Elie Siegmeister

  • Elie Siegmeister’s music speaks in a lyrical and communicative voice. Uniting architectural strength and dramatic intensity, the composer’s style ranges from clear tonality to complex music textures, often weaving jazz and folk elements into broad formal designs. In a citation by the American Institute of Arts and Letters, the composer’s work was described as “always highly charged, admirably crafted, and deeply rooted in the life of the people as well as in his profound emotional experience.

    Siegmeister’s wide range of creativeness embraces symphonies, operas, chamber music, songs, compositions for piano, band, and solo instruments as well as scores for Broadway, the ballet, and Hollywood film. His thirty seven orchestral works have been performed by leading orchestras throughout the world under such conductors as Toscanini, Stokowski, Mitropoulos, Maazel, and Comissiona, and his eight operas presented in France, Belgium, Canada, and across the United States.

    Born in New York City in 1909, Elie Siegmeister studied piano with Emil Friedberger, theory with Seth Bingham at Columbia University (where he earned his B.A. cum laude at eighteen) and conducting with Albert Stoessel at the Juilliard School. He also studied counterpoint with Wallingford Riegger and composition with Nadia Boulanger for four years in Paris.

    In addition to composing, Siegmeister has made many important contributions to American musical life as writer, conductor, teacher, and tireless protagonist of the American composer. In 1937 he was a founder of the American Composer’s Alliance. In 1939 he organized and for eight years conducted the American Ballad Singers who were pioneers in the folk music renaissance. Between 1960 and 1965 he served as vice-president of the American Music Center, and 1966-1976 was composer-in-residence at Hofstra University. In 1971 he established and became chairman of the Council of Creative Artists, Libraries, and Museums, to restore tax equity to the artist. In 1978, the composer initiated the Kennedy Center’s National Black Music Competition, and in 1977 was elected to the Board of Directors of ASCAP, of whose Symphony and Concert Committee he was also chairman.

    Equally adept with words as with notes, Elie Siegmeister has written a number of important books on music, among them the classic Treasury of American Song, The New Music Lover’s Handbook, and the two-volume Harmony and Melody which serves as a standard text in many colleges and conservatories. Among his awards and commissions have been those of the Guggenheim, Ford and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundations, the American Institute of Arts and Letters, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, the USIA and the Baltimore and Shreveport Symphonies.

    Siegmeister’s compositions often reflect the color and spirit of the American scene. A number of these works, among them Ozark Set, Sing Out, Sweet Land, Western Suite, and The Strange Funeral in Braddock, as well as some of the composer’s more abstract music – his Third Symphony, String Quartets nos. 2 and 3, five Violin and Piano sonatas, and the Sextet for Brass and Percussion – have been recorded on RCA Victor, Columbia, Decca, Vox Turnabout, CRI, Orion, Gasparo, and other labels.


  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    Chamber/Solo
    414-41113 American Harp
    Suite for Solo Harp
    Harp Unaccompanied
    CY1959 Prelude, Blues and Finale
    2 Clarinets
    ATF133 Solos for Clarinet
    Clarinet with Piano
    O5047 Songs Of Experience
    Chamber Ensemble
    CY1738 Summer
    full score, vla., pno.
    O5179 String Quartet No. 2
    String Quartet
    O5180 String Quartet No. 3
    String Quartet
    CY2173 Ten Minutes for Four Players
    Set of score and parts, full score, Flute, Oboe, clarinet in Bb, Bassoon
    Orchestra
    21301 Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight
    7:00 SATB chorus; 1 1 2 1 – 2 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    SC47 American Holiday
    Orchestra
    21302 American Holiday
    Full Orchestra Version
    8:30 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 3 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21303 American Holiday
    Version for Chamber Orchestra
    8:30 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    21307 Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
    16:00 Solo Cl.; 1 1 1 1 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    21308 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    21:00 Solo flute; 0 1 2 1 – 2 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21309 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
    25:00 Solo Pno.; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 2 1; Timp. 2Perc. Str.
    21310 Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
    28:00 Solo Vln.; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 3 2 3 0; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    CY1771 Dick Whittington and His Cat
    21315 Dick Whittington and His Cat
    19:00 Narrator; 1 2(E.H.) 1 1 – 3 1 1 0; 2Perc. Pno.(1 or 2 players) Str.
    21316 An Entertainment: Double Concerto
    20:00 Solo violin, solo piano; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Perc. Str.
    21319 The Face of War
    8:30 Solo low voice; 2(Fl.1-2 dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    -or-
    Solo low voice; pno.
    FE212 Face Of War
    O5171 Fantasies In Line and Color
    Orchestra
    21320 Fantasies in Line and Color
    (Five American Paintings)
    21:00 3(Fl.2-3 dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(Cl.2 dbl.Eb Cl. / Cl.3 dbl.B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    21321 Five Fantasies of the Theatre
    12:00 2 (fl. 1-2 dbl. picc.)/2 (eng.hn.)/2 (Eb cl.)/b.cl./2/2(cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Str.
    21323 From My Window: Suite for Orchestra
    9:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21324 From These Shores
    for Orchestra
    14:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2(dbl.Eb Cl. / dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 0; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21325 Funnybone Alley: A Musical Fantasy for Children
    21:00 Solo medium voice; Str.
    O5024 Lonesome Hollow
    Orchestra
    21328 Lonesome Hollow
    7:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.EbCl.) 2 – 4 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Hp.(or sub. w/ Pno.) Str.
    21334 On the River (Homage to Mark Twain)
    14:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21337 Prairie Legend
    (Orchestra version)
    10:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21339 Riversong
    7:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 3 2 2 1; Timp. Perc. Hp.(or Pno.) Str.
    O5025 Shadows and Light
    Orchestra
    21342 Shadows and Light
    18:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(Cl.1 dbl.EbCl. / Cl.2 dbl.B.Cl.) 2(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    111-40071 Strange Funeral In Braddock
    14863 The Strange Funeral in Braddock
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    7:00 3 3 2 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    21346 Summer Night
    7:00 2 2(dbl. E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 3 2 2 1; Timp. Hp. str.
    O5204 Sunday In Brooklyn
    Orchestra
    21348 Symphony No. 1
    27:00 3(Fl.2-3 dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 4(Eb Cl./B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21349 Symphony No. 2
    28:00 3(Picc. / Fl.1-2 dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    21350 Symphony No. 3 (In one Movement)
    18:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) /2 (Eb cl.)/2/cbn.(opt.) – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    O5049 Symphony No. 4
    Orchestra
    21351 Symphony No. 4
    34:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl. / dbl.Eb Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    O5037 Symphony No. 5
    Orchestra
    21352 Symphony No. 5 (Visions of Time)
    17:30 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    O5143 Symphony No.6
    Orchestra
    21353 Symphony No. 6
    17:30 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 (Eb Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21354 Symphony No. 7
    22:45 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 2 (Eb Cl., B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21355 Symphony No. 8
    23:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(Cl.1 dbl.Eb Cl. / Cl.3 dbl.B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21356 Symphony No. 9 (Figures in the Wind)
    25:00 3(dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    O5118 Theater Set
    Flute, Tenor, Tuba, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Percussion, ContraBass, Timpani, Harp, Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Oboe
    21357 Theater Set
    15:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21361 Western Suite
    20:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(dbl.Eb Cl. / dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21363 Wilderness Road
    6:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    Band
    21305 Ballad for Band
    5:00 fl.(2), ob., cl.(3), b.cl., a.sax.; hn.(2), cor.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.
    21314 Declaration
    5:00 hn.(2), tpt.(2), tbn.(2); timp.
    21336 Prairie Legend
    (Band version)
    10:00 Solo clarinet, cornet.; picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b., cl., bsn., a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt.(2), tbn.(3), bar.hn.(2), tba.(2); cb., timp., perc.
    21338 Riversong
    7:00 picc., fl.(2), ob., Eb cl., cl.(3), a.cl., b.cl., bsn., a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt., tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; cb., timp., perc.(2)
    O5103 Western Suite In Five Movements
    Flute 1, Flute 2, Piccolo in Db, Oboe, Oboe 2, Clarinet in Bb, Clarinet in Eb, Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2, Horn 1 in F, Horn 2 in F, Horn 3 in F, Horn 4 in F, Trumpet 1 in Bb, Trumpet 2 in Bb, Trumpet 3 in Bb, Trombone 1, Trombone 2, Trombone 3, Tuba, Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Cymbal, Tambourine, Triangle, Wood Block, Bells, Xylophone, Temple Blocks, Cowbell, Ratchet, Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Contrabass
    21362 Wilderness Road
    6:00 picc., fl.(2), ob.(2), Eb cl., cl.(4), a.cl., b.cl., bn (2), a.sax.(2), t.sax., b.sax., bass sax.; hn.(4), cor.(3), tpt.(2), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; cb., timp., perc.
    Choral
    21306 Cantata for FDR
    20:00 Solo baritone; SATB chorus; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2, B.Sax.(opt.) – 2 2 1 1; 2Perc.
    CY1249 Childhood Memories
    solo high voice, pno.
    21311 The Cooper O’Fife
    2:00 Solo alto, baritone voices; SATB chorus, a capella
    CP11 Cycle Of Cities
    Choral
    21312 A Cycle of Cities
    23:00 Solo soprano, tenor voices; SATB chorus; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Str.
    -or-
    1(dbl.Picc.) 1 2 1 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    CM6572 David’s Lamentation
    (arr.)
    Mixed Chorus
    21317 Evening Shade
    2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21322 Five Langston Hughes Songs
    8:20 Solo high voice; fl., cl.; vln., vcl.; perc., pno.
    21326 I Have a Dream
    25:00 Solo baritone voice; narrator; SATB chorus; 1 (picc.)/1/2/1/a.sax.(opt.) – 2 2 2 0; perc.(1), pno., str. -or-
    Narrator; solo baritone voice; SATB chorus;2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2, A.Sax(opt.) – 4 2 3 1; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    CY1246 Holy Thursday
    solo high voice, Piano
    CY1747 Life Is Fine
    solo high voice, Piano
    21329 1
    3:00 SATB chorus
    21333 On My Journey Home
    2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21340 Scenes of the Big Town
    15:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21341 Schlof, Bobbeli
    (Pennsylvania Dutch Lullaby)
    2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21344 Sing Unto the Lord a New Song
    SATB chorus; org.
    21345 Singing Down the Road
    (a collection of songs arranged by Elie Siegmeister)
    Male voices; pno;
    21358 A Tooth for Paul Revere
    23:00 Solo soprano, high baritone, baritone (2), bass-baritone voices; SATB chorus; 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    21359 Twelve Days of Christmas
    3:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    Dramatic
    21304 Angel Levine
    Opera in one act
    53:00 Solo mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor (3), baritone (2), bass-baritone, bass (3); female dancers (3); 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Str.
    O4989 Darling Corie
    Voice, Trumpet II, Viola, Oboe, Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet II, Bassoon, Horn I, Horn II, Trumpet I, Clarinet I, Percussion, Piano, Violin II, Violin I, Cello, ContraBass, Tenor II, Tenor I
    21313 Darling Corie
    Opera in one act
    40:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone (2), bass voices; speaking parts (3); SATB chorus; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 2 1 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    21318 Fables from the Dark Wood
    27:00 2 2 2 2 – 3 2 2 1; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    21327 The Lady of the Lake
    Opera in one act
    48:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, bass; 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Perc. Hp. Str.
    21330 The Marquesa of O
    Opera in three acts
    2:00:00 Solo soprano (2), girl soprano (2), mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor (2), baritone, bass-baritone, bass; acting role; TTBB chorus; 2( Fl.1 dbl. Picc./Fl.2 dbl.A.Fl.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.E-flat Cl./ B.Cl.) 2(Cbsn.) – 3 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Hp. Pno. Str.
    21331 Miranda and the Dark Young Man
    Opera in one act
    1:00:00 Solo soprano, mezzo-soprano, lyric baritone (or tenor), bass-baritone; speakers (2); 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 2 1 – 2 2 2 0; Perc. Pno. Str.
    21332 Night of the Moonspell
    Opera in three acts
    Full evening Solo coloratura, soprano, girl soprano, boy soprano (2), mezzo-soprano (2), girl alto, tenors (4), baritone (3), bass-baritone (2), bass (3), acting parts (3); 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) /2 (b.cl.)/
    2(cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. pno., Cel. Hp. Str.
    21335 The Plough and the Stars
    Opera in three acts
    2:22:00 Solo lyric soprano; soprano, mezzo- soprano (2), alto, contralto, tenor (3), baritone (4), bass-baritone, bass (2), acting parts (2); SATB chorus; 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) /2 (b.cl.)/2;
    4/2/3/1; Timp. Perc. cel., pno., prepared pno., str.
    21343 Sing Out, Sweet Land!
    (A musical)
    2:30:00 Solo voices; SATB chorus; 1 1 2 1 – 2 2 1 0; Perc. Pno. Gtr. Banjo. Str.
    Piano
    O5175 American Sonata
    Piano
    410-41033 Folk-Ways U.S.A.
    A Prgressive Series Of American Songs, Scenes, and Sketches – Book 1(arr.)
    Piano with Instrument
    410-41083 Folk Ways U.S.A
    A Progressive Series Of Amercan Songs Scenes and Sketches for Piano
    Piano Unaccompanied
    CY1251 Four Songs
    solo low voice, Piano
    CY1273 From My Window
    Piano
    CY2045 From These Shores
    Piano
    O4925 Music Pathways – Repertoire – Level 3B
    Piano
    P3306 Our Cat
    Piano
    O5177 Piano Sonata No. 3
    Piano
    21347 Sunday in Brooklyn
    15:00 3(Fl.2-3 dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 3(B.Cl. dbl.EbCl.) 2, A.Sax. – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    Songs/Cycles
    CY1621 Robert Frost Songs
    solo high voice, Piano
    CY1635 Robert Frost Songs
    solo low voice, pno.
    CY1248 Songs Of Experience
    solo low voice, pno.
    21360 Ways of Love
    16:00 Solo high voice; fl., cl.; vln., vcl.; perc., pno.

  • American Holiday
    for Orchestra
    The Marquesa of O
    Opera in Three Acts (Vocal Score)

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