Leon Kirchner: Composer, Performer, and Teacher by Robert Riggs

By Robert Riggs

During this first biography of yankee composer, pianist, conductor, and instructor Leon Kirchner (1919-2009), Robert Riggs paints a bright photograph of a rare, multifaceted musician. Refugees from Hitler's 3rd Reich (Schoenberg, Bloch, and Stravinsky) ruled Kirchner's early improvement, and he in flip grew to become a transformative mentor for later generations on the college of Southern California, generators collage, and Harvard collage. Kirchner's functionality character is delivered to existence by means of highlighting his appearances with most sensible orchestras and at significant gala's, in particular his lengthy tenure on the Marlboro tune pageant, the place he labored with Rudolf Serkin and Pablo Casals. present champions of his tune (Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleisher, and James Levine) also are key protagonists. Kirchner's complete oeuvre is mentioned in the chronological narrative, and 6 consultant works are tested intimately. as well as Riggs's huge interviews with the composer, the biography is documented with Kirchner's colourful correspondence from a roster of luminaries: Saul Bellow, Leonard Bernstein, Edward Cone, Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, Isaac Stern, Roger periods, etc. Excerpts from Kirchner's personal elegantly written essays and speeches entire the portrait and show his hugely own, romantic view of song as strong paintings able to endowing humanity with an "aesthetic sensibility and protecting knowledge, with out which we won't survive." Robert Riggs is Professor of song on the collage of Mississippi.

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90 He was fortunate, however, in being able to maintain some involvement with music. In Sioux Falls he was befriended by J. Earl Lee, a member of the music faculty at Augustana College, who made a piano practice room available. Kirchner was even able to devote a modest amount of time to composition, working on, but not finishing, Dawn. Moreover, he was not the only musician among the new recruits. During basic training, he became friends with Leonard Rosenman, who, after the war, was one of Kirchner’s fellow students at Berkeley, and who later became a prosperous composer of film scores.

Understandably apprehensive, Kirchner found the door ajar when he arrived. In class, Bloch had frequently spoken negatively about composers who worked at the piano, and thus Kirchner was surprised to discover Bloch doing just that. Realizing that it was probably the wrong thing to do, Kirchner nevertheless entered, almost anticipating an attack. But Bloch was friendly and did not even allow him to make the apology and explanation that he had carefully prepared. Rather Bloch began bringing out volume after volume of Bach’s cantatas, playing them at the piano, and explicating Bach’s handling of dissonance.

He responded, ‘Would you hurry? ’ And he had absolutely every confidence that it would be all right even though I’d never had another rehearsal. ’”99 At first, Kirchner did not understand what he meant by cutting the hole higher, but it soon became clear that Sessions understood why the rehearsal had not gone well. Kim was much shorter than Kirchner, and a hole had been cut in the stage curtain that allowed him to view Sessions in the pit. Kirchner had found it necessary to bend awkwardly in order to see through the hole and therefore had fouled up the dress rehearsal.

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