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Mel Powell Edit Profile


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.


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 of staff, head faculty composition, formerly dean, California Institute Arts, Valenciaprovost, California Institute Arts, Valencia, 1972-1976;now Institute fellow, Roy E. Disney chair in music composition, California Institute Arts, Santa Clarita, California.


  • Other Work

    • 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).