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Mel Powell

Mel Powell, American composer. Named Guggenheim fellow; recipient Creative Arts medal, Brandeis University, 1989, Pulitzer prize for music, 1990; grantee grantee, National Institute Arts and Letters. Member of Arnold Schoenburg Institute (honorary life).


  • Powell, Mel was born on February 12, 1923 in New York City.

  • Education

    • Studied piano from age 4. Studied composition with, Ernst Toch, Los Angeles, 1946—1948. Student Paul Hindemith, Yale University, from 1948.

      Bachelor of Music, Yale University, 1952.


    • Member, chairman faculty composition Yale University, 1957—1969. Member staff, head faculty composition, formerly dean California Institute Arts, Valencia, provost, 1972—1976, Institute fellow, Roy E. Disney chair in museum composition Santa Clarita.


    • Albums include Six Recent Works, 1982-1988, The Return of Mel Powell, 1989. Composer: Duplicates: A Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (premier Los Angeles Philharmonic), 1990 (Pulitzer prize for music, 1990), Modules for chamber orchestra (recorded Los Angeles Philharmonic), 1991, Woodwind Quintet (recorded 1991), Setting for Two Pianos (recorded 1992), Settings for Small Orchestra (commissioned by chamber orchestras of St. Paul, Los Angeles, New Jersey), 1992, Settings for Guitar (recorded 1993), numerous other compositions. Subject of profile New Yorker magazine.


    Member of Arnold Schoenburg Institute (honorary life).
    Mel Powell
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    Born February 12, 1923
    Died April 24, 1998
    (aged 75)
    • 1952
      Yale University
    • 1957 - 1969
      Member, faculty composition Yale University
    • 1957 - 1969
      chairman, faculty composition Yale University
    • 1972 - 1976
      member, faculty composition
      Valencia, California, United States
    • 1972 - 1976
      head, faculty composition
      Valencia, California, United States