January 31, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—“Mega-Ditties,” a selection of pieces by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, who is retiring as the Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Music at Amherst College after 36 years, will be performed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb.19, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst. The concert, and a reception following in the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons, are free and open to the public.

The program will include “Mega-Ditty” for percussion duo, with Eduardo Leandro and Ricardo Bologna, percussionists; “Toccapsody” for piano, with Eric Wubbels; “Piccolosophy” for piccolo and piano, with Ellen Redman, piccolo, and Clifton J. Noble, Jr., piano; “Ophélie” for soprano and piano, with Melinda Spratlan, soprano, and Gary Steigerwalt, piano; and “Streaming” for piano quartet, with Yvonne Lam, violin, Margaret Dyer, viola, Susie Yang, cello and Gilbert Kalish, piano.

A recent review in The New York Times noted that Spratlan’s “style, though challenging, is lucid, engrossing and vibrantly imaginative.”

Spratlan has taught at Amherst College since 1970, when he founded and conducted the Amherst-Mount Holyoke Orchestra. A native of Miami, he studied with Mel Powell and Gunther Schuller at Yale University and the Yale School of Music, and also has taught and conducted at Tanglewood and the Yale Summer School of Music and Art. His compositions have won many awards and prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for Life Is a Dream, Opera in Three Acts: Act Two, Concert Version, which had its world premiere at Amherst in 2000.

Spratlan’s recordings include Two Pieces for Orchestra (Opus One Records), Night Music (Gasparo) and most recently When Crows Gather and Other Works (Albany), performed by the New York Ensemble Sequitur, which The New York Times named one of the top five classical recordings of 2005. His music has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami, London, Moscow, Montreal, Toronto and, perhaps most significantly, Boston, where he has received commissions and premieres from the Boston Musica Viva, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, soprano Karol Bennett and pianist John McDonald. Other New England-based ensembles, including the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Lydian String Quartet, the Windsor Quartet and Ancora have performed his works as well. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, Massachusetts Artists Foundation and MacDowell Fellowships.