Roger Huntington Sessions

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Born: 28 December 1896 — New York — USA
Died: 16 March 1985 — Princeton — USA
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Until the mid 1930s Sessions’ music was neo-classical. But although Sessions believed in the ideal of a single Western musical culture and thus maintained a conservative vision of American music, after the mid 1930s his rhythms became more complicated, full of chromatic, dissonant harmonies, often combined with a dense and quasi-improvisatory character, and, after 1953, dodecaphony. As Elliott Carter described it: "More and more the notion of extended, continuously flowing sections during which ideas come to the surface, gain clarity and definition, and then sink back into the general flow has characterized Sessions’s unique style." (Current Chronicle, The Musical Quarterly, July 1959).

Among his works are a "Mass", some operas (e.g.: "Montezuma", 1963/64), cantatas (e.g.: "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d", 1971), a Violin Concerto (1935), piano music (e.g.: a Piano Concerto or the Piano Sonata No. 3, 1964/65, his last one), a "Concertino for Chamber Orchestra", "Six Pieces for Violoncello" (1966), a String Quintet (1957/58), two String Quartets (e.g.: No. 1, 1936) and some Canons for String Quartet.

Among his orchestral works are 9 symphonies (e.g.: No. 1, 1927; No. 2, 1946; No. 3, 1957; No. 4, 1958; No. 5, 1964) and a "Rhapsody" (1970).


Until 1915 Sessions studied at Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.). 1915-1917 he was a pupil of Horatio Parker’s at the Yale School of Music (New Haven, Conn.) and of Ernest Bloch’s in New York. During the late 1920s and early 1930s he often was in Europe (e.g.: Berlin, Florence), but also gave concerts of contemporary music with Aaron Copland in New York. In 1933 he decided to stay in the U.S.A. He taught at the Juillard School of Music in New York.

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19 April 1964: Premiere of Montezuma, in Berlin, Germany.
23 October 1981: Premiere of Concerto for Orchestra, in Boston, USA.

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Thu 17 Apr: L’Alma Chamber Orchestra en concert, le jeudi 17 avril à la Salle Pleyel 252 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Wed 23 Apr: Trois Miniatures Pour quatuor à cordes, Premiere and workshop by the Arditti Quartet Milton court concert hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London)
Thu 24 Apr: Von Hollywood nach Pankow - Hanns Eisler und die Frauen Arnold Schönberg Center Schwarzenbergplatz 6 1030 Wien
Sun 27 Apr: Godelieve Shrama + Wouter Snoei Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ Piet Heinkade 1 Amsterdam
Sat 3 May: Melodia Women’s Choir of NYC Presents “The Poet’s Song” Church of the Holy Apostles New York
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Dying days:
(1875) Anton Rubinstein: Premiere of Die Makkabäer, in Berlin, Germany.
(1928) Igor Stravinsky: Premiere of Apollon Musagète, in Washington, USA.
(1989) Andrew Lloyd Webber: Premiere of Aspects of Love, in London, England.

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Mitch Leigh (17 Mar)
Jean Wiener (11 Mar)
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Sheet music for Sessions

[details ←] Symphony No. 9, orchestra, full orchestra,
[details ←] Concerto for Orchestra, orchestra, full orchestra,
[details ←] Divertimento
[details ←] Rhapsody
[details ←] Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, violin, cello, concert band,
[details ←] Symphony No.7
[details ←] Symphony No.6
[details ←] Where Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, piano, vocal,
[details ←] Praise Ye the Lord, orchestra, piano, organ, , choral, vocal,
[details ←] I. ’Out of the Depths’, orchestra, piano, organ, vocal, , choral, vocal,
[details ←] Waltz, piano,
[details ←] Sonata No. 2, piano,
[details ←] Sonata No. 3, piano,
[details ←] From My Diary, piano,
[details ←] Sonata, piano,
[details ←] 5 Pieces For Piano, piano,
[details ←] Duo, violin, cello,
[details ←] When Lilacs Last in Dooryard (8.5x11)
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American String Quartets 1900 - 1950
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Sessions: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, & 3
Classical Music : Sessions: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, & 3
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