Biography RICHARD BROOKS (b. 1942) is a native of upstate New York and holds a B.S. degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music, Potsdam College; an M.A. in Composition from Binghamton University; and a Ph. D. in Composition from New York University. From 1975 to 2004 he was on the music faculty of Nassau Community College where he was Professor and, for 22 years, Department Chair.
From 1977 to 1982 he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Society of University Composers (now the Society of Composers, Inc.) on which he continues to serve as the Producer of the SCI Compact Disk Series. In 1981 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Composers Alliance. After serving two terms as Secretary and three terms as Vice-President, he was elected President in the fall of 1993. From 1992 to 1998 he was a member of the Junior/Community College Commission on Accreditation of the National Association of Schools of Music.
He has received a major grant from the SUNY Research Foundation (for composition), a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Music Center grant, and several Meet the Composer awards. In 1994 he received a commission for Quintet for Oboe (Sax) and Strings from the New York State Music Teachers National Association; the premiere performance took place at the NYSMTNA Conference in Ithaca, NY in October 1994. Landscape...with Grace, commissioned for the twentieth-anniversary season of the Kent Philharmonia Orchestra in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was premiered on April 21, 1996. Preludes to Books I & II of Paradise Lost were commissioned for January 2001 by The Lark Ascending, who commissioned him again for Four Miniatures, for viola and guitar, in 2004. A commission from Elaine Comparone and Harpsichord Unlimited in 2001 resulted in Cassation, for harpsichord, strings and percussion. A second commission from the Kent Philharmonia in 2005 resulted in Concerto for Trumpet/Flugelhorn and Orchestra.
He has composed over one hundred works in all media. His opera for young audiences, Rapunzel, was commissioned by the Tri-Cities Opera (Binghamton) in 1971 and has been mounted also by the Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Wolf Trap Farm Park, and the Denver Symphony/Central City Singers. Most recently, it received sixty-five performances by the Cincinnati Opera during the 2002-2004 season.
A full-length opera, Moby Dick, was completed in 1987, and a second full length opera, Robert and Hal, was given a workshop performance in October 2004 by The Lark Ascending. In 2008 Robert and Hal was presented in six performances by the Golden Fleece, Ltd. In a staging using a reduced orchestration at the Meisner Theater in Manhattan. Sonata for violin and piano (1973), is published in Vol. XI of the ASUC Journal of Music Scores and recorded on Record no. 5 of the ASUC Record Series (Advance label). Prelude and Lament for wind quintet (1970) and Suite for Percussion (1975) are recorded on the Capstone label (CPS-8601). Chorale Variations for Horns and Strings is recorded on compact disk by the Constanta Symphony Orchestra (Capstone CPS-8627 "Tonus Tomis"). Seascape; An Overture to Moby Dick and Landscape...with Grace are recorded by the Polish National Radio Orchestra and the Kent Philharmonia, respectively, on Capstone Records (CPS-8634 "And the Eagle Flies..."). Also on Capstone is Concerto for Trumpet/Flugelhorn and Orchestra (CPS-8801) with trumpeter Lynn Asper and the Kent Philharmonia Orchestra. Circular Motions for Flute, Clarinet and Piano is recorded on the Innova label and Sonatina for piano is available on the New Ariel label with pianist Jeffrey Jacob.
His music is widely performed at major venues and festivals throughout the United States and in Europe.
The Chorale Variations for Two Horns and String Orchestra by Richard Brooks is a much more contemporary piece, the string orchestra guiding the horn duets along with a series of chordal motifs. Brooks also highlights a separate quintet of solo strings, which manages to stand out from the regular string orchestra. The temperament of this work is very post-modern and intense. To the conductor's credit (or perhaps the sound engineers) the two horns are kept in check and do not dominate. Also of delight is a lament sequence for the string orchestra right in the middle of the work that's nicely twisted—as if the composer in the process of constructing the first draft of the composition decided to suck on a lemon for a few bars. Very nice and very unexpected.