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Composer

Eric Funk (1949-); USA

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Eric Funk

Eric Funk was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1949. His principal teachers in composition include Tomas Svoboda, Sandor Veress, and Krzysztof Penderecki. Since 1985, he has lived in Bozeman, Montana, where he has recently concluded a long run as Music Director and Conductor of the Helena Symphony Orchestra and the Helena Symphonic Chorus (1994-2002). In 1994, he co-founded the Gallatin Chamber Orchestra (likewise based in Bozeman), which he continues to conduct. Mr. Funk has taught music theory at colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Montana. He is currently on the faculty at Montana State University.

Mr. Funk's considerable compositional output includes five symphonies, three operas, six ballet scores, three large works for chorus and orchestra, thirteen concertos, several orchestral tone poems, and numerous works for chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and vocal works. Among recent prominent premiers of his works include his one-act solo opera for contralto and ballet troupe, Akhmatova, based on key texts from the Russian poet's life, his Violin Concerto, and the song cycles Gongora (for baritone and chamber orchestra, on texts by the Spanish baroque poet) and Sequentia (contralto and 9-person chamber ensemble, on texts by Paul Celan). Newly completed works include the massive Mandelshtam: A Valediction to the 20th Century, a work in 5 movements for large chorus, two orchestras, and amplified string quartet, based on poems by the Russian poet Osip Mandelshtam. The latter was commissioned by the Gallatin Performing Arts Center for their upcoming grand opening. Past performance venues for his works include Carnegie Hall, the Renda Theater, and the Gaudeamus International Interpreters of Contemporary Music Festival (Rotterdam); as well as numerous theaters and concert halls in the U.S. and Eastern Europe. His works have earned him numerous awards and commissions, including 13 ASCAP Standard Awards, the 2001 Governor's Award for the Arts (Montana), and three Arts Commission Fellowships.

Numerous compositions of Mr. Funk have been recorded commercially - all of which are accessible here. These include three releases on the MMC label, featuring three of his symphonies (Nos. 1, 3, and 4), as well as two concertos and a string quartet. His Symphony No. 5, "Dante Ascending" was recently released on the composer's own label, and recorded by the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra and Opera Chorus, conducted by Terje Mikkelsen.

Mr. Funk has received considerable media attention in recent years. He was featured on the Charles Osgood CBS Sunday Morning show in October of 1998, which in turn followed on the heels of a front page story in the New York Times "Arts & Leisure" section (April 14, 1998). More recently, Mr. Funk was featured on the nationally syndicated NPR radio show, "Theme & Variations" (August 23-30, 2002).

Reviews

"[The] Symphony No. 2 ("Montana") is Funk's 'Alpine Symphony,' a work on the broad emotional scale of Richard Strauss's mountain-inspired symphony. The majestic opening, with its unfurling chords and noble brass lines, presents a vista of 'bigness.'... Funk conveys a sense of spaciousness through low brass and high strings, building towering massifs of sound, punctuated by harmonic suspensions that resolve beautifully."

The Oregonian

"The most worthwhile music on the disk (MMC Chamber Music Series, vol.2) is Eric Funk's 11-minute String Quartet No.2, an homage to Shostakovich. Funk's long opening Adagio explores a vein of deeply felt grief in a moving threnody that descends to the depth of unmitigated despair... While inspired by Shostakovich, Funk's quartet remains an individual work, and in its construction and intensity of utterance it is both moving and compelling."

Fanfare, 1998

Eric Funk
email: ericfunkcomposer@hotmail.com
website: http://www.ericfunk.com

Eric Eric Funk was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1949. His principal teachers in composition include Tomas Svoboda, Sandor Veress,... More
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