William Averitt

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Biography

William Averitt (b. 1948) is the composer of numerous works that have received performances throughout the United States and in Western Europe, Russia and Asia. He has received numerous composer fellowships, grants and commissions from a wide variety of sources including the National Endowment for the Arts (twice), VMTA/MTNA (7 times), the Hans Kindler Foundation of the Library of Congress, Choral Arts of Seattle with UMKC Conservatory (5 scores premiered in 2009, 2011, 2012 & 2015), Texas Lutheran University (7 scores premiered in 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015), the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Opus 3 Trio of Washington DC, Currents (a contemporary music ensemble in Richmond VA), the Shippensburg (PA) Summer Music Festival, the Paducah (KY) Symphony Orchestra, the First Presbyterian Church of Columbia SC (for their bicentennial celebrations), Sonus Ensemble of Washington DC, Murray State University Concert Choir, and the Shenandoah Conservatory Chamber Choir. His two-hour St. Matthew Passion was co-commissioned by eleven southeastern university choral departments, premiered in 2001 under Larry Wyatt by forces from the University of South Carolina and, subsequently, performed by them in 2010 at the Southern Division-ACDA Conference in Memphis.

His 1991 score Afro-American Fragments (Langston Hughes) for SATB, soprano and piano 4-hands was the winning work of the 1992 Roger Wagner Center for Choral Studies Choral Composition Competition. In 2004, Conspirare released three movements of Afro-American Fragments as part of their acclaimed CD …through the green fuse… More recently, he has written two similarly scored cycles on Langston Hughes' poetry: The Dream Keeper (Choral Arts of Seattle in 2009 and included on their award-winning CD Mornings Like This) and The Deepness of the Blue (Texas Lutheran University in 2012). All three Hughes cycles were released in 2014 on an MSR CD recorded by the UMKC Chamber Choir. His Tunebook for woodwind quintet won the chamber music category in the 2012 Newly Published Music Competition sponsored by the National Flute Association.

Dr. Averitt's music has been the subject of two doctoral treatises, and his works have been published by ECS, Treble Clef, Trevco, Falls House, Little Piper, Fred Bock Music, Subito, ALRY, Concordia and MMB. He is married to the flutist Frances Lapp Averitt and is Professor Emeritus of Music and formerly Coordinator of Composition at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia where he was on the faculty from 1973 to 2012.

 

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