TOBIAS PICKER (b 1954 )
Born in New York in 1954, Tobias Picker studied at Manhattan with Charles Wuorinen, at Jiulliard with Elliott Carter and at Princeton with Milton Babbitt. He had experience as a pianist for Martha Graham, soon earning a reputation for himself as a composer. His earlier works are predominantly in the form of chamber music, although by the 1980s he was tackling larger scale works, developing a language that combined elements of serialism with the tonal.
Pickers orchestral music includes three piano concertos, three symphonies and concertos for violin and for viola. His ambitious Symphony No.2 Ausshnung written for the Houston Symphony, is in seven movements, the final one culminating in the tonal setting of a poem by Goethe, Ausshnung (Reconciliation), which summmarises the mood and the technicque of the work. It was completed in 1986.
Picker has written a quantity of chamber music, often for less usual combinations of instruments. His String Quartet No.1, New Memories, was commissioned to celebrate the hundredth birthday of the artist Georgia OKeeffe, who died in 1986 before the work was completed. The six movements draw inspiration from OKeeffes work and from New Mexico, with strains of the chant of the lay order of Penitentes recalled.