Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
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under me. I shall name only three-- Rudi Stephan, Paul Hindemith and Ottmar Gerster. I never satisfied myself merely with criticizing the work of my pupils, but took special pains to go thru with them the entire history of Form from that of the song to the symphony. It was during this period that I learned the valuable lesson that a conscientious teacher can learn as much from his pupils as he teaches them."In 1923 I became the director of the Hoch Conservatory. A whole string of innovations took place in the institution as a result of my efforts. Last year, on account of the political upheaval in Germany, I was compelled to relinquish my post as director of the Conservatory. My home, however, has remained in Frankfurt."As composer, I enjoyed my first great success with the performance of my Serenade, for eleven instruments, which was performed at the Tonkünstlerfest des Allgemeinen Deutschen Musikvereins in Dresden, in 1908. One year later, this same work was performed by one hundred different conductors thruout all of Europe. Despite the fact that this work has been performed thruout the entire music world with enormous success, it has never enjoyed a performance in America. My opera Scheherezade was performed on fifty different stages. My orchestral work, Gesichte, was introduced to the American music public by Leopold Stokowski. Other of my works have been performed by leading organizations thruout Europe, and have brought me great prestige and enormous personal satisfaction."Concerning the quality of his compositions, Kathleen D. Hurst has written: "His works are full of exotic charm, beauty and color and have a certain affinity with the compositions of Cyril Scott."Principal works by Bernhard Sekles:
OPERAS: Schcherezade; Die Hochzeit des Faun; Die Zehn Küsse.
BALLET: Der Zwerg und die Infantin; Der Geburtstag der Infantin.
ORCHESTRA: Symphony; Die Temperamente; Kleine Suite; Der Dybuk; Gesichte.
CHAMBER MUSIC: Two string quartets; Capriccio; Sonata for Violoncello and Piano; Musik für Künstler und Laien in der Alten Manier.
Pieces for piano.

Roger Sessions 1896-

ROGER HUNTINGTON SESSIONS, one of the significant composers in modern American music, was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 28, 1896. From father to son, his ancestors had been New England clergymen and so, despite his birth- place, Sessions is really a New Englander by heritage. He was educated at the Kent School in Connecticut from from which he graduated in 1911; four years later he graduated from Harvard University. It was after his graduation from Harvard that he began to specialize in music. For two years he studied industriously under Horatio Parker at the Yale School of Music and then, having mastered his technical studies, he taught music at Smith College from 1917 until 1921.

It was during this period that he met Ernest Bloch in New York and showed him the manuscript of his early Symphony. Bloch was so deeply impressed by the work that he decided to take the young composer under his personal guidance. For a short while, Sessions studied under Bloch and then, when Bloch was appointed director of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sessions became his assistant.

During this period he produced his first important work ( 1923)--the Black Maskers, after the play of Andreyev, which is still being featured on the programs of important symphony orchestras. This work possesses, as Mark Brunswick points out, "a concentration, a biting intensity expressed with the utmost precision and economy."

Roger Sessions remained with the Institute until 1925 when--upon the forced resignation of Ernest Bloch from the directorship because he made certain outspoken criticisms about the general policies of the school--Sessions resigned out of protest. Fortunately, he won a Guggenheim scholarship at this time which enabled him to go abroad. He remained in Europe for several


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Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations
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