HUGH AITKEN (b 1924 )
Although he had been composing since early high school, Hugh Aitken studied chemistry for two years at New York University, not being sure that his career would be in music. He volunteered for the Army Air Corps in 1943, serving as a navigator on B-17s flying out of Italy. After the war he entered The Juilliard School of Music, studying composition with Bernard Wagenaar, Vincent Persichetti and Robert Ward, graduating in 1950.
He retired two years ago from the faculty at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Before that he had taught for twenty years at Juilliard, where he first met Gerard Schwarz, who was a trumpet major at the time. Their first collaboration was a quintet for trumpet and string quartet which Schwarz played several times with the Concord String Quartet and other quartets. Besides the works on this disc, Schwarz has conducted Aitkens first Violin Concerto, also with Elmar Oliveira as soloist, and most recently, the premiere performances of his Symphony (1998). Greenwood Press has published Aitken's The Piece As A Whole, a book exploring the relationships between music's technical procedures and its expressive character. The composer lives in Oakland, New Jersey with his wife Laura Isabel Tapia, who wrote the libretto for his opera Felipe.