Richard Wernick

Wernick's list of teachers is impressive: Aaron Copland, Ernst Toch, Boris Blacher, Irving Fine, Harold Shapero, and Leon Kirchner. While studying composition in the 1950s he also took conducting lessons from Leonard Bernstein and Seymour Lipkin and worked in film and television, producing many incidental scores. His earliest large compositions began appearing in the 1950s and included the 1954 incidental score to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Wernick also taught music, first serving on the faculty at SUNY, Buffalo and then at the University of Chicago. From 1968-1996 he taught music at the University of Pennsylvania. During his 32-year tenure there Wernick produced his most enduring scores, including Visions of Terror and Wonder, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, which received the Pulitzer Prize the following year, and the 1993 Second Symphony.

Wernick has remained active in composition since his 1996 retirement, producing such works as Music da Camera, for chamber ensemble. In 2006 Wernick received the Composer of the Year Award from the Classical Recording Foundation, funds from which subsidized the 2009 Bridge CD Music of Richard Wernick, which contained works for guitar and chamber ensemble.