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Syracuse University musical composition professor Daniel S. Godfrey named a recipient of the 2001 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
Syracuse University musical composition professor Daniel S. Godfrey named a recipient of the 2001 John Simon Guggenheim FellowshipApril 28, 2001Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Nationally renowned composer Daniel S. Godfrey, professor of musical composition in Syracuse University’s Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music, has received a 2001 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. The award will enable him to take a year off from teaching so that he can focus on writing three new works. “The Guggenheim is a big plus,” Godfrey says. “It will allow me to focus on projects of my own choosing, without the constraints of a particular commission or performance occasion.” Godfrey has three such compositions planned, although he will first complete his current project, “Breath and Shadow,” chamber music for bassoon and string quintet. That piece will be premiered in July at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Godfrey is writing the work for bassoonist Chuck Ullery, one of the foremost bassoonists in the United States. Ullery requested the work after performing in the premiere of another Godfrey composition, “Symphony in Minor,” in October 1999 as a member of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota. Godfrey will then begin work on a concerto for piano and chamber winds in honor of Yale University’s Tercentennial celebration. The work will premier Nov. 14 and will feature pianist Wei-Yi Yang, assistant professor of keyboard at SU, and 12 undergraduate and graduate student wind players from Yale. Thomas Duffy, associate dean of Yale University’s School of Music, will conduct the ensemble. Although Godfrey has written some 50 works during the course of his career, he has never written a piece for a “Pierrot ensemble”–a standard contemporary instrumental grouping of voice, flute, violin, clarinet, cello and piano. The fellowship will give Godfrey an opportunity to compose a piece for Pierrot ensemble called “A Juliet Cycle,” where he will set selected lines from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to music. The piece will be premiered in the fall of 2002 by Ensemble X, a group of musicians from Cornell University and Ithaca College. Finally, Godfrey plans to work on a short orchestral piece he has envisioned for some time, to be titled “Seraph” after the fantastical angelic figure from Biblical mythology. “I have always wanted to write an orchestral work that is brief and ephemeral, that flashes and fades as in a dream,” Godfrey says. “This is my chance.”
Godfrey, who began his career at SU in 1983, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1982, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Yale University School of Music in 1973 and 1975, respectively. In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, Godfrey’s recent accomplishments include an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1998); a commission from the Barlow Endowment for Music for “Symphony in Minor” (1999); a commission from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation for his “String Quartet No. 3” (2000), which was premiered in Philadelphia by the Cassatt String Quartet, SU’s professional quartet-in-residence; and a commission from the Big 10 Band Directors Association for “Shindig” (2000), a work for horn and wind ensemble, which was premiered at the University of Michigan and will be performed by ensembles from the other Big 10 universities during the next year. The John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship program was established to provide scholars and artists (except those in the visual arts) with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. No special conditions are attached to the grants, and fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work. In 2001, 183 fellowships were awarded in the United States and Canada from a pool of 2,728 applicants.