Artistic Excellence in Two Genres
Tribute to Donald Waxman

Donald Waxman occupies a unique position among American composers. A highly fluent and versatile composer of chamber, choral and symphonic music, he is also a prodigious composer of pedagogical piano music, of which, in my estimation, he is without a peer. He has written over fifty piano educational works, all of them in print, a body of works that has won him significant praise and admiration for originality and the subtle use of a contemporary harmonic and rhythmic language. Indeed, this impressive collection of pedagogical music has been called “an American Microkosmos”. Educated at the Peabody Institute and the Juilliard School, he won early recognition for his creative talents. While still in his thirties he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to Paris, and his career has since been marked by many awards and commissions and performances from choruses, chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the country. The elements of song and dance are the core of all of his music, expressed in an engaging and fresh sounding tonal language. These lyrical qualities and the rhythmic vitality and originality that one finds in his concert music distinguishes his piano educational compositions in equal measure, whether in his simple music for beginners or in his extraordinary sets of etudes for advancing students.

ROBERT SILVERMAN, former Editor of The Piano Quarterly

Serenade and Fantasia for violin and piano
Donald Waxman was born in Steubenville, Ohio, Oct. 29, 1925, and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, while very young. Here at an early age his musical training began at the Peabody Conservatory, where his principle teachers were Carlotta Heller in piano, Felix Mendelssohn in cello and Elliott Carter in composition. He is a graduate of both the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School of Music (B.S. Composition), where he continued his composition studies with Bernard Wagenaar.

Mr. Waxman has written for almost every genre, including compositions for piano and piano ensemble (many of which were premiered by the composer and his pianist wife, Jho Waxman), solo instrument, chamber ensemble, voice, chorus, symphonic and chamber orchestra. Orchestral performances of his works have included the Houston Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, National Gallery Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, Oakland Symphony and others. Chamber music and choral music premieres, many of these written on commission, have included the New York Composers Forum, Bennington Composers Forum, Huntingdon Trio, Baltimore Chamber Music Society, Gregg Smith Singers and others. Three of the largest MTA (Music Teachers Association) state organizations have honored Mr. Waxman in naming him their “Composer of the Year” and commissioning from him works that were premiered at their state conventions: New York in 1985 with Trio for Two Flutes and Piano, California in 1993 with Arabesques and Ostinato for Two Pianos and Florida in 1997 with Variations on a Waltz of Diabelli for Violin, Clarinet, Cello and Piano.

The earliest awards to the composer for his creative work came to him while still a student at the Peabody and included the Gustav Klemm Composition Prize (twice) and the RCA Composition Award. In 1964-65. Mr. Waxman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to Paris. In 1989 he was awarded a gold medal as the first American Composer-in-Residence at the Kang Nung (Korea) Music Festival. In 1998 he was awarded the Delius Society's Grand Prize for American chamber music compositions.

Instrumental and choral works of Mr. Waxman have been recorded on Vox and Naxos Records; many of his instrumental, piano, vocal, choral and orchestral compositions are published by Galaxy Music (ECS Publishers). Mr. Waxman is particularly well known for his contribution to the field of piano pedagogy. His several hundred works in that genre are unique for their innovative harmonic and rhythmic language and have been called "an American Mikrokosmos".

In addition to his career as a composer, Mr. Waxman continues to be active as a pianist, conductor, teacher, lecturer and music editor. From 1970 to 1990 Mr. Waxman was Managing Editor of Galaxy Music Corporation, New York. He has served on the boards of MPA (Music Publishers of America) and ASCAP. The composer and his wife reside in Boca Raton, Florida.