Award winning composer Charles Wuorinen died March 11 in New York City as a result of injuries sustained from a fall he had last September at the age of 81.

A prolific writer, Wuorinen composed over 250 works including the music for “Brokeback Mountain”. He earned the Pulitzer prize in Music for “Time’s Encomium” – the first electronic work to earn the award. He was the youngest composer at the time to win the award.

He also composed the operas “Brokeback Mountain” and “Haroun and the Sea of Stories”. He has also composed works for the ballet, modern dance, and orchestra with an emphasis on percussion – a major interest.

As well as, leading the San Francisco Orchestra for three years; Wuorinen has performed with the Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and American Composers Orchestras.

Besides performing with orchestras around the nation, he has taught at a number of universities including Columbia, Princeton, the New England Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, Yale, SUNY Buffalo, and Rutgers University.

Along with earning the Pulitzer prize, Wuorinen received the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Composer’s Award when he was 16 years old for his composition “O Filii et Filiae” (Sons and Daughters), Lili Boulanger Memorial Award, and the MacArthur Fellowship, He is a co-founder of the Group for Contemporary Music and is a member of the American Academys of Arts and Letters and Arts and Sciences.

He was born on June 9, 1938 in New York City the son of Columbia University’s history department chairman. Hi musical interest began at age six when he set his sights on becoming a composer. Wuorinen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia.

Wuorinen is survived by his husband of 32 years Howard Stokar.



Feature photo credit: By User:Hstokar, CC BY 3.0,