George Flynn (b. 1937) grew up in Montana and Washington, and discovered Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata in his teens. He counts that work as an early important musical influence. He later received his degrees (including his DMA) at Columbia University, New York City, where he also taught while performing new music in a variety of New York venues, including the downtown Tone Roads series that promoted the music of Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff as well as a host of younger composers and the Fluxus movement, as well as his own “Music By” series at Columbia. He also taught at Lehmann College (CUNY) before coming to DePaul University’s School of Music in Chicago, where he chaired Musicianship Studies and Composition for 25 years before retiring. While at DePaul he started and directed that school’s professional new music performance series “New Music DePaul,” as well as Chicago’s “New Music at the Green Mill” series. He currently co-directs the new music series “Chicago Soundings.” Flynn lives in Chicago, and continues to write, perform and be performed.
Flynn has composed over 150 works in all media, including nearly six hours of piano solo music, and is performed internationally. Many of Flynn’s works reflect extra-musical interests: American Rest (mixed piano quartet), Pieces of Night (piano) and Songs of Destruction (soprano, trumpet, piano) meditate on the Vietnam experience; American Voices (chorus, horn & piano), American Icon (piano), American Festivals and Dreams and American Enchantment (both for string quartet), American Summer (piano trio) and American City (piano and winds) all explore images of America. His chamber duos – especially those for piano and string instruments – consider human relationships; and some piano solos acknowledge composers: Toward the Light (Scriabin), Derus Simples (Sorabji) and Remembering (Ives), while others – e.g. TRINITY (Kanal, Wound, Salvage) and Glimpses of Our Inner Lives – seek to expand the limits of gestural, technical and poetic elements.
As a pianist and composer Flynn has performed and recorded new music for many years in the US and Europe, and has recorded for Turnabout, ATCO, Finnadar, Wounded Bird and Southport records. LP recordings include works by John Cage, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen and Jan Akkerman (a member of the Dutch group Focus) as well as his own – Wound (piano solo), Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, and Kanal (piano solo). The many CDs of his music are available from a variety of retail and on-line sources, including most notably the Southport Composers label, which recently released Flynn’s Poetry and Music CD, featuring song settings of works by Chicago poets as well as American Howl Quartet, a setting for a narration of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. Fredrik Ullén’s BIS recording of Flynn’s 114-minute piano solo, Trinity, is available, with the entire score (over 150 pages) included (pdf format) on the second disk. (Flynn has also recorded Trinity on the Southport Composers label.) Pianist Carlo Grante has recorded Flynn’s Glimpses of Our Inner lives on the Music and Arts label.
Flynn has served as visiting lecturer/composer at many music institutions throughout the country, Canada and Europe, and has contributed articles to several
American publications, including The Musical Quarterly, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Program Guide, and Christian Century. He is the recipient of awards from many individuals and organizations, among them the Alice B. Ditson Fund, the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, Paul Fromm, Illinois Arts Council, the Polish Arts Club, DePaul University, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. Flynn is a member of ASCAP, and is entered in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary, and Maurice Hinson’s Guide to the Piano Repertory.
Flynn’s recorded music can be heard (for free) at: http://www.prlog.org/10293211-classical-connect-completes-the-george-flynn-project.html.