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Jacob Druckman; Composer Won Pulitzer Prize

May 30, 1996|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jacob Druckman, a composer and educator who won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize in music for his complex orchestral composition "Windows," has died. He was 67.

Druckman died Friday in New Haven, Conn., of lung cancer. He had taught at the Yale School of Music for the last two decades.

"Windows," Druckman's first work of massive orchestral scale, was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1972, and first performed in Southern California by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1976, when a critic described it as "chaotic" and "hyperbusy."

The eclectic composer won critical praise here, however, when he organized a "Composer's Choice" concert including five of his works for members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Mark Taper Forum in 1981. A Times music critic described the performed works: "Bo" for three players as "poetic and contemplative"; "Animus III" for clarinet and tape as "satiric"; "Valentine" for solo contrabass as "erotic and ironic"; "Delizie contente che l'aime beate" for wind quintet and tape as "complex, convoluted and psychosexual," and the piece "Incenters" for 13 instruments as "intellectual."

The Orange County Philharmonic Society commissioned Druckman to compose "Seraphic Games," which was premiered by conductor Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in 1992.

He was inspired to compose the piece, Druckman told The Times, by a dream of "super-angels . . . creating and destroying entire worlds with the detachment of a chess game."

"It's typical for me," said Druckman, also known for drawing on mathematical principles, "to have, on the one hand, a kind of emotional or visceral feeling about a piece and, on the other, a very intellectual, structural notion of what the piece should be like."

Druckman was a former composer in residence with the New York Philharmonic.

In 1991 he was appointed president of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, which controlled the late composer's assets. Druckman had studied composition with Copland at the Berkshire Music Center in 1949 and 1950.

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