Bunita Marcus, born in Madison, Wisconsin, was a well-recognized pianist and bass clarinetist when she began composing at the age of thirteen. She worked in both electronic and instrumental mediums while at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1981, she received a Ph.D. in Composition from the State University of New York at Buffalo where she held the Edgard Varese Fellowship in Composition and studied with Morton Feldman. Ms. Marcus' music has been consistently praised for its beauty and rare sensitivity. Kyle Gann of the Village Voice has called her one of his favorite women composers of all time. He applauds her piano work Julia for its "touching and unassuming depth," which "had the audience hushed under the impact of deeply communicated feeling." Los Angeles critic Alan Rich says her work Adam and Eve "states an eloquent case for the persistence of pure beauty in contemporary composition."
Bunita met Morton Feldman in 1976, beginning a long association that lasted until his death in 1987. For seven years they were inseparable. Feldman and Marcus composed side by side, sharing musical thoughts and ideas. In 1985 Feldman dedicated his new piano composition: "For Bunita Marcus." Today, Dr. Marcus lectures, coaches and writes regularly on Morton Feldman's music.
Bunita Marcus has written commissions for Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Kronos Quartet, Aki Takahashi, the Xenakis Ensemble, Morton Feldman and Soloists, Tokyo "Sound-Space ARK" Ensemble, and others. Her music has received awards from the National Endowment of the Arts (Composer's Fellowship), the International Society of Contemporary Music/World Music Days, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the League of Composers' National Competition, and the coveted Kranichsteiner Musikpreis at Darmstadt.
From 1985-1990 Ms. Marcus produced the Salon Concert Series with painter Francesco Clemente in New York City. Today she is active as a composer, conductor and pianist, appearing in concerts and festivals around the world.
Photo: Jason Schoch