Music from the Fleisher Collection, Vol. 4
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Continuing our Fleisher Collection Series, this volume concentrates on the early orchestral works of John Biggs.

John Biggs was born in Los Angeles, the eighth of 11 children. His father was organist-composer Richard Keys Biggs and his mother was singer-conductor Lucienne Gourdon. During his youth he received training in acting, singing, piano, bassoon, and violin, and was a member of his father's church choir. He received his Masters Degree in composition from the University of California at Los Angeles, with further study at the University of Southern California and the Royal Flemish Academy in Antwerp, Belgium. His teachers were Roy Harris, Lukas Foss, Ingolf Dahl, Flor Peeters, and Halsey Stevens. "I received a Fulbright Grant in 1964 to study composition with Flor Peeters at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, Belgium. I was 32, and eager to write a large work. I used October, November, and the first part of December to write the symphony. The premiere of the work took place on May 15, 1965, with me conducting the Antwerp Philharmonic. My Symphony No. 2 was commissioned by the York Symphony of York, Pennsylvania and premiered on April 26, 1992, with Robert Hart Baker conducting. While attending a concert at the University of Southern California in 1958, I heard a composition by Halsey Stevens based on the epic poem The Ballad of William Sycamore by Stephen Vincent Benet. I was so moved by the music, and especially by the text, that I decided I would someday set the very same poem. The opportunity came 36 years later, when I was commissioned by the New West Symphony of Ventura County, California, to compose a piece for the opening of their inaugural season. The premiere took place on October 6th and 7th , 1995. The conductor was Boris Brott, and the narrator was Michael Gallup."
Contents:
John Biggs, composer
Symphony No. 1
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor

John Biggs, composer
Symphony No. 2
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor

John Biggs, composer
The Ballad of William Sycamore
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor, Jonathan Dunn-Rankin, narrator

Review:
"...attractive and well-crafted work that deserves to be more widely-known." (Gramophone)

"--stylish suggestion of vast spaces and ingrained strength proved compelling." (Ventura County Star)
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