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A free concert and exhibit at Old Dominion University will honor Richmond composer Allan Blank. A professor emeritus of music at Virginia Commonwealth University, Blank is currently composer-in-residence with the Virginia Chamber Players.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Chandler Recital Hall of the Diehn Fine and Performing Arts Center. It is sponsored by the Old Dominion University Libraries' Diehn Composers Room. Part of the Virginia International Arts Festival, the concert will be performed by the Virginia Chamber Players under the direction of Robert W. Cross and will include the premiere of four recent works by Blank.

The exhibit "Allan Blank and the Creative Process" will open Friday, April 27, in the Diehn Center's Composers Room. It will focus on the development of the four pieces being premiered at the concert and include such items as photographs, notebooks, sketches and correspondence. The exhibit will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday through May 31.

A New York native, Blank has received numerous awards, grants and commissions. He was awarded a grant from the Virginia Commission of the Arts for his "Concerto for Clarinet & String Orchestra" in 1990, and in 1989 he won the Lind Solo Competition. Blank received the Eric Satie Mostly Tonal Award for his string trio "Fantasy on Cantillation Motives" and won the Annual Choral Competition Contest sponsored by the Chautauqua Chamber Singers for his "Poor Richard's Almanack" in 1988.

In the 1983 George Eastman Competition, Blank won first place for his "Duo for Bassoon and Piano." He received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of his one-act opera, "The Magic Bonbons." Blank received three commissions from the Virginia Music Teachers Association in 1979, 1988, 1991, and two commissions to write music for the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg.

Prior to his tenure at Virginia Commonwealth University, from 1978 to 1996, Blank was a violinist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1950-52. He received his master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1950 and his bachelor's from Washington Square College in 1948. Blank also studied at the Julliard School of Music and the High School of Music and Art, where he developed an interest in conducting and composition.

For more information call Karen Meizner at 683-4175.

This article was posted on: March 27, 2001

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