Remembering Andrew Frank
Andrew “Andy” Frank, who joined the faculty at UC Davis in 1972, passed away in April, 2022. A consummate artist, Andy was in his beloved music studio until the very end, composing, revising, and revisiting cherished musical and literary masters of the present and past. At Davis he taught composition and analysis and retired and became Professor of Music, emeritus, in 2007. During his time at Davis he was known as a prolific composer who was always willing to contribute a commemorative piece. In 2002, he wrote an all-brass and double-timpani fanfare (Réjouissance) for the opening of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
Frank spent his undergraduate years studying composition with Jacob Druckman and Eli Yarden at Bard College and later with George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick at the University of Pennsylvania. In an Empyrean Ensemble performance at UC Davis during his year of retirement (2007) Frank described his own compositional style, “My work is largely descended from early twentieth-century modernism…. I am grateful to the University of California for allowing me the opportunity over the past thirty-five years to compose, teach, and realize my musical ambitions.” His works were performed by Empyrean, the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, the UC Davis Concert Band, and by several members of the faculty.
Frank received numerous awards, prizes, grants, and commissions for his music, including two BMI Awards, two NEA Composer Fellowships, a Composers Conference Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Many of his works are published by Mobart Music / Schott, Margun Music, G. Schirmer / AMP, Shawnee Press, and E.T. Watkins Press.
His works have been performed nationally and internationally by such ensembles as the Kronos Quartet, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Stony Brook Contemporary Music Players, New Music Consort, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Penn Contemporary Players, Sonor at UC San Diego, Empyrean Ensemble, Indianapolis Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Earplay, Composers Inc., Row Twelve Ensemble, Rice University Percussion Quartet, Westwind Brass Quintet, Albatros Ensemble, Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble, and the New York New Music Ensemble. His music may be heard on several album recordings, which feature performers Marimolin, The Debussy Trio, and Lara Downes, among others.
Among the last works he wrote were Matinee d’ivresse and Au bout de la nuit (premiered by the Empyrean Ensemble at UC Davis), Rhapsody for cello and piano, Duo Concertante for clarinet and piano, Autumn Rhythm V for two marimbas, Autumn Rhythm VI for piano, A Mind of Winter for violin and guitar, and—a particular favorite of his friends—Still Life for solo viola, composed in memory of his father.