Neo-classical romanticism for the 21st century
Edmund Barton Bullock leads an excitingly unique double career as a Franco-American composer and pianist. Bullock performs his own works as well as works of the masters, both as a soloist, chamber musician and with orchestra, throughout North America and Europe to enthusiastic audiences. His performances include such prestigious venues such as the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York, French embassies in Canada and Spain, lecture/recitals and concerts in European cathedrals and performance halls, as well as in North American churches, schools and universities.
Bullock’s breakthrough commission for a major orchestral work resulted in the ‘Appalachian’ Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, which was performed with Bullock as soloist in two concerts with Adrian McDonnell, conductor, and the Orchestre de la Cité Internationale de Paris, in Paris, France in 2008, and two performances with John Ross, conductor, and the Western-Piedmont Symphony of North Carolina in 2009. This concerto embodies the musical syntax within the sphere of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. Herein also are the clarity, elegance, and refined use of color that appeals to Francophiles while remaining rooted in the American experience.
In 1999, Bullock began a collaboration with the prestigious Académie des Jeux Floraux de Toulouse, the oldest literary society in the western world, founded by seven troubadours in 1323. This association led to the creation of the Cycle of Seven Art Songs in honor of the Seven Troubadours and of Clémence Isaure, based on the history of the academy. It was premiered in France and later performed at Carnegie Hall in the USA. Bullock’s art songs are published by Classical Vocal Reprints.
Inspired by the great tango composer and singer, Carlos Gardel, Bullock composed Three Tango Fantasies, for Piano Solo, in 2003. With encouragements by the late wind ensemble composer, Alfred Reed, and on the request of Appalachian State University and a private sponsor, Bullock created a transcription of this work: A Spanish Concertina, for Bandoneon and Wind Ensemble. This distinctive work was premiered in 2005 by renowned Argentinean bandoneonist, Daniel Binelli, and the Appalachian Wind Ensemble, William Gora, conductor, during Gora’s farewell concert.
Bullock, a North Carolina native of the United States, and a resident of France for over 20 years, currently lives near Toulouse, France, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. In this lovely setting conducive to receiving creative inspiration, Bullock prepares concerts and composes works, from piano solo, chamber music to large ensemble.
The Western-Piedmont Symphony and the Hickory Choral Society of North Carolina have commissioned an oratorio, based on the libretto of American author and playwright Monty Joynes. It is entitled The Awakening of Humanity, for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Bass-baritone, Chorus and Full Orchestra, and is inspired by the cosmology of the Cherokee Native Americans. Its projected premier is April 2012.
The Washington Post has said about Bullock’s music and performing:
“Bullock can immerse himself deeply in piano sound, transmuting the keys into a variety of styles from Beethovenian gestures and Bullock’s own whispered impressionist sallies to Rachmaninoff’s visceral harmonies. Edmund Barton Bullock is a pianist’s pianist…”
The Classical Voice of North Carolina said about his ‘Elegy’ Sonata, for ‘Cello and Piano:
“Bullock writes in the long-established French tradition of works such as Ravel's "Pavane" and "Le Tombeau de Couperin" and other memorial pieces dating back to the 18th-century clavecinists. Based on this and the other set of works performed, his musical syntax appears to fall within the sphere of Fauré, Debussy, and Ravel. His clarity, elegance, and refined use of color appealed to this Francophile.”
Of soprano Hyunah Yu’s performance of Songs of the Night, for Soprano and Piano-Trio, Toulouse, France La Dépêche says:
“Bullock’s rendering envelops the voice with a piano-trio, thus adding a rich instrumental palette to the poetry of the texts. With rare sensitivity, Hyunah Yu knew how to communicate the emotion of these poems. A revelation…”