David S. Bernstein,Composer
2000 CLEVELAND ARTS PRIZE FOR MUSIC
David S. Bernstein is a creative artist of
unusual versatility in his choice of musical genres—from intimate
chamber combinations to pieces for full band and orchestra, from music
for films and video productions to theater, dance and opera. Among his
distinctive works is an animated film chosen for a top spot in the
Datsun Film Competition and screened at the Director’s Guild in
Hollywood. He has scored music for commercials for Goodyear, American
Greetings, Classic Video, Ohio Farmers’ Insurance and others. And in
November 1999 his three one-act operas based on stories by Poe and
Hawthorne were performed as a set at the University of Akron.
all of these different musical genres, each posing its own special
challenges, he has brought technical expertise, an eclectic style
appropriate to the material, an unusual awareness of music’s historical
sweep, continuity and cross-influences, and a flair for instant
communication. Dr. Bernstein’s large and varied output has been heard
in over 100 performances during the last decades in prestigious venues
of this country, as well as Canada, South America and Europe.
Distinguished musical organizations have programmed his work, including
the Musart Series of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Eastman
Percussion Ensemble, the Akron Symphony Orchestra under Louis Lane and
the Cleveland Chamber Symphony under Edwin London. Eight publishers
have issued scores of his, and he has received some 30 grants and
to composition, David Bernstein has been active for many years in
related activities such as conducting, narrating, teaching, lecturing,
administrating, producing and directing. In 1972 he joined the faculty
of the University of Akron, where since 1983 he has been professor of
music and chairman of the theory and composition department. He has
traveled widely and given lectures on his and others’ music in Poland,
Canada, and half a dozen U.S. cities.
native of Boston, he is a graduate of the Florida State University
School of Music with bachelor’s and master’s degrees; he earned his
doctorate in music in 1974, with distinction, from the Indiana
University School of Music. Before coming to Akron, he served as a
school music teacher in Passaic, New Jersey. He was also a guest
lecturer at the University of Southern California.
past June, after a faculty tenure of nearly three decades, Dr.
Bernstein retired from his position at the University of Akron—though
not, surely, from new ventures in composition. It is our great pleasure
to award him the Cleveland Arts Prize as a gesture of appreciation for
his notable contributions to the musical life of this area.
—Klaus G. Roy