centuries which he brought to light and prepared for performance with the aid of research grants to Europe (Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, the New York State Bicentennial Revolution Commission, the New York State Council on the Arts).  

The most popular of these Townsend editions/arrangements at home and abroad have proven to be the published editions for winds such as Rossini's March for the Sultan Abdul Medjid and his Three Marches for the Marriage of the Duke of Orleans;  Donizetti's Sinfonia for Winds in g minor and his March for the Sultan Abdul Medjid; Jadin's Overture in F; Catel's Symphonie Militaire; Hummel's Three Marches for Band; and Gossec's Suite for Band.  Also frequently performed in the U.S. and internationally are Townsend's published choral editions of Neukomm's Mass in F (for Three Equal Voices) and his Mass in C (for Two Equal Voices), both of which were championed by renowned choral conductor Doreen Rao in her workshops and incorporated into her Boosey & Hawkes series entitled Choral Music Experience.  Especially popular with audiences are Townsend's editions of Donizetti's Ave Maria for Solo Soprano, SATB Chorus and Strings, and of Rossini's Dolcissima Maria for Soprano Solo, SSA Chorus and Piano.  Some of the countries besides the U.S. where Townsend's editions and arrangements for winds and for chorus are frequently performed are: Italy, Germany, Japan, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, the Czech Republic, England, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Mexico and New Zealand.  (Townsend's original compositions have also been performed in many of those countries, with the addition of Argentina, South Korea, and Taiwan.) 

Townsend's works and editions have been performed at the major indoor and outdoor venues in New York City:  Carnegie Hall ('03), Avery Fisher Hall ('13), Town Hall, Weill Recital Hall ('08), Carnegie (now Weill) Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall ('04), Times Hall (now the Times Center), the Carl Fischer Concert Hall, the Great Hall at Cooper Union, the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 92nd Street Y ('01), Nagle Street Y ('14), Columbia University's McMillin (now Miller) Theatre, Columbia Teachers' College Milbank Memorial Chapel ('10,'11), Faculty House of Columbia University ('15), Trinity Church Wall Street ('08), DiMenna Center for Classical Music ('12), Scandinavia House Victor Borge Hall ('19), The Concert Space at Beethoven Pianos ('15), Judson Memorial Church, Church of St. Ignatius Loyola ('08), Broadway Presbyterian Church ('12), Saint Peter's Church ('08,'10,'11,'12,'13), Fort Washington Collegiate Church ('13), Donnell Library Center, NY Public Library--Hamilton Grange Branch ('12), The Cloisters (Metropolian Museum of Art) ('17); outdoors Naumburg Bandshell Central Park, Damrosch Park Lincoln Center, Great Lawn Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx) ('07,'08), Prospect Park (Brooklyn), Washington Square Park, Dyckman Farmhouse Museum ('17), Muscota Marsh ('17), Bruce Reynolds Memorial Garden ('17).   Some of the distinguished performers of his works and editions have included the soloists Gary Graffman, Jaime Laredo, Carol Wincenc ('09), Per Brevig, Davis Shuman, Stanley Drucker ('07), Anthony Newman, Ray Lev and Shirley Verrett; the choral groups the Metropolitan Opera Madrigal Singers, the Young People's Chorus of the City of New York ('01,'06), the Zamir Chorale, the Interracial Fellowship Chorus; and such premiere concert bands as The President's Own U.S. Marine Band, the famed Goldman Band, the Dallas Wind Symphony ('09), the Allentown Band ('06,'07), the Virginia Grand Military Band ('12), the Concord Band, the West Point Band ('19) and the American Concert Band ('10).  A variety of professional orchestras have performed Townsend's works and editions, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Philadelphia's Mozart on the Square Festival Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion ('13), the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Players ('06), the National Symphony Orchestra of Indonesia (OSNI) ('13), the Jupiter Symphony Orchestra, the Little Orchestra Society, the Clarion Concerts Orchestra, the Bronx Arts Ensemble Orchestra ('07), the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia), the Oklahoma City Symphony (now Philharmonic) Orchestra, the Wichita Symphony, as well as the tri-state region's Ridgefield (CT) Symphony ('08), Norwalk (CT) Symphony ('07), New Haven (CT) Symphony ('08), and the Garden State (NJ) Chamber Orchestra. 

Additionally, numerous university, college and youth orchestras, wind ensembles, piano ensembles and concert bands have performed Townsend's works and editions, including the universities of Texas ('08), Illinois, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Indianapolis ('19), Wisconsin ('09,'13,'15,'17), Tennessee ('04, '18), Georgia ('07), Iowa ('03,'09,'11,'15), Toronto ('13), Southeastern Louisiana ('09), Eastern Washington ('13), Delaware ('10), Maine ('09), Western Ontario ('08,'11,'15), Northern Colorado ('13), Northern Kentucky ('13), Louisville ('12), Cincinnati ('13), Bridgeport ('08); as well as SUNY Purchase ('13), SUNY Fredonia ('10), SUNY Oneonta ('10), SUNY Orange ('10,'13), CUNY-Queens College ('08), CUNY-Hunter, The New School--Mannes (NY) ('15), Hofstra Univ. (NY) ('07), Drew Univ. (NJ) ('15, '18), Iowa Wesleyan Univ. ('06,'16), Troy Univ. (AL) ('12,'17,'18), Clarke Univ. (IA) ('17), Kent State Univ. (OH) ('00), North Carolina State Univ., Emporia State Univ. (KS) ('18), Tainan National Univ. of the Arts (Taiwan) ('16), Bob Jones Univ. (SC) ('05), Northwestern Univ. ('16), Indiana University ('16), Marshall Univ. (WV) ('17), Baylor Univ. (TX), Boston University, Florida International Univ. ('14), Oklahoma Baptist Univ. ('14), Marywood Univ. (PA) ('16), California State ('12,'14,'17), Texas State ('11), Iowa State ('18), Ohio State, Oregon State ('03, '09), Louisiana State ('15), Appalachian State (NC), Sam Houston State Univ., Weber State (UT) ('12), Metro State Univ. Denver ('16), Mercyhurst Univ. (PA) ('18), Central Michigan Univ. ('11),  Eastern Michigan Univ. ('18), and Montclair State (NJ) ('11).  Some of these performances have been by invitation on programs at such prestigious events as the College Band Directors National Ass'n Conference. Colleges include: Boston Conservatory ('06), Hartwick College (NY) ('14), Bethel College (KS) ('08,'14,'16,'17), Parkland College (IL) ('17), Monmouth College (IL) ('15), Mission College (CA) ('13), Dordt College (IA) ('12), Century College (MN) ('11).  

Youth orchestras affiliated with the Topeka Symphony (KS) ('10), the Lebanon Symphony (OH) ('13), and the Norwalk Symphony (CT) have performed his works; as have the NJ Youth Symphony, Sacramento Youth Symphony (CA) ('12), the Mother Lode Youth Symphony (CA) ('11), the Pocono Junior String Orchestra (PA) ('02,'03), and the Green Mountain Symphony (VT) ('10). Also the ensembles and youth orchestras of such private music schools as the Bloomingdale School of Music (NYC) ('17), the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center (NYC) ('04), the Hoff-Barthelson Music School (Scarsdale, NY) ('10), the Staten Island Conservatory of Music ('10), the Bennett Conservatory of Music (Croton-on-Hudson, NY) ('04), the Omaha Conservatory of Music (OK) ('16), and the Birmingham-Southern College Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts ('09); and of such highly-rated public middle schools as Salem Middle School (Virginia Beach, VA) ('11,'12), Hopkins Junior High School (Fremont, CA) ('17), Midvale Middle School (UT) ('14), and John Adams Middle School (NJ) ('10), the last of which performed by invitation Townsend's string Fantasy on "All the Pretty Little Horses" at the 2010 New Jersey Music Educators Ass'n State Conference. Two of Townsend's editions for youth recently have been featured in invitational performances at the 2017 California All-State Music Education Conference (Beethoven/Townsend "Sonatina in G"); and in the 2016 concerto competition (age range 8-10) of the Colorado State Music Teachers' Association (Clementi/Townsend "Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 36, No. 6).  The large number of public high schools performing Townsend's works and editions for both orchestra and concert band precludes enumerating the names, but the list spans the nation and includes some of the most highly rated schools with music programs in the country. Several of these high schools have performed Townsend works and editions at important invitational festivals and workshops: Annual Midwest Clinic: An Internat'l Band & Orchestra Conference ('01); Pacific Basin Music Festival in Hawaii ('10), Kentucky Music Educators Ass'n H.S. Concert Band Festival ('13,'18), So. California School Band & Orchestra Ass'n Festival ('13), Oklahoma Educators Ass'n Workshop: Orchestra Honor Concert ('13), All-City (NYC) H.S. Concert Band & Orchestra Concert ('06,'07).  With respect to youth internationally, the Jugendorchester Freiamt [Youth Orchestra Freiamt] performed Townsend's popular Fantasy on "All the Pretty Little Horses" for String Orchestra at Boswil, Switzerland ('08); and South Korea's Seoul International School Suzuki Violin Section ('14) performed the first movement of his Concertino for Four Violins (from his Quartets for Developing Violinists or Violin Sections).  In 2013 the Jakarta (Indonesia) Music Foundation sponsored a piano concerto competition (under age 12) featuring Townsend's 3-movement Sonatina in G, an arrangement for piano solo and string orchestra of Clementi's piano sonatina op. 36/2.  (The young winner performed with the National Symphony Orchestra (OSNI) of Indonesia, conducted by Jap Tji Kien on 4/7/13 in BSD City near Jakarta.)  In Wellington, NZ, at the 2012 Big Sing National Finale, the Gloria from Townsend's edition/arrangement of Neukomm's Mass in C was sung to great effect by the renowned Chilton St. James School Seraphim Choir. Finally, not to be overlooked are the large number of community orchestras, bands and choruses across the country which have also performed his works, such as the Northshore Concert Band (IL),  Princeton's Westminster Community Orchestra, Interlochen's Adult Band Camp (MI) ('19), Manhattan's fine Broadway Bach Ensemble ('12) and Cape Cod's Falmouth Chamber Players Orchestra ('13), the last two of which gave memorial performances of Townsend's lively Concerto "in the old style" for Three Solo Violins and String Orchestra.  The Taghkanic Chorale and Orchestra (NY) ('14) and the Fairfield Chorale and Orchestra (CT) ('09) each performed Townsend's popular edition of Donizetti's Ave Maria for soprano and SATB chorus and strings.

As a musicologist (privately mentored by Paul Henry Lang,  Joseph Braunstein, Carleton Sprague Smith, Barry S. Brook), Townsend has researched and written for publication over 500 program notes, record liner notes, reviews and articles.  His liner notes are on the sleeves of recordings produced by RCA Victrola, Columbia Masterworks, CBS Classics, Vanguard, Nonesuch, Vox Turnabout, Harmonia Mundi France, Desto, and, predominantly, the Musical Heritage Society (where he was also the editor of its periodical, the Musical Heritage Society Review, from 1977-80).  Townsend's reviews of performances of contemporary music have been published in "Musical America;" and his reviews of new scores and recordings have appeared multiple times in the Music Library Association's "Notes" and in "The Musical Quarterly," a publication of the Oxford University Press.  His most recent scholarly article appeared in 2008, with the publication by the University of Rochester Press of a book of scholarly essays on Carl Czerny entitled Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity, to which Townsend contributed a chapter analyzing Czerny's symphonies, concertos, and overtures.  Also as a musicologist, Townsend researched and collected hundreds of neglected music scores by 18th and 19th century European composers.  This important archive, entitled The Douglas Townsend Microfilm Collection, is housed in Princeton University's Mendel Music Library.  As a musicologist, Townsend acted as artistic advisor to the founding directors/conductors of several major professional performing arts organizations, many of which are still in existence. These included Richard Franko Goldman (who succeeded his father in directing the famed Goldman Band); Jens Nygaard (Jupiter Symphony Orchestra); Thomas Scherman (The Little Orchestra Society); Newell Jenkins (Clarion Concerts Orchestra); Marc Mostovoy (Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, now the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia based at the Kimmel Center); Frederick Storfer (Garden State Chamber Ensemble); and Frederic Waldman (Musica Aeterna).

Townsend had a combined 20 years or more of experience teaching music history, composition, orchestration and theory at Brooklyn and Lehman colleges (CUNY) and at Purchase College (SUNY).  His last position was as an Adjunct Professor of Composition in the Music Department of the University of Bridgeport (CT), where he had taught for six non-consecutive years.  Students of his who went on to careers in composition were:  Russ Landau (2008 Emmy) and Justin Tierney (who in '17 received a doctoral degree in music at Duke Univ.), both while at UB; Brian Israel and Matthew Greenbaum, both while at Lehman (CUNY).  From July '09, he served on the Concert Committee of the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance.  He was a Sing for Hope donor artist, and a member of ASCAP and of the American Music Center.  With his wife, Jean, he produced and curated the annual Social Networking Concerts held in Manhattan at Saint Peter's Church to promote the work of living composers and the musicians who perform their compositions. He embraced the social media including YouTube (www.youtube.com/douglastownsend; and www.youtube.com/douglastownsendcomposer), Instant Encore (www.instantencore.com/douglastownsend), and Facebook, where he had over 2800 Facebook friends.  He was residing in Manhattan at the time of his death from pneumonia at NY Presbyterian Hospital, the Columbia-Presbyterian Campus.


NOTE:  With the exception of the first paragraph, only 21st century performance dates have been shown because of space consideration.



 




 

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