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Concerto for Violin and Piano; Julia Perry
The awardee of two Guggenheim fellowships, Julia Perry studied composition with Luigi Dallapiccola and Nadia Boulanger, and conducted her works on a tour throughout Europe with the Vienna Philharmonic and the BBC Orchestra. She would become one of the first African-American female composers to have an orchestral work performed by the New York Philharmonic. Although she had an auspicious and promising career in her early life, it was tragically cut short by a series of strokes leading to partial paralysis and eventually, her death, at age 55 in 1979.
Perry's Violin Concerto, completed in 1968, shows the influence of Dallapiccola's teachings: sharp harmonic dissonances organized around specific pitch centers, short repetitive patterns that establish significant musical materials, and contrapuntal textures. Her fastidious performance markings in the solo violin part indicate her profound understanding of the instrument. Angular, muscled, and sparkling by turns, this piece is a sophisticated entry to the serious violinist's concert repertoire.