Kirchner, Leon

Kirchner, Leon,

1919–2009, American composer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Kirchner studied at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, with Ernest BlochBloch, Ernest
, 1880–1959, Swiss-American composer. Among his teachers were Jaques-Dalcroze and Ysaÿe. He taught at the Geneva Conservatory, 1911–15, and at the Mannes School, New York, 1917–19; he was director of the Cleveland Institute of Music,
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, Arnold SchoenbergSchoenberg, Arnold
, 1874–1951, Austrian composer, b. Vienna. Before he became a U.S. citizen in 1941 he spelled his name Schönberg. He revolutionized modern music by abandoning tonality and developing a twelve-tone, "serial" technique of composition (see serial
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, and Roger SessionsSessions, Roger,
1896–1985, American composer and teacher, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Sessions was a pupil of Horatio Parker at Yale and of Ernest Bloch. He taught (1917–21) at Smith, leaving to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Music as Bloch's assistant.
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. Although he used many of the most modern techniques of composition, including electronics, he was a self-proclaimed romantic. Among his works are orchestral and chamber works, two piano concertos (1953 and 1963); four string quartets (1950, 1958, 1966, and 2006), the third for strings and tape; and the opera Lily, 1974. Kirchner was also professor of music at Harvard (1961–89), a pianist, and a conductor.


See his memoir (2008).

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Kirchner, Leon

(1919–  ) composer; born in New York City. A student of Roger Sessions and Schoenberg among others, he taught at Harvard from 1961. His music is modernist in a German vein but nonetheless personal and intensely expressive.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.