Gregory Fritze is a prize winning composer, Fulbright Scholar, as well as an active performer, conductor and educator. He is Chair of the Composition Department at Berklee College of Music, where he has served on the faculty since 1979. He had been the conductor for the Berklee Concert Wind Ensemble for fifteen years (1983-98). An ensemble which specialized in new compositions for winds, he has conducted performances of more than thirty premieres. Always being an advocate for new music, in 1983 Mr. Fritze initiated an annual Berklee student composition competition to encourage young composers to write for the band medium which has yielded more than one hundred new compositions over the last fifteen years.
He has written over forty compositions for orchestra, band, chamber music and soloists. His recent composition awards include winning the1998 IBLA Grand Prize in Composition by the European International Competition Ibla, Sicily; a grant from the Massachusetts Council for the Arts in 1997 for his composition for band La Tomatina, Menzione d'Onore (highest award given) of the Mario Bernardo Angelo-Comneno International Music Competition by the Accademia Angelica Costantiniana Arti E Scienze (Rome, Italy) in 19967 for String Quartet , eleven awards from the Standard Awards Panel of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), grants from Meet the Composer, Walt Disney Fellowship, and other composition awards. His Twenty Characteristic Etudes for Tuba won first prize in the 1991 Composition Competition sponsored by the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association. He has been commissioned by many orchestras, concert bands, chamber ensembles and soloists in the New England area and throughout the world. His compositions include works published by SeeSaw Music, Minuteman Music, TUBA Press and Musica Nova and have been performed extensively throughout the world. He is recorded as composer and/or performer on CRI Records, Crystal Records, Mark Records and others.
He been a guest lecturer, conductor and performer at many colleges, universities and music festivals in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe including: Convegno Bandistico Cantonale in Mendrisio, Switzerland, Sapporo (Japan) Music Festival, Musicfest Canada Ottawa, Musicfest Canada Calgary, Musicfest Canada Winnipeg, Musicfest Canada Toronto, Musicfest Canada Vancouver, Massachusetts Instrumental Conductors Association, Rhode Island Music Educators Association, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, American Band Association, The Mozart Festival (Burlington, Vermont), New York Brass Conference, New England Tuba Festivals, Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festivals and others.
In addition to being Principal Tubist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, he is a member of the Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble, the Colonial Tuba Quartet and performs regularly with various ensembles around New England. Mr. Fritze has premiered many works for tuba, including several written especially for him such as the Concerto for Tuba and Band by John Bavicchi and the Concerto for Tuba and Jazz Ensemble by Ken Pullig. Mr. Fritze was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1954 and received his Bachelor's Degree in Composition from the Boston Conservatory where he studied composition with John Adams and tuba with Chester Roberts. He received his Master's Degree in Composition from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where he studied composition with Thomas Beversdorf, John Eaton and Fred Fox, tuba with Harvey Phillips.
Mr. Fritze's first association with the band music of Spain was in 1988 when he composed the piece Festival Overture especially for a Valencian band under Maestro Francisco Carreño Garrido. Mr. Fritze's first trip to Spain was in 1993 when he first met maestro Carreño in person in Buñol. Maestro Carreño introduced him to the wealth of concert bands around Valencia. With the help of Maestro Carreño, Mr. Fritze was able to secure preliminary information and invitations for the research of Compositions for Wind Instruments by Spanish Composers. Most of this research was done while in Valencia, Spain during the spring of 1996 while on a sabbatical from Berklee College of Music and during the spring of 1997 while on a Fulbright Senior Research Grant.
Wollaston Beach (Grade 4)
Wheaton Overture (Grade 4)
Prelude for Orchestra (Grade 5)
Three Pieces for Orchestra (Grade 6)
La Playa de Wólaston (Grade 4)
* Sinfonía de Valencia (Grade 6)
Concertino for Euphonium and Band (Grade 5)
Mare Nostrum Fanfare (Grade 5)
Festival Overture (Grade 3)
Jupiter Effect (Grade 4)
Two Pieces for Concert Band (Grade 6)
Invertebrate (Grade 6)
The Broadway Limited for two euphoniums and two tubas
Prelude and Rondo for Saxophone Quartet
Kilimanjaro for brass Sextet (three trombones, euphonium and two tubas)
Prelude and Dance for Tuba Quartet
Salutation Fanfare (Tuba ensemble)
Basso Concertino (for Solo Tuba and Brass Quartet)
Pacman Gets Caught for Tuba Quartet
Vertigo - for Ten Trombones
Fantasia for String Quartet
Piece for Trumpet Octet
Sonata for Piano
Basso Concertino for Tuba and Synthesizer
Three Pieces for Solo Flutes
Yevrah Yad Thrib Bypah for Solo Tuba
Sonata for Tuba and Piano
Six Pieces for Solo Piano
***Twenty Characteristic Etudes for Tuba
Twenty -five Characteristic Etudes for Euphonium
* 1997 Award winning composition by the Massachusetts Council of the Arts
** Winning composition of the 1996 Accademia Angelica Constantiana Award; Rome, Italy
*** First Prize in the 1991 Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association Composition Contest
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String Quartet was completed in 1995. The premiere performance was December 12, 1997 in Rome, Italy by the Santa Cecilia String Quartet as the award winning composition for the Accademica Angelica Constantiniana String Quartet Composition. The first of the three movements is built on two themes. The first rhythmic theme is presented in Allegro tempo and is based upon the intervalic structures of the minor third and major second in conjunction with the resulting major third. The second theme is in a slower tempo with a more Romantic melody presented in the viola based on wide melodic intervals. Both themes are developed with fragmentation, thematic transformation and extended counterpoint leading to a recapitulation of the primary and second themes. The coda includes further development with a presentation a special theme, partially buried in the viola, which will be the basis for the third movement.
The second movement contrasts the first movement in that it is in no recognizable form. The beginning three chords provide the intervalic material both harmonic and melodic for the remainder of the movement. The solo violin presentation in the fourth measure is followed by a building texture with the other instruments in counterpoint. This through composed movement includes sections rich counterpoint, pointillism and drama.
The third movement entitled Devil's Dance is in a Rondo form presenting the primary angular dance theme in many canons, including cancriszans, in subsequent presentations of the "A" part of the rondo. The "B", "C" and "D" become features for soloists. The ending coda includes reminiscent material from the first and second movements.
Level of difficulty: Grade 6
Sinfonía de Valencia was commissioned by and composed for the Centro Instructivo Musicál La Armonica "El Litro" which is a civic symphonic band in Buñol (Valencia), Spain. They have won many awards for their performances including first prize at Kerkrade, the Netherlands, first prize in the Certamen International of Valencia, and others performing such arrangements for band as The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, Concerto for Orchestra by Witold Lutoslawsky and others. Although the band members are not paid for their services, forty of the one hundred sixty musicians hold full-time professional positions in major orchestras and concert bands throughout Spain.
Sinfonía de Valencia was composed as a programmatic depiction of elements in Valencia province as seen from a foreigner's eyes. Los Castillos (The Castles) of Spain are magnificent structures containing a millennium of history, including the mysteries of years gone by and the triumph and defeats of battles once fought. Spain has more castles than any other country in the world. The opening trumpet fanfare theme is developed through thematic transformation throughout the movement in different orchestrations. Play Los Castillos excerpt
The second movement La Tomatina won a grant from the Massachusetts Council of the Arts in 1997. It is a programmatic depiction of the festival of the same name held in Buñol (Valencia), Spain. Every year during the last Wednesday in August the town sponsors the world's largest tomato fight, shipping in as many as one hundred tons of tomatoes for people to throw at each other. Although all in good fun, sometimes the activity is so overwhelming that what seems like a cloud of red is seen above the shoulder to shoulder people in the center of the town. Play La Tomatina excerpt
The third movement Pastoral y Los Montañas depicts the fertile valleys of orange trees and sheep herds in between the majestic mountains of Valencia. A few measures of a Valencian hymn are stated before the final ending.
In August of 1995 Sgt. First Class Robert Powers asked me to compose a piece for solo euphonium and band for the 13th Annual Army Tuba-Euphonium Conference. The premiere took place on February 4, 1996 with the United States Army Band under the direction of Col. L. Bryan Shelburne Jr. I completed the transcription for euphonium and piano in March 1996.
The concertino starts with a deliberate first theme in Allegro stated in the brass over a rolling arpeggiation in woodwinds. The euphonium restates this first theme then directly moves to a cantabile second theme in the same tempo. The development then starts with the soloist playing softly and passively, and builds the activity and dynamics to four loud chords in the brass repeated three times cadencing into the slower section of the piece. This Moderato section expresses the melodic aspect and expanded tessitura of the euphonium. The Allegro themes return in recapitulation. An extended cadenza is presented before the final coda highlights the solo euphonium in technical brilliance.
Concertino for Euphonium and Band is published by TUBA Press both in piano reduction and full concert band instrumentation. (Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, Eb Clarinet, 3 Bb Clarinets, Bb Bass Clarinet, Eb Contralto Clarinet (optional), 2 Bassoons, 2 Alto Saxophones, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, 4 French Horns, 3 Bb Cornets, Bb Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tubas, Harp (optional), Timpani, 3 Percussion and String Bass
Prelude and Dance was composed during the winter of 1989 -90. The prelude was inspired by J.S. Bach's Komme Susser Tod which is a chorale often played by tuba ensembles at T.U.B.A.conventions. The beginning melody in the tuba is derived from similar pitch material as that of the chorale. The Prelude ends with a quote from the chorale. The Dance is a contrasting movement built on four themes each of different character. Each of the four instrumentalists demonstrates their own theme. The first is a "Rock Style" rhythmic figure starting in tuba 2 which serves as the pulse for the entire movement. The second theme is a more jazz-like figure played by tuba 1. The third theme is presented in euphonium 1 as a virtuosic figure of scales. the fourth theme is presented by euphonium 2 as a hymn-like melody reminiscent of Prelude from before. All themes are then presented at once in counterpoint before the finale of the piece.
Prelude and Dance is published by TUBA Press
Level of Difficulty: Grade 4
Wollaston Beach was composed for the Quincy Symphony Orchestra as an overture for a pops concert in 1994. The conductor was Ann Danis. Quincy, Massachusetts is a town most known as being the birthplace of two United States Presidents - John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Quincy is along the Atlantic ocean where there is a Wolaston beach which is a popular summer retreat for many New Englanders. The overture is in Sonata Allegro form with two themes. Wollaston Beach is composed for Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bb Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 (or 4) French Horns, 2 Bb Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, 2 Percussion and Strings.
for Saxophone Quartet
Prelude and Rondo was composed in 1992. The pitch material is atonal with influences from the Lyric Suite by Alban Berg.
Level of difficulty Grade 3
Festival Overture was composed for the Centro Instructivo Musical of Benimaclet in Valencia, Spain at the request of their conductor Francisco Carreño in 1988. The rhythmic first theme in the brass is underscored by the repeating, flowing melodic line in the woodwinds. The slow second theme is presented in the clarinets.
It is scored for junior concert band (Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 1 or 2 Oboes, Eb Clarinet (optional), 3 Bb Clarinets, Eb Alto Clarinet (optional), Bb Bass Clarinet, 1 or 2 Bassoons, 2 Alto Saxophones, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, 2 or 4 French Horns, 3 Bb Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Euphonium, Tubas, Timpani, Snare Drum, Bass Drum and Cymbals
Level of difficulty Grade 5
Prelude for Orchestra was composed in 1976. The pitch material is free atonal.
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Sonata for Trumpet and Piano was commissioned by and composed for David Bannard in 1980. The first performance was by Mr. Bannard at Northwestern University in 1982. In three movements, the second movement is in a "jazz style"
Quintet for Brass Instruments was composed for the Quivre Brass Quintet at Indiana University in 1977. The first performance took place at Indiana University by the Quivre Brass Quintet that year, the composer playing tuba.
The piece is in five movements. Each movement highlights a particular instrument. The first movement highlights the first trumpet in a very fanfare-like manner. The second movement has a more cantabile feeling featuring the French horn. The middle movement creates a misterioso atmosphere with a trombone solo. In the fourth movement a contemporary blues bass line is played by the tuba. The final movement presents fugal entrances in a multi-metric contrapuntal texture above which a cantabile solo by the second trumpet is heard. The piece closes with a fugue and coda which serve as a summation of previous material in counterpoint. The piece is published by Minuteman Music and is available for purchase from Robert King Music in Easton, Massachusetts
Vertigo was composed in 1981 in Bloomington, Indiana. It uses many effects such as special mutes, glissandi, mouthpiece buzzing and vocalizations. This piece is published by See-Saw Music and is available for purchase from Robert King Music in Easton, Massachusetts
Level of difficulty Grade 4
Jupiter Effect was composed in 1982 for the Berklee Concert Wind Ensemble under the direction of Peter Hazzard. Gregory Fritze succeeded Peter as the Conductor of the ensemble when Mr. Hazzard left Berklee to teach at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts in 1983.
Basso Concertino was composed in 1984 to be used by the composer as a tuba feature in a brass quintet setting. The tuba part is flashy but the other brass parts are more supportive and easier to play. The piece was written so a tubist could play with a pick-up brass quartet (2 trumpets, French horn and trombone) and be able to put if together in only one rehearsal. It was recorded on Crystal records (#512) by the Cambridge Symphonic Brass Ensemble in 1985.
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