One of the ongoing Twitter hashtag groups I participate with is #ClassicsaDay. For July 2017, I used the theme #USclassics, and presented an entire month of American composers with examples of their music.
Twitter’s 140 character limit constrained my tweets to the composer’s name, the title of the work, links, and hashtags. Below is an annotated list of the #USclassics composers I featured this past week, which finishes up the series. Links to the entire series at the bottom of this post.
Edmond Dédé (1827–1903)
– Edmond Dédé was a free-born Creole in New Orleans. Though a prodigy both as a composer and a violinist, Dédé had to leave the States in order to have a career. Dédé eventually settled in Paris in the 1850s and studied at the Paris Conservatoire. He conducted the Bordeaux Théâtre l’Alcazar for almost three decades and toured as a concert violinist. Dédé’s compositions were frequently performed in Europe.
His son Eugene Arcade Dédé was also a successful composer.
Arthur Foote (1853–1937)
– Arthur Foote was a composer and organist who remained in Massachusetts for most of his professional career. He was part of the Boston Six (along with Amy Beach, George Whitefield Chadwick, Edward MacDowell, John Knowles Paine, and Horatio Parker). Foote was also one of the founders of the American Guild of Organists.
His style shows influences of Brahms and Wagner. Most of Foote’s output was chamber music, and it was in this genre that he excelled. Foote’s Piano Quintet and Piano Quartet are his most frequently performed works.
George Whitefield Chadwick (1854–1931)
– George Chadwick was another member of the Boston Six. He studied in Europe with Carl Reinecke and Joseph Rheinberger. Chadwick’s music, though steeped in the language of European romanticism, retained an American flavor. Chadwick wrote symphonies, operas, and other large-scale works. His string quartets, especially his fourth, remain his best-known works.
George Templeton Strong (1856–1948)
– George Strong was born in New York City and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. He taught briefly at the New England Conservatory of Music. Although Strong permanently moved to Switzerland in 1897 he’s still considered an American — rather than Swiss — composer. Strong wrote in a late-romantic style. He was also a talented artist, with a 30-year career as a serious painter.
Arthur Farwell (1872–1952)
– Arthur Farwell graduated from MIT in 1893 as an engineer but soon turned to music. He studied with Engelbert Humperdinck in Berlin. Farwell returned to the States in 1899. He was a leader in the American Indianist movement. The Indianists were white composers using Native American melodies and culture in their own work.
Farwell established Wa-Wan press to publish Indianist works. He did most of the lithography, music engraving and cover designs for his publications.
Farwell’s catalog includes an extensive amount of choral, chamber and orchestral music, of which Native American-inspired compositions is only a part. Roy Harris and Bernard Rogers are among his students.
Marion Bauer (1882–1955)
– Like many American composers, Marion Bauer studied with Nadia Boulanger. She was the first female faculty member of NYU’s music department. She was a contemporary and colleague of Aaron Copland. Milton Babbitt was one of her many students.
Bauer helped found the American Music Center and the American Composer’s Alliance. Bauer wrote over 160 works, most using some form of extended tonality.
Jan Bach (born 1937)
– Jan Bach studied with Aaron Copland and Thea Musgrave. A professional horn player, Bach is best known for his works for horn (especially his Horn Concerto). Bach’s music often has a wry humor to it. Bach has written two operas, several orchestral works, and a substantial amount of chamber music (a good portion featuring brass instruments).
Gregory Short (1938–1999)
– Gregory Short was born on the Yakima Indian Reservation. He spent most of his professional life in Washington State. Short was a pianist and composer and graduated from Julliard and the University of Oregon. Short’s compositions often incorporated music and cultural themes of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans. Short wrote over 300 works. His catalog includes two piano concertos, and several orchestral tone poems, including the Northwest Tetralogy for Orchestra.
Margaret Brouwer (born 1940)
– A student of George Crumb and Donald Erb, Margaret Brouwer writes music that’s both accessible and other-worldly. She’s known for her engaging melodies, even in works that challenge the listener. Brouwer founded the Blue Streak Ensemble to perform music of living composers. She also organized the “Music by the Lake” contemporary music concert series. Brouwer’s career took off in the 21st Century with
several commissions for major works. Her Percussion Concerto, Viola Concerto and Violin Concerto all date from this period.
Kenneth Fuchs (born 1956)
– Kenneth Fuchs studied with Milton Babbitt, David Diamond, and Vincent Persichetti. Fuchs writes in a relaxed tonal style. Rhythmic and textural changes usually provide his music’s forward motion as opposed to harmonic progression. Fuchs is best known for his orchestral works, which are frequently performed throughout the world.
Annotated List for Week 1: Charles Theodor Pachelbel through Roger Zare
Annotated List for Week 2: Benjamin Carr through Roger Boureland
Annotated List for Week 3: William Billings through Adrienne Albert