SEATTLE (AP) -- Alan Hovhaness, a prolific composer who melded Western and Asian musical styles to create a unique melodic blend of his own, died Wednesday. He was 89.
Hovhaness died at Swedish Medical Center, according to Gerard Schwarz, music director of the Seattle Symphony. Hovhaness had been a composer-in-residence with the orchestra. Schwarz said Hovhaness had suffered from a severe stomach ailment for the last three years.
''His music reflects the kind of gentle, wonderful soul that he was, but also has the turbulence that one sees in an eruption of a volcano or a tremendous thunderstorm,'' Schwarz said.
Hovhaness wrote more than 400 pieces, including at least nine operas, two ballets, more than 60 symphonies, and more than 100 chamber pieces.
His works include ''Lousadzak'' (1944), for piano and orchestra; ''Wind Drum'' (1962), a music-dance drama; ''And God Created the Great Whales'' (1970); and ''The Way of Jesus'' (1974), a folk Mass.
He was born Alan Vaness Chamakjian, in Somerville, Mass., in 1911. His mother was Scottish and his father, an Armenian chemistry professor.
His early compositions were thoroughly Western. But the influences of Eastern musical styles became more evident after he attended Bohuslav Martinu's master class in composition in 1942 at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.
Hovhaness was the first Western composer asked to write music for an orchestra comprised entirely of Indian instruments. He became a composer-in-residence with the Seattle Symphony in 1966.
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