Roger Sessions


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Sessions, Roger

 

Born Dec. 28, 1896, in Brooklyn, N.Y. American composer.

Sessions studied under H. Parker and E. Bloch. Between 1925 and 1933 he worked intermittently in Florence, Rome, and Berlin. Together with A. Copland, he organized the Copland-Sessions Concerts (1928–31), which made an important contribution to the popularization of contemporary American music. From 1934 to 1942 he headed the International Society for Contemporary Music; he was elected the society’s vice-president in 1953. In 1933, Sessions embarked on a teaching career, lecturing on composition at various universities and conservatories in the USA, as well as in European countries. He visited the USSR in 1958.

Sessions’ musical style is significant in the history of composition and is characterized by an intellectual profundity, expressiveness, and taut counterpoint. His works include the operas The Trial of Lucullus (after B. Brecht, 1947) and Montezuma (1964, West Berlin), Idyll of Theocritus for voice and orchestra (1954), eight symphonies, an orchestral suite for L. N. An-dreev’s play The Black Maskers (1923), a concerto for violin and orchestra (1935), a concerto for piano and orchestra (1956), and instrumental chamber music, including ensemble works. Sessions has also composed choral works and works for piano. Sessions has written textbooks on harmony and works on the aesthetics and theory of music.

WORKS

The Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, Listener. Princeton, N.J., 1950.
Questions About Music. Cambridge, Mass., 1970.

REFERENCE

Schubart. M. A. “Roger Sessions.” Musical Quarterly, 1946, vol. 32, no. 2.

DZH. K. MIKHAILOV

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Earlier books and biographies, including Prausnitz's Roger Sessions, make no mention at all of this important and emotional episode in his life.
One composer was Arnold Schonberg and the other was Roger Sessions.
Roger Sessions was a very, very involved composer whose music was hard to perceive (for one thing) and except for his very valuable insight, it would be impossible for me to be aware of any influence of his music on my music.
Rejecting Auner's concept of "school," Bernard focuses on a comparison of twelve-tone structures in works of Wallingford Riegger, Ernst Krenek, Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Milton Babbitt, Luciano Berio, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, Henri Pousseur, Roger Sessions, and others.
degree from Northwestern University in 1950, then studied composition with Darius Milhaud at Mills College and Roger Sessions at Berkeley.
Following a brief period of formal music studies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory, he studied privately, and again briefly, with Roger Sessions, Walter Piston, and Nicolas Slonimsky.
About music by Roger Sessions written after The Black Maskers (1923): "So ordered and concentrated did his music become that it struck many as excessively prescribed by the intellect.
How is the relative importance of such diverse figures as Edgard Varese, Roger Sessions, and Eric Satie decided?
It was fortunate for Roger Sessions that during the last fifteen years of his life the musician and scholar Andrea Olmstead became keenly interested in his work.