Dear friend
National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award winner William Bolcom has composed music in a range of styles that all but erases the lines between art music and popular music. And he has taught and mentored some of the foremost composers in America today.  “In his music - a vast and varied catalog that includes symphonies, operas, chamber music and song cycles — the most ingratiating and accessible strains keep company with gnarled dissonances. Ragtime and tango, Mozartean pastiche and full-scale modernism all take turns at center stage. The reason for this omnivorous but carefully controlled hodgepodge is perfectly simple, says Bolcom. “I have a huge palette of things I want to express. So I just take what I want. And then if the styles are different, I try to make sure they’re talking to each other as seamlessly as possible.” – Joshua Kosman July 28, 2018 

Our organization has a particular connection with Bill Bolcom because he had been commissioned by Loretta Dranoff to compose a piece for the Competition in 1991, called Recuerdos

In a conversation with Gabriela Lena Frank, another Dranoff commissioned composer (2013 Competition), Bill said this about his Symphony No. 9, from 2012 -  “Today our greatest enemy is our inability to listen to each other, which seems to worsen with time. All we hear now is shouting, and nobody is listening because the din is so great. Yet there is a ‘still, small voice’ that refuses to disappear…I pin my hope on that voice. I search for it daily in life and in music – and possibly the ‘Ninth Symphony’ is a search for that soft sound.” 

I hope you  enjoy this “small voice” and carry it into your life.  


Gabriele Fiorentino 
The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation
Piano Slam


When sleepless, it’s helpful to meditate on mottoes of the states.
South Carolina, “While I breathe I hope.” Perhaps this could be
the new flag on the empty flagpole.
Or “I Direct” from Maine—why?
Because Maine gets the first sunrise? How bossy, Maine!
Kansas, “To the Stars through Difficulties”—
clackety wagon wheels, long, long land
and the droning press of heat—cool stars, relief.
In Arkansas, “The People Rule”—lucky you.
Idaho, “Let It Be Perpetual”—now this is strange.
Idaho, what is your “it”?
Who chose these lines?
How many contenders?
What would my motto be tonight, in tangled sheets?
Texas—“Friendship”—now boasts the Open Carry law.
Wisconsin, where my mother’s parents are buried,
chose “Forward.”
New Mexico, “It Grows As It Goes”—now this is scary.
Two dangling its. This does not represent that glorious place.
West Virginia, “Mountaineers Are Always Free”—really?
Washington, you’re wise.
What could be better than “By and By”?
Oklahoma must be tired—“Labor Conquers all Things.”
Oklahoma, get together with Nevada, who chose only
“Industry” as motto. I think of Nevada as a playground
or mostly empty. How wrong we are about one another.
For Alaska to pick “North to the Future”
seems odd. Where else are they going?

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