450 compositions encompassing every classical medium except opera. A vast output particularly of artsong and instrumental chamber music. Weisgarber’s oeuvre also includes several orchestral and choral works of note. His music is rooted in the high European art music tradition but is highly influenced by his profound study of Japanese music in the 1960s and 1970s. This, in combination with a stunning array of interests throughout his life, has created Weisgarber’s unique sound. A full catalog of his available works may be found at www.weisgarber.com.
Elliot Weisgarber studied clarinet and composition at the Eastman School of Music where his teachers included Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. After graduation in 1943 he spent one year teaching at Colby Junior College in New Hampshire before embarking on a 16 year stint at the Woman’s College, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In 1960 he left that position to become a member of the newly-formed music faculty at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. This decision proved to be a watershed in his development as a composer because it was on the west coast that he was to come face to face with the Asian cultures with which he had long been fascinated. This led him into a deep study particularly of, but not limited to, the music of Japan. During the course of the next two decades he spent several months of each year in Japan and became a master in the prestigious Kinko school of shakuhachi (vertical bamboo flute) playing. His continuing work at UBC partly involved the inception of the vibrant ethnomusicology program now offered by the School of Music. He retired from his professorship in 1984 and began an exciting time of travel, writing and composition which continued until his death from congestive heart failure at the end of 2001. His last work was completed in his final year and given its first performance six weeks before his death at the age of 82.