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
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    Chamber/Solo
    414-41113 American Harp
    Suite for Solo Harp
    414-41113 Harp Unaccompanied
    CY1959 Prelude, Blues and Finale CY1959 2 Clarinets
    554-01001 Sextet 554-01001
    ATF133 Solos for Clarinet ATF133 Clarinet with Piano
    O5047 Songs Of Experience O5047 Chamber Ensemble
    CY1738 Summer CY1738 full score, vla., pno.
    O5179 String Quartet No. 2 O5179 String Quartet
    O5179A String Quartet #2 O5179A String Quartet
    O5180 String Quartet No. 3 O5180 String Quartet
    O5180A String Quartet #3 O5180A String Quartet
    CY2173 Ten Minutes for Four Players CY2173 Set of score and parts, full score, Flute, Oboe, clarinet in Bb, Bassoon
    Orchestra
    21301 Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight 21301 7:00 SATB chorus; 1 1 2 1 – 2 2 1 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    SC47 American Holiday SC47 Orchestra
    21302 American Holiday
    Full Orchestra Version
    21302 8:30 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2 – 3 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21303 American Holiday
    Version for Chamber Orchestra
    21303 8:30 1(dbl. Picc.) 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Timp. 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    21307 Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra 21307 16:00 Solo Cl.; 1 1 1 1 – 2 2 2 0; 2Perc. Pno. Str.
    21308 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra 21308 21:00 Solo flute; 0 1 2 1 – 2 1 1 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21309 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra 21309 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 21310 28 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 CY1771
    21315 Dick Whittington and His Cat 21315 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 21316 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 21319 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 FE212
    O5171 Fantasies In Line and Color O5171 21:00 Orchestra
    21320 Fantasies in Line and Color
    (Five American Paintings)
    21320 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 21321 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 21323 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
    21324 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 21325 21:00 Solo medium voice; Str.
    O5024 Lonesome Hollow O5024 7:00 Orchestra
    21328 Lonesome Hollow 21328 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.
    Y1829 On Dreamy Afternoon Y1829
    21334 On the River (Homage to Mark Twain) 21334 14:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2 2 – 2 2 2 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21337 Prairie Legend
    (Orchestra version)
    21337 10:00 2(dbl. Picc.) 2(dbl.E.H.) 2(dbl.B.Cl.) 2 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    21339 Riversong 21339 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 O5025 18:00 Orchestra
    21342 Shadows and Light 21342 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 111-40071
    14863 The Strange Funeral in Braddock
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    14863 7:00 3 3 2 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno. Str.
    21346 Summer Night 21346 7:00 2 2(dbl. E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 2 – 3 2 2 1; Timp. Hp. str.
    O5204 Sunday In Brooklyn O5204 15:00 Orchestra
    21348 Symphony No. 1 21348 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 21349 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) 21350 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 O5049 34:30 Orchestra
    21351 Symphony No. 4 21351 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 O5037 17:30 Orchestra
    21352 Symphony No. 5 (Visions of Time) 21352 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 O5143 27:00 Orchestra
    21353 Symphony No. 6 21353 24:00 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 21354 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 21355 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) 21356 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 O5118 15:00 Flute, Tenor, Tuba, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Percussion, ContraBass, Timpani, Harp, Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Oboe
    21357 Theater Set 21357 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 21361 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 21363 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 21305 5:00 fl.(2), ob., cl.(3), b.cl., a.sax.; hn.(2), cor.(3), tbn.(3), bar.hn., tba.; timp., perc.
    21314 Declaration 21314 5:00 hn.(2), tpt.(2), tbn.(2); timp.
    21336 Prairie Legend
    (Band version)
    21336 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 21338 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 O5103 20:00 Flute I, Tenor II, Tenor III, Viola, Violin I, Ratchet, Bells, Xylophone, Triangle, Tambourine, Cymbal, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, ContraBass, Tuba, Cello, Cowbell, Timpani, Horn III, Violin II, Wood Block, Temple Blocks, Trumpet III, Trumpet II, Horn IV, Hor
    21362 Wilderness Road 21362 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 21306 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 CY1249 solo high voice, pno.
    21311 The Cooper O’Fife 21311 2:00 Solo alto, baritone voices; SATB chorus, a capella
    CP11 Cycle Of Cities
    Choral
    CP11
    21312 A Cycle of Cities 21312 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.) CM6572 Mixed Chorus
    21317 Evening Shade 21317 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21322 Five Langston Hughes Songs 21322 8:20 Solo high voice; fl., cl.; vln., vcl.; perc., pno.
    21326 I Have a Dream 21326 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 CY1246 solo high voice, Piano
    CY1747 Life Is Fine CY1747 solo high voice, Piano
    21329 Lonesome Valley 21329 3:00 SATB chorus
    21333 On My Journey Home 21333 2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21340 Scenes of the Big Town 21340 15:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21341 Schlof, Bobbeli
    (Pennsylvania Dutch Lullaby)
    21341 2:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    21344 Sing Unto the Lord a New Song 21344 SATB chorus; org.
    21345 Singing Down the Road
    (a collection of songs arranged by Elie Siegmeister)(arr.)
    21345 Male voices; pno;
    21358 A Tooth for Paul Revere 21358 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 21359 3:00 SATB chorus, a cappella
    Dramatic
    21304 Angel Levine
    Opera in one act
    21304 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 O4989 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
    21313 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 21318 27:00 2 2 2 2 – 3 2 2 1; Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.
    Y1991 Lady Of The Lake Y1991
    21327 The Lady of the Lake
    Opera in one act
    21327 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
    21330 120:00 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.
    CY1807VS The Marquesa of O CY1807VS
    21331 Miranda and the Dark Young Man
    Opera in one act
    21331 60:00 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
    21332 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.
    Y1234 Plough and The Stars Y1234
    21335 The Plough and the Stars
    Opera in three acts
    21335 142:00 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)
    21343 150:00 Solo voices; SATB chorus; 1 1 2 1 – 2 2 1 0; Perc. Pno. Gtr. Banjo. Str.
    Piano
    O5175 American Sonata O5175 Piano
    410-41033 Folk-Ways U.S.A.
    A Prgressive Series Of American Songs, Scenes, and Sketches – Book 1(arr.)
    410-41033 Piano with Instrument
    410-41083 Folk Ways U.S.A
    A Progressive Series Of Amercan Songs Scenes and Sketches for Piano
    410-41083 Piano Unaccompanied
    CY1251 Four Songs CY1251 solo low voice, Piano
    CY1273 From My Window CY1273 Piano
    CY2045 From These Shores CY2045 Piano
    O4925 Music Pathways – Repertoire – Level 3B O4925 Piano
    P3306 Our Cat P3306 Piano
    O5177 Piano Sonata No. 3 O5177 Piano
    21347 Sunday in Brooklyn 21347 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 CY1621 solo high voice, Piano
    CY1635 Robert Frost Songs CY1635 solo low voice, pno.
    CY1248 Songs Of Experience CY1248 solo low voice, pno.
    21360 Ways of Love 21360 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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