STORRS , Conn.–
Noted composer and music educator Kenneth Fuchs, who was recently named head of the University of Connecticut’s music department, has a new disc featuring conductor JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra performing three of his original works.
For Fuchs, the CD, released by Naxos on the American Classics label earlier this month, represents the culmination of 15 years of his creative life as a composer and 18 years of friendship that began when he, Falletta and Thomas Stacy, English hornist of the New York Philharmonic who performs with the LSO on the disc, were colleagues at The Juilliard School in New York City.
The disc also showcases Fuchs’ business savvy and entrepreneurial acumen, as he had only a few months to raise the funds necessary for the nine-hour session with the world-class orchestra, which has recorded an extraordinary number of movie sound tracks, including all of the Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Superman films and many of American composer Aaron Copland’s scores.
“Composers today must be resourceful about getting recognition for their works and getting them into the musical mainstream,” Fuchs said. “The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the great orchestras of the world. What sets the orchestra apart is that it begins recording upon first reading of the music. I had never before witnessed that level of virtuosity. It was a thrill.
“Recording my compositions with the LSO also was a highly instructive experience for me, which I will use to teach our students at UConn the years of practice and patience it takes to perfect their craft as well as the ever-changing industry side of music,” Fuchs added.
The American String Quartet will present select compositions by Fuchs at a concert Sept. 22 at UConn’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. The concert will launch the Jorgensen’s 50 th anniversary season, which will be celebrated with performances by Tony Bennett, the Boston Pops and the London Philharmonic, among others.
Fuchs’ disc with the LSO features three works: An American Place, a 19-minute work for full orchestra in one movement, which the composer has described as “intended to suggest the rich body of music created by the American symphonists who have come before me and from whom I continue to take inspiration”; Eventide, a 21-minute concerto for English horn, harp, percussion and string orchestra; and Out of the Dark, a 15-minute suite for chamber orchestra, inspired by three paintings by abstract expressionist artist Helen Frankenthaler.
“Kenneth Fuchs is one of the most talented, active and visible music executives in the United States today,” said School of Fine Arts Dean David Woods. “His experiences at Juilliard and as a dean at the Manhattan School of Music and director of the School of Music at the University of Oklahoma provide him with the unparalleled background needed to join the University of Connecticut as it continues to develop its School of Fine Arts into an arts and cultural destination for the Eastern seaboard.”
As the new director of UConn’s music department, Fuchs oversees a staff of more than 40 accomplished performers, scholars and educators. He also is responsible for the music department’s signature programs, including the Sackler Composition Prize, the largest cash prize given by an institution of higher education for the commission of new work, and its internship program with the Metropolitan Opera, the only existing academic partnership between a university and the world’s most prestigious opera company.
“Dean David Woods is a visionary who has made enormous strides in fundraising and planning for the future of the School of Fine Arts, including the Frank Gehry design for the school’s new home,” Fuchs said. “I look forward to working with him and the faculty to bring the music department squarely into the national spotlight as a leader and innovator in music higher education.”
For more information about Kenneth Fuchs, including a complete biography, please visit www.kennethfuchs.com. For more information about the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts, please visit www.sfa.uconn.edu.