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Alfred Heller (Composer, Conductor, Piano)

Born: December 8, 1931 - New York City, New York, USA

The American composer, conductor, pianist and music publisher, Alfred Heller, studies at the High School of Music and Art in New York City, graduating in 1949. He obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from Syracuse University in 1952; and his Master of Music degree in Piano from Manhattan School of Music in 1954. With Fulbright Scholarship he studied opera conducting in Italy in 1954-1955. He obtained Doctor of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Indiana University in 1974.

Alfred Heller made his debut as an opera conductor with La Vacanze Musicali in Venice in 1955; as an orchestral conductor in Azerbaijan, USSR in 1971; as a composer at the High School of Music and Art in 1949.

Alfred Heller was the protégé of the famous Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos from 1956 to 1959. Heller worked with the late Brazilian composer on several of his later works, conducting the premiere recording of Forest of the Amazon. He was Assistant Conductor at Chicago Lyric Opera and New York City Opera from 1958 to 1963. From 1954 to 1980, he was coach/accompanist for Frank Guarrera, Jan Peerce, Giuseppe di Stefano, John Brownlee. He was Guest conductor of the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra, Georgian State Symphony Orchestra, Brasov Philharmonic Orchestra, Tatar State Symphony Orchestra, Latvian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra; Music Director and Conductor of the Villa-Lobos Orchestra of New York.

As a composer, Alfred Heller is drawn to tonal music, and his settings of poems by the likes of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and James Joyce have been praised for their beauty and sensitivity. His compositions were performed in West Germany, Austria, Mexico, USSR, UK and USA.. Songs on Emily Dickinson Poems, was sung by Arleen Augér...

Recordings: Villa-Lobos Violin Sonatas and Piano Suited with violinist Jue Yao (Etcetera Records).

Publications: Two Heine Songs, Guitar Sonata Doctoral Document: A Conductorís Guide to the Bachianas Brasileiras Numbers 2, 3 and 8 of Villa-Lobos (1974). Contributor to: The Brazilian Bach (re Villa-Lobos) for Keynote Magazine, Radio Station WNCN, New York City (April 1987); Heitor Villa-Lobos, Humanitarian and Humorist. Membership: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; Villa-Lobos Music Society (Artistic Director / Chairman), New York City.

Alfred Hellerís first marriage were with Alice Ewing Jones on March 31, 1966, they had one son; his second marriage were with Karen S. Contreil on November 28, 1981.

Source: International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); James Joyce Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2013)

Alfred Heller: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Joyce Music: Alfred Heller


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