On this day in classical music: American composer Jacob Druckman was born in Philadelphia in 1928. Druckman studied with Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin at the Juilliard School, and later with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Druckman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his first large orchestral work titled “Windows.” He was composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic from 1982 to 1985. Druckman taught at Juilliard, the Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood, Brooklyn College, Bard College and Yale University. His students include Robert Beaser, Michael Daugherty, Aaron Jay Kernis, Cindy McTee, Christopher Theofanidis and Augusta Read Thomas. Listen to a performance of Druckman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Windows.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6Ue0va2vKg
On this day in the musical theatre: The original Broadway production of “Man of La Mancha” closed in 1971. Based on the novel Don Quixote by Cervantes, this was a tale of an actor and author who acts out his story of a befuddled knight while awaiting a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. “Man of La Mancha” ran for nearly six years and earned five Tony Awards, including one of best actor (Richard Kiley as Quixote) and best musical. “Man of La Mancha” has since been translated into countless languages and has been performed around the world. The musical’s stirring score produced the hit “The Impossible Dream.” Listen to Richard Kiley sing “The Impossible Dream.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xStXix7VDCU
Musical musings: Although he spent most of his career teaching at universities, most notably the Yale School of Music, there was little that could be called academic about Mr. Druckman’s music. He was best known for his vividly scored and viscerally dramatic orchestral works. His professional approach to composition and his belief that young composers should be out in the field working with orchestras, writing large pieces for large audiences, had a major impact on his many students, several of whom, like Michael Torke, Aaron Jay Kernis and David Lang, have achieved significant success. – From Druckman’s obituary in The New York Times.