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Peter Mennin

Peter Mennin

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Peter Mennin (May 17, 1923, Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie, Pennsylvania
Erie is a city located in northwestern Pennsylvania in the United States. Named for the lake and the Native American tribe that resided along its southern shore, Erie is the state's fourth-largest city , with a population of 102,000...

 – June 17, 1983, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and teacher. He directed the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, then for many years ran the Juilliard School, succeeding William Schuman
William Schuman
William Howard Schuman was an American composer and music administrator.-Life:Born in Manhattan in New York City to Samuel and Rachel Schuman, Schuman was named after the twenty-seventh U.S. president, William Howard Taft, although his family preferred to call him Bill...

 in this role. He began composing at an early age, and wrote nine symphonies
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

, several concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

s, and numerous works for wind band, chorus
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

, and other ensembles. His style became more chromatic and astringent with time, but was always essentially tonal
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

, relying heavily on polyphony
In music, polyphony is a texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords ....


Mennin's fifth symphony
Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 5 may refer to:*William Alwyn's Symphony No. 5*Malcolm Arnold's Symphony No. 5*Arnold Bax's Symphony No. 5*Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5*Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 5*Jeffrey Ching's Symphony No. 5, "Jackhammer"...

 of 1950, which is tonal, energetic and suspenseful, was recorded by Howard Hanson
Howard Hanson
Howard Harold Hanson was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and champion of American classical music. As director for 40 years of the Eastman School of Music, he built a high-quality school and provided opportunities for commissioning and performing American music...

 and the Eastman Rochester Orchestra
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is an American orchestra based in the city of Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Its primary concert venue is the Eastman Theatre at the Eastman School of Music....

 in the Mercury series of American classical works.

His work received renewed attention in the CD era, and now all his symphonies have been recorded (except for the withdrawn #1 and #2).

Juilliard awards a Peter Mennin prize, for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music.

His notable students include Jacob Druckman
Jacob Druckman
Jacob Druckman was an American composer born in Philadelphia. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Druckman studied with Vincent Persichetti, Peter Mennin, and Bernard Wagenaar. In 1949 and 1950 he studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood and later continued his studies at the École Normale de...

, Richard Danielpour
Richard Danielpour
Richard Danielpour is an American composer.-Biography:Danielpour is born of Persian/Jewish descent. He studied at Oberlin College and the New England Conservatory of Music, and later at the Juilliard School of Music, where he received a DMA in composition in 1986...

, Karl Korte
Karl Korte
Karl Korte is an American composer of contemporary classical music.He grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. He attended the Juilliard School, where he studied with Peter Mennin, William Bergsma, and Vincent Persichetti...

, Charles L. Bestor
Charles L. Bestor
Charles Lemon Bestor is an American composer of contemporary classical music, professor, and administrator....

, Jack Behrens
Jack Behrens
Jack Behrens is a Canadian composer, music educator, and writer of American birth. A member of the Canadian League of Composers and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre, his music has been performed throughout North America and on CBC Radio and radio stations in he United States...

, and Claire Polin
Claire Polin
Claire Polin was an American composer of contemporary classical music, musicologist, and flutist....

. His brother was the composer Louis Mennini.

Principal works

  • Symphonies
    • Symphony No. 1 (1942) withdrawn
    • Symphony No. 2 (1944) (Gershwin Memorial Award, 1945) withdrawn
    • Symphony No. 3 (completed May 17, 1946, his doctoral dissertation. Premiered February 1947 by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Walter Hendl
      Walter Hendl
      Walter Hendl was an American conductor, composer and pianist.-Biography:Hendl was born in West New York, New Jersey, and later went on to study with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. From 1939 to 1941 he taught at Sarah Lawrence College in New York City...

    • Symphony No. 4 The Cycle (1947–8) (Chorus & orchestra)
    • Symphony No. 5 (1950) (commissioned and premiered by the Dallas Symphony and Walter Hendl)
    • Symphony No. 6 (1953)
    • Symphony No. 7 Variation-symphony (1964, pub. 1967)
    • Symphony No. 8 (1973)
    • Symphony No. 9 (1981)

  • Other orchestral works
    • Folk Overture (1945)
    • Fantasia
      Fantasia (music)
      The fantasia is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form ....

       for String Orchestra (1947)
    • Concertato Moby Dick (1952)
    • Cello concerto (1956)
    • Piano concerto
      Piano concerto
      A piano concerto is a concerto written for piano and orchestra.See also harpsichord concerto; some of these works are occasionally played on piano...

       (1958) (Premiered by Eunice Podis, piano, with George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra)
    • Canto (pub. 1965)
    • Flute concerto
      Flute concerto
      A flute concerto is a concerto for solo flute and instrumental ensemble, customarily the orchestra. Such works have been written from the Baroque period, when the solo concerto form was first developed, up through the present day...


  • Concert Band works
    • Canzona for band (1951)

  • Piano
    • Five pieces (1950)
    • Piano sonata (1963)

  • Choral Works
    • A Song of the Palace (1948)
    • Christmas Story (1949)

  • Chamber works
    • String quartet #1
    • String quartet #2 (1951)
    • Sonata concertante, for violin and piano (1956)

External links