Conversations With Ursula Mamlok

Roxane Prevost


American composer Ursula Mamlok (b. 1928) has gained prominence in the areas of performance, recording, and publishing in the past four decades. She is cited in most books on influential women composers of the twentieth century and has entries in both Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (2001) and the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2000). At least fifteen different recordings, released on labels including CRI Recordings, Opus One, Leonarda, and Grenadilla, and forty-five scores, published by C.F. Peters, American Composers Alliance, McGinnis and Marx, and Casia, are available. Most recently, a recording devoted to her works, (1) as well as a recording with digitally remastered previously recorded works, (2) were released. In addition, she was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995. This remarkable composer was one of the few women composers who worked in New York City during the 1960s, a time when twelve-tone music thrived. Most of her works are serially based after 1960 and in interviews she describes the evolution of her ever-changing compositional process. The following are excerpts from five interviews that took place in the home of the composer in Manhattan, New York from January 2002 to March 2003.

R.P. Do you divide your works into different styles or periods?

U.M. Up until 1961, I wrote mostly tonal music, extended tonality. ... But, from 1961 on, I turned to twelve-tone music, which nobody really taught me because people didn't really teach twelve-tone music at the time. I went to Stephan Wolpe. At first, I didn't get much out of it because he had no system. None of these people had a system. I went to Sessions and he himself was just starting to write twelve-tone music. He would say something like: "Fill the ear." Well, this is not a very theoretical explanation. And I did at first not know what to do with this, but I still have pieces that reflect this kind of transition. I also studied with Ralph Shapey, who did a lot for my developing, such as getting away from any square phrasing and [including] more complex rhythms. I think that maybe now, in the last two years, my music is less complex, or the last five years or so, rhythmically less complex. But otherwise I don't have many categories of styles.

At first when I came to this country in 1941, I knew nothing about [music] other than tonal music because I lived in Ecuador and there was no way of hearing any concert music. So, I was really fortunately only [there for] a short time. [Access to music was] up hto my own hearing and old-fashioned gramophone recordings. I had them with me... and the music I took from Germany. When we left Germany, [we] took quite a bit of these breakable records; but, no modern music... So, when I came here and I went to ISCM concerts, I was not delighted. It was not something that I liked at all... the atonal music. Later on, I had the feeling I must cope with something like that. It's only done by learning and doing it yourself... The first piece is a Variations for Solo Flute and in grappling with [twelve-tone music] I could suddenly not write polyphonic music. I had to stick to one line of music, which is the flute piece, to learn to recreate myself... Composing twelve-tone music gives you an enormous amount of possibilities, of course; but, I didn't know that then. So, this was my first piece and later on I developed more interesting rhythms than the previous composition had. So that was rather late. I wasn't taught [while] studying in Berlin. I was a child then and my teacher was an old and wonderful man, who must have known Brahms still. And so he was teaching what I call model composing of pieces like Schumann and the forms and all the right classical music. I did [that] for a long time. And it probably is still heard in my present music that I know so much tonal music and the forms especially. I still like to write rondo forms. The sonata forms don't work in this music, but the part forms make it to me clearer than the through-composed compositions. And so you find in most of my pieces that there is a return to something that... makes easier listening I think.

RP: In the fourth movement of Panta Rhei you have a rondo form, and [material] is repeated on open D strings with something like [the idea] of the refrain. But you have this repeating A section of the rondo and a serial section in between - the contrasting sections are serial. Do you consider that movement to be serial even if it doesn't have…

UM: Yes, I think of it as serial. You can tell [from which row] the chord [is by] the numbers. So, the whole thing would be serial, I think. You would have to analyze, take apart the chords to see where they come from. And you are also asking me whether [sections] A and B and C can be exchanged, right?

RP: Yes, the sections.

UM: Yes, not so in my music, I always will find variants so that a repeat of the one is different. And most of my last movements are rondos; it's a very good form for me to use because it gives the listener something that they don't have in through-composed music or of course atonal music. It is to hear something again that you have heard and of course a rondo would do this with A B A, and so on, but it cannot be the very same as the A section. [It] has to be varied. The way I varied various pieces I would have to look it up, but it should be so that you still recognize that this music has been heard before.

R.P. Would you say there are any representative pieces of your style post-1961? If you had to pick a couple pieces...

U.M. Of these pieces here?

R.P. Or any of the pieces?

U.M. I went of course to all the modern music concerts and I think all the music that I heard then, like Carter, Babbitt, and Wuorinen - all are New York composers - left their mark. Not that I could imitate or do like them because it was too complex for me. You will hear tonight the Babbitt new String Quartet. He is one of the nicest people and most helpful to young composers. Very friendly. But the music is for me very complex and so many notes, and I don't know... what you know of Babbitt or how you feel about it, but he's a most difficult composer, I think, to listen to. Carter is much easier because he has a system evidently, but he keeps it secret. And his music is... clearer in design for me... So, I think I'm influenced by Carter in a way. Not that I have studied the pieces in depth. But, just the hearing of a lot of that music influenced my own language.

RP: Did you study contemporary music on your own? How did you go about figuring out how to do it?

UM: What happened [is that] I didn't know how to get to a school here because I was in Ecuador. And at that time, my mother made contacts with [music scholars and] was told to contact Julliard, Curtis, and the Mannes College. Mannes was at that time a music school, not yet a college. And Mannes was very interested and said: "Please send your daughter's compositions." Because we had no xerox, we had no way of duplicating, so we sent all pencil compositions... Everything had to be sent by ship and took ages to get somewhere. But, they got it and at that time I composed... fugues and sonatas, and all this kind of tonal compositions. And I did that much faster than now, composing with different techniques. And they gave me [a] scholarship saying if I could be there - we got that letter in April - by the fall, they would take me. And at that time, George Szell, the conductor, was the composition teacher. He was very famous of course as a conductor, but he was stranded here with many people from European countries, and he thought [he would] take a few students. So, my colleagues were George Rochberg and another composer, Martin Boykan, who's well-known in Boston.

I was here by myself without my parents because I got the papers to immigrate to the US. Because of having this scholarship, the American consulate in Ecuador was impressed by what happened. One day, he couldn't call [because] we had no phone - life was very primitive there - he let us know that a woman who actually had the quota number to go to [the] United States at that time was sick or died. He had this quota number and whether he was allowed to do it that way or not, he gave it to me; but, only if I could come immediately. My parents' quota number was way off. So, they stayed in Ecuador and I left [for] here without speaking English. At that time, [I spoke] German and Spanish... I studied with George Szell... [It] was all very old-fashioned studying because he didn't like modern music. He liked music of early Stravinsky and at that time Shostokovich became well-known here by his first symphony. And so I was influenced a little bit by that at the time.

There was a music institute at Black Mountain College in North Carolina [in 1944]- they advertised in the Times at the time. And I said, "Oh that's for me." They had the Polish Quartet, which was the famous quartet, but not that they were only Polish in it - [there were] other people by that time. They played, at first, almost every day a Schoenberg Quartet. But what I heard was... the Opus 7, which was not anything too new - it's a chromatic piece, but not a twelve-tone piece. And, somehow the people were a great influence. The people that visited were Sessions, Kreneck, and composers that were new to me. And being there, I studied; I [later] took lessons from Sessions. He was at Princeton, but he came once a week to New York to somebody's apartment and helped students. It's very difficult to be a composition teacher; I think it's almost impossible. You can only teach the technique but not what to do with it. So he was one of those teachers who knew I had to compose something not tonal. I didn't have to, but I wanted to. And there was no system to it for me. He just said, "Only that note should be with this one" and I couldn't do [it with] another piece. Because I just learned to get acquainted with the sound of non-tonal music. But Schoenberg at the time, of course, he was seen for decades but I didn't hear it. So actually I learned something from that day on. I went to concerts here: Babbitt was already on the scene, Schoenberg, and Wolpe - Wolpe was coming here later, but then Wolpe became a very famous teacher. I went to him much later. And when he saw the music... he said, "Oh, you have done this much too long."

I was somehow stuck with tonal music much too long. I love the atonal music too, but I didn't get to know much other music. So I went to the concerts. The contemporary concerts in New York were not as special as today, but there I would see Babbitt and Sessions. Sessions's kind of teaching was very unsystematic. He would say: "Just write what you like. Just write what you hear." This is not my ideal of teaching, because it was confusing. I tried then, by imitating what I thought was what I heard at concerts and made pieces that sounded dissonant and didn't have a different language. I liked at the time Hindemith and the school of a kind of extended tonality... I had a hard time making any kind of switch. And so it didn't come suddenly that I said come tomorrow I will compose differently or twelve tone. It wasn't like that. That's why it took me very long to get started composing different music. I always composed something; it wasn't that in seventeen years I didn't compose. In those years, young composers would write for the shelf, especially a student. You would write something and then you would never hear it. The Manhattan School had already a composers' evening for other students so that they could hear their music. But they were so conservative that, again... you didn't really hear what was long going on in Europe. Schoenberg, Berg and Webern were [not well received]. [Their music] was not on recordings; it wasn't well liked, so we didn't hear [it]…Babbitt was always a leader with Carter, who had [a] small audience but performances, not good performances, because the musicians hadn't learned the new language. So that I didn't learn anything until I said to myself, I did say this cannot go on, a composer of the twentieth century and now the twenty-first century must be with her or with his time... whatever that is. Of course there were people that said: "I don't care, I compose like Brahms," or "I compose" whatever Bach, Debussy, French music, more modern. But I somehow didn't think that was for me. I had a curiosity to be able to compose different music. Twelve-tone music wasn't taught. I studied with Sessions in 1945; he wasn't a twelve-tone composer. He had studied with Ernest Bloch, and his music, although dissonant, wasn't twelve tone. But he was a very intellectual guy: he knew Schoenberg, got to meet Schoenberg, and [he was]... also a leader for him. [Sessions] was at the time in his forties or so. He couldn't pass it on, Babbitt could have passed it on. I remember when I came to New York from San Francisco where I lived; I got married in San Francisco but I lived here for 7 years after coming from Ecuador. I had to live in Ecuador, not by choice, but because... this country wasn't very open to foreigners... This was the depression time; there was no work for Americans so why should they bother with letting foreigners come in. So it wasn't easy to come here, you're dependent in Germany at the time of the Nazis, you're dependent for having a quota number... We were somehow lucky. My father had a cousin in Ecuador, not that we knew where this was; but we were glad we had. We went there and once we were there, I decided immediately that I have to get out of here again. And, I was very fortunate, my mother, at that time, wrote letters to music schools and I got the scholarship at Mannes. [At] that school, George Szell, who was also an immigrant, came from Austria... He was invited by Toscanini to conduct the NBC Orchestra. He couldn't get out because by that time the war had started and he was here, so he took this little job at Mannes to teach composition. He was a marvellous pianist, the best…kind of music that you could ever imagine. He knew his literature, mainly Wagner, Mahler.. Brahms, and a little bit of Hindemith. And no Webern, and so…when he conducted the Philharmonic he conducted everything by memory. But when it came to Webern, he couldn't have understood that music, he had no use for it. So again, I couldn't learn anything in twentieth-century music.

So Sessions was the beginning for me to hear and to do something to my music that I wouldn't have done myself. But, Sessions went to California…I was in New York with my parents and so for quite a few years, I didn't have a teacher. I figured out somehow on my own, the most helpful thing still, and I advise every student, is go to concerts. A teacher can never really tell you how to compose, or to influence you. [You] have to hear a whole spectrum of music and of course New York is a wonderful place for hearing a lot of music... My career, so to speak, my learning situation, well I had no degree. As you know, [without a] college degree, you cannot teach; this was already like that at that time, you needed at least a Masters, now you need a PhD or a DMA or whatever, but at that time it was Masters degree or you couldn't teach. So I went to the Manhattan School. But at the Manhattan School again, was this Giannini, the most conservative person you could find. But I was already influenced a little bit by listening experience and by Sessions and so, in Giannini's class I was the black sheep. He [thought]…this music was much too dissonant, and too many lines, and …in lessons he was about Puccini. Not that Puccini wasn't a good composer, but at that time already, he was still composing in that kind of way. There was also Gunther Schuller at the time. At school he was teaching, he was put in the corner, because again, the school was an opera school, it still is, and didn't want to have too much to do with composers. So they had him teach the Wind Quintet music that he was performing, [as] a performance teacher. And he took on my Woodwind Quintet, it was lucky for me as a student. The students couldn't play this, they couldn't do the tempo, and they hated the music. It was already too dissonant and I know I said to Gunther: "You know they don't really like to play my music." He said: "If the name Copland would have been on the score they would have liked it." Copland of course was always respected and played a lot because he had that popular stream with his music. But I was finished with the Manhattan School, and I remember Giannini saying to me "don't you go to another teacher now." I said, "okay" and I went to Wolpe. And this a terrible difficulty for me, because Wolpe again, there are very few teachers that have a system of showing how it's done, and Wolpe wasn't one of them. He was a genius kind of man with very fantastic kind of mind.

When I went to him, I still wasn't with it. But that's when I wrote the flute piece [Variations for Solo Flute]. That was my first piece, and probably my last piece with Wolpe because he was a very mannered guy... And for me, it was difficult to [adapt]; it would have been a drastic change. I tried, I still must have some kind of little booklets of pieces that I tried to do then. It wasn't twelve-tone; he was not a twelve-tone composer, and, nobody really was. I could have studied with Babbitt, but I didn't dare to. So I had to wait until I somehow developed into this the natural way. I then [attended]... classes given at the New School. Every week a composer, a new composer, would be introduced that had to do with the ISCM. And so I heard Babbitt, Sessions, Shapey, Perle and Wuorinen; those people were already the ones that were being sought for such exposure with students. I must say Shapey was known for having been very rough and almost vulgar in his speech, but he didn't care. You probably have read some of his obituaries; he died this summer. And in the Times you can read the glowing accounts of Shapey, who was such a difficult person; no one liked him but he didn't care. I was [ready] because of my experience with Wolpe [and] already I didn't care anymore how the personality would be and what I would have to endure... with Shapey at the time. It's difficult to be a student, and he was at the time an enemy of Wolpe, because these two personalities couldn't get along. And I learned a lot from him. He was also not a twelve-tone composer and he showed me very simple exercises - how to not have everything in four, to take away the squareness, and how you can divide the quarter note into other divisions than the four division. So that helped me a great deal, and from then on, I don't know, all of a sudden I was a different composer. And I remained that way and I haven't changed much. If I have changed it's some of the mannerisms that Shapey had that influenced me, like over-complex rhythms, also very angular music, and its somehow little exaggerations ...I somehow threw away what I couldn't use and that's what I do today. And I think my music now has become perhaps less [complex].

I enjoy doing things that seem interesting to me... in my work I change a lot around. I compose very slowly, what I like today I may not like tomorrow. So that there are lots of experiments that one goes through. Unfortunately, I didn't save all of my sketches... The New York Public Library [has asked me to keep all of my sketches because] they would like to take them. But I don't have [them] for all the pieces, for Polarities, I don't have sketches. Because it was so much, hundreds of pages I threw out, I couldn't be bothered to keep all of them. But, now I have to save sketches. Not that it could be interesting to other people because how can one know what the sketch means, unless you take the sketch and organize it so that it will fit the music. I don't need a lot of time to finish a composition. I think what I have done this summer was this piece for saxophone and piano, it was a commission, and I didn't have much time for this…maybe it wasn't such a good idea. I don't know. But I know it's an easier piece to play and also to hear because I couldn't experiment too much; I didn't have the time to do that… I should be able to compose fast. But whenever I started and I couldn't compose anymore, I'd compose children's pieces. So I have a lot of teaching material, that is tonal music, and a little bit not so tonal, but not twelve-tone music. And, so that I have two completely different [types of] music.

RP: You said that you favor palindromic structures. Is that something you discovered on your own? Or had you heard Webern?

UM: No, at that time funny enough, I discovered this on my own and then I found Webern. In the flute piece, I don't know why, I just thought a rounded form would be good for a theme to make it very clear to myself. This was my very first piece of twelve-tone music. And I remember Wolpe was very much against it, and Shapey too-I remember I composed a violin piece, "Designs," two movements and the second movement is a twelve-tone piece. And I showed it to Shapey, and he [said]: "Oh, maybe I should study with you!" in a very arrogant way, because he doesn't do that and all he would say, "it's a crutch." Maybe it is, but it was something I didn't learn from anybody, and maybe because it's not that complex too - at least I find that, other people [may] find it very complex. But I have to do something that I can follow, that I can understand. I can't do anything that is supposed to work but doesn't.

RP: So when did you first hear Webern?

UM: I heard Webern in the '60s, conscientiously, I may have heard it before. But you must understand also that in my [childhood], when other people learn and go to school, I had no access to anything in Germany. You could listen to radio, [but] of course Mahler and Schoenberg were all not allowed... Anything that wasn't tonal would be totally out with the Nazi time, and anything in painting that would not be photographic... could not exist. So then I heard all of these composers rather late... When I went to Ecuador, there was no radio ... and that year was really wasted from the point of view of any education.

RP: So, in the 1960s, did you have access to Webern's music?

UM: Yes.

RP: Because a lot of people keep comparing your music to Webern's.

UM: Yes, but it's not really. I mean, maybe a little, not really because my music [has a] fuller texture than Webern's. Of course I heard, Webern was played now and then, Schoenberg, and Berg - but not really too often... Gunther Schuller gave a lecture series on the radio and he spoke a lot about Webern and he liked [it]. He was very familiar with that music. But a few years later he didn't want anything to do with twelve-tone music and he wrote quasi-tonal music. But, he was an advocate of Webern and I had recordings and listened; I didn't really like it. I didn't like that music until much later. I couldn't get used to the harmony mainly... Schoenberg even more so. Schoenberg is not a very easy composer to listen to; that's why the regular audience doesn't like Schoenberg.

R.P. I wanted to know if you had seen [rotation] in Stravinsky's [music].

UM: I had, but not at that time [1960]. I of course then read a lot. [Stravinsky] became a twelve-tone composer at the end of his life. I have seen this, but I have never used it in that way. I use rotations in a simple way of taking maybe five to six tones and then rotate them like the first becomes the second one and so on. And then do that maybe with other rotations, which still have to do something with a row, but may not be the entire twelve [tones]. Stravinsky did a very intricate kind of rotation system.

I sometimes do things that other people don't even know about, which is playing around with the material. I find something that works, that's fine. Often things don't work. I immediately do something else because it all has to sound; it has to feel natural as you work on it. If it becomes... something that doesn't seem to work, I have to throw it out and find something else. It's quite arbitrary. The thing in itself, I will wait until I find something that gives me a system for that particular piece, and of course every one of the songs and other pieces is composed of that one matrix. Different forms, it's all of the same rows, so to speak. Not so in my last piece... the first and third movements are row pieces and different rows, and the second and fourth movements are free atonal. And what's interesting was for me to see that I can do that because you don't want to become a slave of the system; so that you have to be able to work without it, and still come up with something that [works].

You shouldn't say: "Oh, well, here a row didn't work." Also I throw [it] away if it doesn't work. Sometimes the row comes first, other times a melody comes first. And, I then make a row that would fit. But, very rarely do I substitute even a pitch that isn't there because it will sound wrong. I think Stravinsky said that too... that when he tried to substitute something it didn't sound right. Why this is, I don't know. But, as chords and all this is, of course, done by how you use the row, you don't go from one to twelve.

I write the order number. It looks very childish, [but] I think it's helpful for me because I wouldn't know where is this coming from and what happens here. I want to have that control. I cannot, of course, change it, but I want to know where did I get this from. And if it doesn't sound good, very often the reason is that I made a mistake in the order of the row. Stravinsky, evidently, found this when he became a twelve-tone composer. If he made a mistake, that really didn't sound as good as if he obeyed the row. So here, you see, I gave different rows different colors, that helps me also to see where I am. It's, of course, a long procedure and it goes much slower to write a piece like that. Maybe that's the reason why my pieces are short.

Usually I use five... six tones and work with groups then come back with color at first. I use crayons to see where I am because if I use usually three or four rows at the same time, I have to know what I have... where this one ends and how this one... goes on. It gives interesting pictures. Then, later on I abandon them. But all these kinds of ways of working help me.

R.P. So how do you go about composing your rows? Do you have a process?

U.M. Sometimes just [like] the way Schoenberg must have started doing this... a melody. So a few tones, and the missing tones are then added ad hoc really. That's mostly what I do. It's mostly a kind of motivic idea that I try to manipulate. But also can be done, where I do completely abstract, C, D, A, make a row out of some numbers, or so. And then see what it is that you get out of it. And for me, I had never before '61 or '62 ever done this, and I thought: "My goodness, how is this done?"

[I do not produce] the academic kind of twelve-tone [music] that you find in a book. I think one of the first books was by Kreneck. You might know it, Composing with Twelve Tones, a theory book. And he shows you how to compose in a very rigid way with twelves…. but in reality, Schoenberg's first, so to speak, twelve-tone piece, is the Opus 23, the Waltz (Wälzer). The other pieces, the piano pieces, are not twelve tone. He started in that piece; it's [the] syntax of the piece. But if you analyze it, you will see that he has six tones, twelve tones, six and six here. Then the six from the B, let's say the AB, they will lie underneath the A.

RP: He often has either consecutive or two rows going at the same time.

UM: Yes. At the same time, I sometimes have the two; other times, I have more than two rows. I have to usually keep a matrix... so that I can keep track of it.

RP: You repeat [pitches] before [the row is completely stated], so [your music] seems more motivic...

UM: Yes, it's motivic. And it gives a certain tonal centre, if you wish, to the music. This chord becomes almost then like a "tonic." And it appears throughout this piece, sometimes transposed. It's almost like a chord, a tritone and perfect fourth.

In Babbitt you can hardly trace a row, you know what he does is... I think mathematical, although he denies this. He knows nothing about it, but I think it's all very well calculated. I am not a mathematician at all. I'm not, I have no idea. In fact I'm gifted I think in dealing with numbers, up to twelve.

R. P. What are your favorite pieces?

U.M. I think Der Andreas Garten which is on this recording that you probably have. My husband wrote the poetry; so, I cherish that for personal reasons. I like it. And then there is the sextet of [the] 1970s, I think '78 or so sextet, and there's another sextet that's called Girasol - Sunflowers... That I also like and ... let me see... Maybe I like all my music. No, not really. But the String Quartet, the last that I wrote, the second, that the Cassatt Quartet played that's on this recording under CRI.

R.P. I was noticing on the program for the concert series The Focus 2000, or 2000...

U.M. 2002.

R.P. "Twelve Tones and Beyond," yes, that there are only two women composers: you and Barbara Pentland... Do you know why there would be so few, or is that...?

U.M. No. The Continuum is [directed by] Joel Sachs. He's one of the directors of the group Continuum. and he, evidently, makes the programs... They have Gubaydulina, a concert of her works. And they play other women's music, even from far away, like Azerbaijan... And other than that I have no reason... I have no knowledge of a reason for why these programs have just two.

R.P. There would be other [twelve-tone] women composers. Wouldn't there be?

U.M. There must be. Yes. I don't know. You know most of them shy away from even mentioning it. Even people, who did or do it, they think it's passé. And it's not... I don't know. They somehow think of twelve-tone music as a gray kind of inaccessible music, which is of course not the case. And [Sachs] makes a point this time to have every composer, whom he chose, to have a little bit of... a line of what they think it is or how they approach [twelve-tone music].

For me it [is] a technique that [gives] me more support than doing floundering around and maybe striking some chords and then okay, that's the piece. So that's why I am now called old fashioned; because who wants to write twelve-tone music? It's too hard really to write anything [musical in that style]. Unfortunately the style is [often today] minimal music. It's not interesting, it puts you to sleep. I heard the best piece... of Steve Reich the other night. A long piece for a real instrument, but it went [on with] the same pattern a hundred times, and it was always [the] same rhythm. It's really a reaction probably to the complication.

RP: Yes, absolutely.

UM: It's a reaction. People wanted something. And then the imitation of nineteenth-century music, neo-what is it now?

RP: Probably neo-romantic.

UM: Neo-romantic, yes. And I don't care for that because the romantics had done it better. They didn't need to be re-written... The same thing over and over again, but that was new and even though it hasn't been done like that before, to me at least, it's boring. It's uninteresting. And so that's why I'm interested, and got very interested from Wolpe and from Shapey's teaching in the rhythms that are flexible and even the page looks nicer. You can see it on the page here, if you look at it. To have variety of patterns, sixes and fives and so, and of course here meter changes where it had to be made. So there is actually no repetition. In Panta Rhei there is more, how should I say, exactness of the melody. But here [Variations for Solo Flute] it's not. So this became interesting to me from the beginning of the '60s. Of course people here didn't [find it interesting], and I learned a lot just from going to the concerts. Because that was wonderful in New York, everyday you could get to three but... there was too much going on. That helped me to hear a lot, and rather than someone telling me what to do.

I think I listen like a musician, but not a composer... I see how it affects me as a sound... as a whole.

Ursula Mamlok continues to compose even today and has been a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music since 1968.



1. Ursula Mamlok, The Music of Ursula Mamlok: Constellations, Der Andreas Garten, Girasol, Polarities, and String Quartet No. 2, various performers, CRI CD 806, 1999, compact disc.

2. Ursula Mamlok, CRI American Masters: Ursula Mamlok (Panta Rhei, Variations for Solo Flute, When Summer Sang, Stray Birds, and Sextet), various performers, CRI CD 891, 2002, compact disc.