Title: Crow Magnum

Composer: Theodore Wiprud

Where to get the music:: Contact Theodore Wiprud at ted@theodorewiprud.com.

Crow call (Knight & Hale Magnum Crow Model 404 or similar)
Five graduated tin cans (if available, use specially designed Crow Contraption)
Temple blocks
3 Tom toms
Bass drum with foot pedal
Medium cowbell
Medium tam-tam
Wooden wind chime

Duration: 8 minutes

Composerís Notes: For a concert devoted entirely to my music and sponsored by Greenwich House in New York in 2001, I wanted to include at least one touch of humor in a line-up of fairly serious pieces. I also wanted to represent my penchant for percussion music, without being able to present one of my percussion quartets. The obvious answer was Crow Magnum.

My brother, Brian Wiprud -an author, engineer and offbeat inventor-readily agreed to create the substrate for something unusual. I requested the inclusion of crows, a leitmotif in his constructions. Soon he presented me with a contraption involving five ornate Asian metal cans, fixed on their side on a base, with four life-size crows towering above on lamp goosenecks, each crow outfitted with blinking red eyes (independently addressable) and each can with a brilliant light that would flash on its own rhythm.

The instrument and its lights dictated the piece to me (although it is playable with a simple set of cans with neither crows nor lights). At the time I was working with The Rite of Spring in high school classrooms, so this piece became rather a parody. I imagined an unruly flock of young crows assembling, dancing to the moon, receiving their revered elder and listening to his tales of the old days, and a final, frenzied dance of flashing claws.

- Theodore Wiprud

(233 words)
Summer 2007

Born 1958 in Washington, DC
Resides in New York

Theodore Wiprud is a composer who also plays important roles as concert presenter, educator, and music executive. His compositions are known for the impact they make on performers and audiences, reflecting his constant interaction with both adult and young musicians and listeners from the New York Philharmonic, where he currently serves as Director of Education, to classrooms and community venues.

Wiprudís music frequently deals with spiritual experience: orchestral music (such as Hosannas of the Second Heaven) and chamber music (String Quartet No. 1, Refining Fire and String Quartet No. 2, Intimations and Incarnations) responding to Danteís Divine Comedy and similar works; choral music on texts from diverse religious traditions; and percussion scores like Anima and Dark Love. Other pieces involve American literature, including American Journal, based on Robert Haydenís poem, and A Georgia Song, a setting of Maya Angelou. His Saxophone Quartet has been described as ďa work of substance, rewarding to perform, and warmly received by audiences.Ē

Wiprud earned his bachelorís degree in biochemistry at Harvard and his masterís in theory and composition at Boston University, where he worked with David Del Tredici. We was a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University as a student of Robin Holloway, and a composition fellow at the Aspen Music School studying with Jacob Druckman and Bernard Rands.

For more information on Theodore Wiprud visit his webbsite by clicking here.