For George Crumb, inspiration can spring from anywhere: it could come from any sound he may hear, his memory, or simply his imagination. Crumb has been inspired by music for most of his life, and he began composing when he was young: he obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the Mason College of Music in Charleston, a Master’s from the University of Illinois, and a D.M.A. from the University of Michigan.
Throughout his career, George Crumb has been a composer and a teacher. As a composer, Crumb was well-known for contrasting musical styles in his pieces and for using unusual timbres. In 1968, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music; in 1998, he won the Cannes Classical Award for Best CD of a Living Composer; and in 2001, he won a Grammy for the Best Contemporary Composition. Beyond these more prestigious awards, Crumb has earned many grants and awards for his work.
In addition to his own composition, George Crumb spent much of his life teaching. In 1958, he became a professor of piano and composition at the University of Colorado, and then in 1965 Crumb began to work at the University of Pennsylvania, a university he taught at for more than 30 years.
George Crumb has become one of the most notable and the most beloved American composers of the last century, and he’s not done: George Crumb continues to compose daily; he completed his seven-part American Songbook in 2010, and he’s not slowing down.