Biography

Floridian Henry Wolking—composer, trombonist, conductor, teacher, and author. He completed his Bachelor Degree in music education from the University of Florida, and  Master of Music in  Composition at the University of North Texas in 1971. At the age of twenty-four, he began his teaching career as head of the jazz area at the University of Utah. He retired in 2011 and is a University Professor Emeritus Of Music. He maintains a busy schedule of writing and arranging for classical and jazz groups.

 

      He won second prize in the International Trombone Composition Contest in 1973, the beginning of his successful, consistently productive career as a serious composer. Among his numerous published jazz compositions for big band, several were performed and recorded by the North Texas One O’Clock Jazz Band. His Woodwind Quintet No.1 was recorded by the Clarion Wind Quintet in 1976 for broadcast on National Public Radio and Voice of America and is available on Crystal Records. In the early 1980s, Wolking received premieres of many orchestral works, including his Symphony No. 1, Lydian Horizon, by the Utah Symphony (premiered in 1982), a work which achieved semifinalist status in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards. His Horn Concerto was recorded and broadcast by the New Zealand Symphony in 1985; some of the orchestras performing and recording his works since that time include the London, Utah, New Mexico, Baltimore, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, Nashville, Fairbanks, North Carolina, and Cincinnati Symphonies; the Louisville Orchestra and the BBC Jazz Orchestra; and the Boise and Warsaw Philharmonic.

 


      His Chamber Concerto for Horn, Violin and Bassoon won first place in the 1987 International Horn Composition Contest; his second symphony, Saturnian Verses, was a finalist in the 1991 ASCAP Nissim Awards. In 1992, his ballet score, entitled Forever Yesterday, was broadcast on National Public Radio’s Performance Today. The Modern Art Sextet in Berlin, Germany, performed House of Sky, released on CRS, in 1989. 

Among the several compact discs featuring Wolking’s orchestral music are the “Music of Six Continents” Series presenting two single-movement works for symphony orchestra: Methenyology and A Luta Continua. Pangaea for symphony orchestra, a programmatic representation of continental drift, was premiered by The Fairbanks Symphony and recorded on CRS. Reaching, commissioned by the Chilean chamber music group Ensemble Bartok, was recorded by the Canyon Lands Chamber Ensemble and released on the Centaur label album, "New Music From Utah". Another Centaur release featured Wolking’s arrangements of Gershwin for two pianos and voice. 

Wolking’s catalogue encompasses over twenty compositions for orchestra, including two four-movement symphonies, a ballet, eight concertos, four fantasies, five jazz works, a tango and a fanfare. His continual immersion in a wide variety of musical styles (as a performing trombonist), and his tireless advocacy for new music in the Great Basin and Pacific Northwest make him a viable composer, vital to the arts scene in the Western United States.
 
      As implied by their titles, many of Wolking’s orchestral works carry associations with the landscapes of Utah and surrounding area: Goblin Valley (1988), commissioned by Christopher Wilkins for the Utah Symphony, refers to a state park in southern Utah on the eastern edge of the San Rafael desert. Bear Songs of 1993 was for the Bear Lake Music Festival on the border of southeastern Idaho and northeastern Utah. Others reflect the jazz and big band heritage which informs most of what he writes: “Lyric” for a Jazzman (1988) and Methenyology (a reference to contemporary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny) were both commissioned by Christopher Wilkins for the Utah Symphony; Blues Fantasy was commissioned by the same conductor for the Colorado Springs Symphony. Wolking is a person deeply inspired by the outdoors and natural environment, and grounded in a huge, practical jazz tradition.The Utah Symphony  premiered several of his works, including his six movement, 30 minute trombone concerto, Trombone Tales, that was premiered by Larry Zalkind.

     His most recent recording, "In Sea" is a jazz big band album that was released on Big Round Records in 2016. A classical album, 'Cross Connection' was also recently released on the Navona label. It has received glowing reviews and features 'Gone Playin' for clarinet and string orchestra, and his string quartet, 'The Old Gypsy.' His all orchestral CD featuring the London Symphony and Warsaw Philharmonic is set to be re-released on the Navona label in 2018. It features Forests, Letting Midnight Out On Bail (a six movement double concerto for two pianos and orchestra) and Powell Canyons, for orchestra and jazz quartet. A new big band recording with the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra will be released in late 2018.

 

    Wolking enjoys bringing complex, sometimes seemingly disparate mixes of compositional elements to music that becomes easily approachable for listeners who appreciate its sincere, fresh cosmopolitan character. The gifts of polyrhythms, melodic chorales, and unmistakable grooving inflections of jazz are treated with the same deep sense of artistic integrity and respect as are fanfare motifs, classic musical forms such as waltzes and tangos, the folk sounds of Central and Eastern Europe, and Afro-Cuban rhythms that infuse his various works. He also composed the theme music for the International Sports Broadcasting in connection with the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah. He currently has over 100 works published by over a half dozen or so major publishers including his own company, Wolking Music Publications. After 39 years serving as the Director of Jazz Studies he recently retired, as a University of Utah Professor Emeritus, to devote himself to full time writing and conducting activities.

CONTACT INFORMATION, PLEASE NOTE NEW ADDRESS

 Henry Wolking, 109 Vista Lago Court, Boulder City, NV 89005

801 664 8147

Visit my WMP site at WOLKINGMUSICPUBLICATIONS.COM