“William Mayer’s music speaks to the heart, the gut and the mind ... one of the outstanding composers of our time.”

— David Dubal, Faculty, The Juilliard School 

“William Mayer’s work
sings out with real beauty.”


— John Rockwell, The New York Times






























Bill Mayer at his ‘Eighty-Eight’, Everett Kinstler, 1973


Music: “Country Fair”, Robert Nagel brass trio

Site © William Mayer



William Mayer
 
 William Mayer

Best known for his prize-winning opera A Death in the Family, in which Dawn Upshaw has sung the lead, Mayer has composed in virtually every genre. His career has been studded with such memorable events as Leopold Stokowski (at age eighty-eight) and soloist William Masselos premiering his piano concerto Octagon with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
    Among Mayer’s most performed works are the ballet suite Scenes from the Snow Queen, which has been heard in such cold climes as Minneapolis and Oslo and twice programmed by the Philadelphia Orchestra; Inner and Outer Strings; Hello, World! (Susan Otto), an orchestral voyage for children in which Eleanor Roosevelt has served as narrator; and two pieces for smaller forces: a choral setting of Langston Hughes’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers and a sextet, Dream’s End, of which the New York Times wrote, “... its blend of pain, joy and acceptance is very moving.” AmeriGrove comments on Mayer’s humour. But most singled out is a lyric vein coursing through his scores.

A Death in the Family CD

The Center for Contemporary Opera’s production of
William Mayer’s A Death in the Family was named
Best Production of the 2012 Armel Opera Festival and Competition. “To my mind, A Death in the Family is one of the most beautiful and powerful operas ever written.”
—Jim Schaeffer, General Director [VIDEO: Three Excerpts ]


“I was surprised to find my eyes
welling up with tears at the ineffable beauty
of the wedding of text and music.”


— Charles Parsons, American Record Guide
about A Death in the Family