Joan Chase was born and raised in Ohio. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in philosophy and history and later enrolled in the Writing Workshop of the University of Vermont. After being turned down by several publishers, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia was released by Harper & Row in 1983 and went on to win numerous prizes, including the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for first fiction by an American writer. Chase is also the author of The Evening Wolves (1990) and the story collection Bonneville Blue (1991). She lives in Massachusetts.
Paul Griffiths (born 24 November 1947) is a British music critic, novelist and librettist. He is particularly noted for his writings on modern classical music and for having written the libretti for two 20th century operas, Tan Dun's Marco Polo and Elliott Carter's What Next?.
Biography and career
Paul Griffiths was born in the Welsh town of Bridgend to Fred and Jeanne Griffiths. He received his BA and MSc in biochemistry from Lincoln College, Oxford, and from 1971 worked as a freelance music critic. He joined the editorial staff of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians in 1973 and in 1982 became the chief music critic for The Times, a post which he held for ten years. From 1992 to 1996, he was a music critic for The New Yorker, and from 1997–2005, for The New York Times. A collection of his musical criticism for these and other periodicals was published in 2005 as The substance of things heard: writings about music, Volume 31 of Eastman Studies in Music. He was named a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2002 and a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.
In 1978, he also began writing reference books and monographs on classical music and composers starting with Modern music: A Concise History from Debussy to Boulez and Boulez (Volume 16 of Oxford Studies of Composers). Although the majority of these publications have dealt with 20th century composers and their music, he has also written more general works on classical music, including The String Quartet: A History (1985), The Penguin Companion to Classical Music (2005), and A Concise History of Western Music (2006).
In 1989, Griffiths published his first novel, Myself and Marco Polo: A Novel of Changes, which went on to win the 1990 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best first novel in the Europe and South Asia region. The novel is a fictional version of Marco Polo's memoirs which he dictated to Rustichello da Pisa, his fellow inmate in the Genoese prison where he had been incarcerated upon his return from China. (Rustichello is the "myself" of the title.) Two years later, he published his second novel, The Lay of Sir Tristram, a retelling of the Tristan and Iseult legend interjected with the narrator's own love story and his meditations on the legend's fluctuating influence and interpretation over time. Griffiths' most recent novel, let me tell you (2008), uses a constrained writing technique similar to those employed by the avant-garde Oulipo group. In let me tell you, Ophelia tells her story in a first-person narrative devised by Griffiths using only the 481 word vocabulary given to her in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Griffiths' first excursion as an opera librettist was The Jewel Box which used music from Mozart's unfinished operas Lo sposo deluso and L'oca del Cairo as well as several arias and ensembles that he had written for insertion into operas by other composers. The story-line is an imagined reconstruction of a pantomime in which Mozart and Aloysia Weber are said to have taken part in 1783. The Jewel Box premiered in 1991 in Nottingham performed by Opera North and conducted by Elgar Howarth. It was subsequently performed in the United States by Skylight Opera Theatre (1993), Wolf Trap Opera (1994), Chicago Opera Theater (1996), and New Jersey State Opera (1996). It was revived by Bampton Classical Opera in 2006 for the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. His second work of this type, Aeneas in Hell, was set to songs and dance music from Purcell's theatre scores and was devised as a "prequel" to the composer's 1689 opera, Dido and Aeneas. It premiered in 1995 at the University of Maryland's Ulrich Recital Hall conducted by Kenneth Slowik.
Griffiths' libretto for Tan Dun's Marco Polo was his first for an opera by a living composer. In the late 1980s Tan Dun has been commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival to compose an original opera. As he recounted in a 1997 interview:
I first tried to write the libretto myself, about something from myself, and wasn't getting anywhere. Then someone, in 1990, said why not read Paul Griffiths's novel Myself and Marco Polo? I read it and phoned him at his home near Oxford. And he agreed to write a libretto.
Marco Polo finally received its world premiere in 1996, not in Edinburgh as originally planned, but in Munich at the Munich Biennale. Although Griffiths' libretto was not directly related to or based on his novel, the first line of the opera, "I have not told one half of what I saw", was the novel's final statement. Griffiths' next commission as a librettist was for Elliott Carter's only opera, What Next?. The work premiered in 1999 at Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden, conducted by Daniel Barenboim who also conducted its US premiere in a concert performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the following year.
In addition to his original libretti, Griffiths has produced modern English translations of those for Stravinsky's Histoire du soldat, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and Puccini's La bohème. He has also written poetic texts to accompany other classical music genres. His there is still time, subtitled "scenes for speaking voice and cello", is a spoken narration to accompany music by the cellist and avant-garde composer, Frances-Marie Uitti. As in his later novel, let me tell you, Griffiths' text uses Ophelia's vocabulary in Hamlet. The work was recorded in 2003 by ECM Records with Griffiths himself as the narrator. A more recent collaboration of this type was The General, which premiered in Montreal on 16 January 2007, with Kent Nagano conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The General, a concert piece for symphony orchestra, narrator, soprano and chorus was conceived by Nagano as a tribute the Canadian General Roméo Dallaire. Griffiths' narrative texts, inspired by Dallaire's attempts to stop the Rwandan genocide, are interwoven with the music from Beethoven's complete Egmont score and his Opferlied (Song of Sacrifice).
Paul Griffiths' first marriage ended in divorce. In 1998, he married the short-story writer, Anne West.
Music history and criticism
Modern music: A Concise History from Debussy to Boulez, Thames and Hudson, 1978
Modern Music: The avant garde since 1945, Braziller, 1981 (revised and expanded as Modern music and after: Directions since 1945, Oxford University Press, 1995; third edition, Oxford University Press, 2010)
A Guide to Electronic Music, Thames and Hudson, 1981.
The String Quartet: A History, Thames and Hudson, 1985.
New sounds, new personalities: British composers of the 1980s in conversation with Paul Griffiths, Faber and Faber, 1985
The Penguin Companion to Classical Music, Penguin Group, 2005.
The substance of things heard: writings about music, Volume 31 of Eastman Studies in Music, University of Rochester Press, 2005.
A Concise History of Western Music, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Monographs on 20th century composers
Boulez (Volume 16 of Oxford Studies of Composers), Oxford University Press, 1978
Cage (Volume 18 of Oxford Studies of Composers), Oxford University Press, 1981
Peter Maxwell Davies (Contemporary Composers series), Robson Books, 1982.
Second Viennese school: Schoenberg, Webern, Berg (with Oliver Neighbour and George Perle for the New Grove Composer Biographies series) Norton, 1983.
György Ligeti (Contemporary Composers series), Robson Books, 1983.
The sea on fire: Jean Barraqué (Volume 25 of Eastman Studies in Music), University of Rochester Press, 2003.
The Jewel Box, or, A Mirror Remade – premiered 1991 (published by Chatto & Windus)
Aeneas in Hell – premiered 1994 (unpublished)
Marco Polo – premiered 1996 (published by G. Schirmer,)
What Next? – premiered 1999 (published by Boosey & Hawkes)
Novels and short stories
Myself and Marco Polo: A Novel of Changes, Chatto & Windus, 1989.
The Lay of Sir Tristram, Chatto & Windus, 1991.
"Leda" in Ovid Metamorphosed (Philip Terry ed.), Chatto & Windus, 2000.
let me tell you, Reality Street Editions, 2008.
Minsoo Kang is a historian and writer. Currently, he is an assistant professor of European intellectual history in the Department of History at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Kang is also an expert on the history of automata in science and in fiction.
Kang has published numerous books and articles on European history. In Of Tales and Enigmas, a collection of his essays and short stories, Kang adopts the styles of Western genre fiction to explore his personal vision of Korean history, which creates a marvelously surrealistic landscape where histories, ideas, and legends freely intermingle in a wonderful harmony.
Minsoo Kang was born in Seoul, South Korea, his father is a South Korean diplomat and his mother is a professor of French literature. In accordance with the international nature of his father's job, Kang grew up in Korea, Austria, Iran, Germany, Brunei, and other places for shorter periods. He is fluent in Korean and English, and can read in German and French.
Kang graduated from the University of Southern California in 1988 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies of History, Philosophy, and Religion; he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in European History from University of California, Los Angeles in 1991 and 2004, respectively.
Kang is an expert on the history of automata. His book Sublime Dreams of Living Machines looks at automata in the European imagination throughout history. While covering a broad history of golems, talking heads, mechanical ducks, and so forth, Kang pursues questions regarding how automata fit the historical periods that created them.
Kang is an assistant professor of Modern European history with a concentration in eighteenth and nineteenth century France, Britain, and Germany. His research focuses on intellectual and cultural history, the history of science and technology, and global history pertaining to interactions between Europeans and East Asians in the early modern period. He has also written several essays on Korean history focusing on the transition from the late Goryeo dynasty to the early Joseon.
Kang's work often explores the relationship between history and fiction. His master's thesis, The Intrusion of History: The Novels of Milan Kundera in the Context of Czechoslovak History pursued the idea of using literature for the study of history. He also studies film, historical novels, and science fiction as history.
Minsoo Kang’s translation of The Story of Hong Gildong is coming out in March 2015 from Penguin Classics.
Joanna Luloff received her MFA from Emerson College and her PhD from the University of Missouri. Before all of those years of graduate school, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Baddegama, Sri Lanka. Her short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Confrontation, Memorious, and New South, and her collection The Beach at Galle Road was published by Algonquin Books in October, 2012. She is an Assistant Professor of English at University of Colorado, Denver.
Luke Salisbury is a Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and teaches English and Film. He is the author of The Answer Is Baseball (1989) and a novel, The Cleveland Indian (1992) which was nominated for the Casey Award in 1992 as best baseball book of the year. Mr. Salisbury contributed to Red Sox Century: One Hundred Years of Red Sox Baseball, Baseball & The Game of Life, Ted Williams: A Portrait in Words and Pictures, DiMaggio: An Illustrated Life, Jackie Robinson: Between the Baselines, and Fall Classics: The Best Writing About The World Series’ First Hundred Years. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Ploughshares, Stories Magazine, Pulpsmith, Fan, Elysian Fields, Spitball, Nine, SABR Review of Books, and Cooperstown Review. He is a past vice president and national secretary of the Society For American Baseball Research (SABR).
GilmoreTamny lives in Somerville, MA, where she likes to write proverbs, melodramas, novels, poems and songs (the latter for the band Weather Weapon) and also has been busy with a series of drawings using both the left and right hand. She listens to an inordinate amount of audiobooks. (It's true, she does. - Ed.)
Carl Vigeland is the author of nine books: The Great Romance, The Breathless Present, The Mostly Mozart Guide to Mozart, In Concert, Stalking the Shark, Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life (with Wynton Marsalis), Letters to a Young Golfer, Great Good Fortune, and Jonathan Sternberg. Carl Vigeland has also written about many different subjects for a wide variety of magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Country Journal, DoubleTake, Downbeat, Fast Company, Golf Digest, Harper's, Harvard, New England Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, and Yankee. An amateur pianist and trumpet player, he is also an avid skier and excellent golfer-activities about which he has often written. Vigeland is a graduate of Harvard, and he was for many years a lecturer in journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he was cited for excellence in teaching. Among other awards, his book In Concert (about the Boston Symphony) received a New York Public Library commendation, and his Mozart research and writing was aided by a residency at Yaddo.