After obligatory stays at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School in his native Rochester, modern classicist David Diamond spent his formative years in Paris where he, like Aaron Copland a decade before, prepped with legendary coach Nadia Boulanger and befriended influential artists and intellectuals. His exposure to Ravel, Roussel, and Stravinsky shaped his aesthetic, and the intense lyricism and piquant chromaticism that color the bulk of his work owe much to French impressionism. Though conversant in many 20th-century musical fads, Diamond only incorporated those that served his austere yet expressive purpose. An unconventional contrapuntalism that conjures restless vitality distinguishes much of his varied output. Beginning with his first major orchestral piece, Psalm in 1936, Diamond won accolades from the establishment and an enviable string of prestigious fellowships and teaching posts, yet never quite achieved the popularity and renown of his older rival Copland. An 80th-birthday salute mounted by the William Ferris Chorale offers another chance to assess his place in American music. The program includes three Chicago premieres–Psalm 98, This Is the Garden (both for choruses), and Sonata no. 2 for Cello–as well as a selection of the songs Diamond set to texts by such literary iconoclasts as E.E. Cummings, Gertrude Stein, and Theodore Roethke. Diamond will be present to discuss his career. Friday, 8 PM, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 690 W. Belmont; 527-9898.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/David Diamond.