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.


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


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


References in periodicals archive ?
Similarly, it might be useful to know that Roger Sessions separated from his wife Barbara after 13 years of marriage, but what is implied on p.
Roger Sessions came into my life via Lazare Saminsky.
Some highlights: a letter to Roger Sessions recommending Schenker's student Moritz Violin to a teaching position in which quite complimentary things are said about the application of Schenker's insights to performance; a letter and a note countering Adorno's critiques of the twelve-tone method in terms that should correct the perennial false impression that Adorno was the indicated spokesperson for Schoenberg and his school; a parody of the opera Palestrina by the arch conservative Hans Pfitzner; a passage from the first and third editions of the Harmonielehre, arranged in parallel columns on the page that shows the massive revision undertaken to that treatise upon its republication in 1923; and draft libretti to two operas, Odoakar and Superstition.
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.
Walter Kramer, Henry Cowell, Nicholas Slonimsky, Lou Harrison, and Roger Sessions), the whole American group assembled by Sabine Feisst.
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.
American composers in the mainstream tradition are Walter Piston, Howard Hanson, Virgil Thomson, Roger Sessions, William Schuman, Samuel Barber, and Paul Creston.
The texts are excerpted from Walt Whitman's profound elegy on the death of Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." Paul Hindemith and Roger Sessions each produced large-scale cantata settings of Whitman's sixteen-part poem.
How is the relative importance of such diverse figures as Edgard Varese, Roger Sessions, and Eric Satie decided?