Noah Creshevsky, Composer of ‘Hyperreal’ Music, Dies at 75

Noah Creshevsky, Composer of ‘Hyperreal’ Music, Dies at 75

Noah Creshevsky, Composer of ‘Hyperreal’ Music, Dies at 75

Noah Creshevsky, Composer of ‘Hyperreal’ Music, Dies at 75

Mr. Creshevsky was also a much-admired teacher. He joined the faculty of Brooklyn College in 1969 and served as director of the college’s trailblazing Center for Computer Music from 1994 to 1999. He also taught at the Juilliard School and Hunter College in New York and spent the 1984 academic year at Princeton University.

Noah Creshevsky was born Gary Cohen on Jan. 31, 1945, in Rochester, N.Y., to Joseph and Sylvia Cohen. His father worked in his family’s dry-cleaning business, and his mother was a homemaker. He changed his surname to Creshevsky, according to Mr. Sachs, “to honor his grandparents, whose name it was.” At the same time he also changed his first name, because, he said, “I never felt like a Gary.”

The Cohen household was not especially musical, but young Gary was drawn to a piano that had been bought for his older brother. His parents, Mr. Sachs said, “were surprised to see toddler Noah — his legs too short to reach the pedals — picking out pop melodies he had heard and retained.”

He began his formal musical training at 6, in the preparatory division of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. “Since my nature is that of a composer rather than a performer, I never liked spending much time practicing someone else’s composition,” Mr. Creshevsky said in an interview published by Tokafi, a music website. “Instead of working on the music that had been assigned by my teachers at Eastman, I spent many hours improvising at the piano.” He made money, he said, working as a cocktail pianist at bars and restaurants.

After finishing at Eastman in 1961, he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo, now known as the University at Buffalo, in 1966. There he studied with the noted composer Lukas Foss. He also spent a year with Boulanger at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, in 1963 and 1964, a rite of passage for many prominent American composers.

After graduating he moved to New York City, where he founded a new-music group, the New York Improvisation Ensemble. He studied with Berio at Juilliard and earned his master’s degree in 1968.


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