Hugo Weisgall

Hugo David Weisgall (October 13, 1912March 11, 1997) was an American composer, known chiefly for opera and vocal music. He was born in Eibenschitz (now Ivančice), Moravia (then part of Austria-Hungary, later in his childhood Czechoslovakia) and moved to the United States at the age of eight.

Weisgall studied at the Peabody Institute, privately with Roger Sessions, and at the Curtis Institute of Music with conductor Fritz Reiner and composer Rosario Scalero. He later earned a Ph.D. in German literature at Johns Hopkins University. During World War II he was an aide-de-camp to General George S. Patton. After the war he became a professor, and taught at Queens College, the Juilliard School, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, all in New York City. His notable students include composers Dominick Argento, Bruce Saylor and the accordionist/composer William Schimmel.

Weisgall came from a family of several generations of cantors, and maintained a lifelong interest in both sacred and secular Jewish music. In 1992 he was commissioned by the Friends of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary to write a song cycle, "Psalm of the Distant Dove", commemorating the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Other major works include his most ambitious opera, "Athaliah" (libretto: Richard Frank Goldman, after Jean Racine), and his often-performed "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (libretto: Denis Johnston, after Luigi Pirandello).

Hugo Weisgall died at the age of 84 in Long Island, New York.

Major works

Operas
*"Night" (1932, not performed). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: after the play by Sholem Asch
*"Lilith" (1934, not performed). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: after the play by L. Elman
*"The Tenor" (1948-1950). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: Karl Shapiro and Ernst Lert (after the play by Frank Wedekind). World Premiere: 11/02/1952 Baltimore (Peabody Opera Company; conductor: Hugo Weisgall)
*"The Stronger" (1952). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: Richard Henry Hart (after the play "Den Starkare" by August Strindberg). WP (piano version): 09/08/1952 Westport, Connecticut (White Barn Theatre; Hilltop Opera Company). WP (orchestral version): 1955 New York (Columbia University)
*"Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1953-1956). Opera in 3 acts. Libretto: Denis Johnston (after the play by Luigi Pirandello). WP: 26/04/1959 New York (New York City Opera; with Beverly Sills [Coloratura] )
*"Purgatory" (1958). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: after the play by William Butler Yeats. WP: 17/02/1961 Washington (Library of Congress)
*"The Gardens of Adonis" (1959, revised 1977-1981). Opera in 3 scenes. Libretto: Jon Olon-Scrymgeour (after the play "Venus and Adonis" by André Obey, based on the eponymous poem by William Shakespeare). WP: 12/09/1992 Omaha, Nebraska (Witherspoon Concert Hall)
*"Athaliah" (1960-1963). Opera in 2 parts. Libretto: Richard Frank Goldman (after the play "Athalie" [1691] by Jean Racine). WP: 17/02/1964 New York (concert performance)
*"Nine Rivers from Jordan" (1964-1968). Opera in a prologue and 3 acts. Libretto: Denis Johnston. WP: 09/10/1968 New York (New York City Opera)
*"Jenny, or The Hundred Nights" (1975/76). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: John Hollander (after a [Noh] play by Yukio Mishima). WP: 22/04/1976 (Juilliard School, American Opera Center)
*"Will You Marry Me?" (1989). Opera in 1 act. Libretto: Charles Kondek (after the play "A Marriage Has Been Arranged" by Alfred Sutro). WP: 08/03/1989 New York (New York City Opera)
*"Esther" (1990-1993). Opera in 3 acts. Libretto: Charles Kondek (after the Bible). WP: 08/10/1993 New York (New York City Opera)

Vocal music
*"A Garden Eastward Cantata" for soprano and orchestra
*"A Song of Celebration" for tenor, soprano, chorus and orchestra
*"Evening Prayer for Peace (Ki el shomrenu)" for chorus a cappella
*"Fancies and Inventions" for baritone and 5 instruments
*"Fortress, Rock of Our Salvation (Moos tzur)" for chorus a cappella
*"Lyrical Interval" song-cycle for low voice and piano
*"Psalm of the Distant Dove" Canticle for mezzo-soprano and piano
*"So Spake Rabbi Akiba (Omar Rabbi Akiba)" for chorus a cappella

External links

* [http://www.nypl.org/research/manuscripts/music/musweisg.xml Hugo Weisgal Papers] in the [http://www.nypl.org/musicdiv Music Division] of [http://www.nypl.org/research/lpa/lpa.html The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts] .
* [http://www.presser.com/Composers/info.cfm?Name=HUGOWEISGALL Composer information] from Theodore Presser, Weisgall's publisher.
* [http://www.milkenarchive.org/artists/artists.taf?artistid=180 Artist page] from The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • WEISGALL, HUGO — (1912–1997), composer, conductor, and teacher. Born in Ivancice, Czechoslovakia, Weisgall emigrated to the United States in 1920. He conducted orchestras in Baltimore and was active in Jewish musical life, directing the Har Sinai Temple Choir… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Weisgall, Hugo David — ▪ 1998       Czech born American composer and educator (b. Oct. 13, 1912, Eibenschutz, Moravia [now Ivancice, Czech Republic] d. March 11, 1997, Manhasset, N.Y.), was considered one of the most influential opera composers in the U.S.; his works… …   Universalium

  • Hugo — Onomástica ● Origen: Germánico. ● Significado: Inteligencia. ● Onomástica: 1 de Abril y 10 de Agosto. ● Personaje Principal: San Hugo de Grenoble fue obispo de esta ciudad francesa. Tuvo en su diócesis a san Bruno, lo mismo que a los primeros… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hugo — /hyooh goh/ or, often, /yooh /; Fr. /yuu goh /, n. 1. Victor (Marie, Viscount) /vik teuhr meuh ree /; Fr. /veek tawrdd mann rddee /, 1802 85, French poet, novelist, and dramatist. 2. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Aalto Hugo… …   Universalium

  • Weisgall, Hugo (David) — born Oct. 13, 1912, Eibenschutz, Moravia died March 11, 1997, Manhasset, N.Y., U.S. Czech born U.S. composer. Born into a musical family that had produced several generations of composers and cantors, he was raised in Baltimore, Md., U.S., from… …   Universalium

  • Weisgall, Hugo — (1912 97)    American composer and educator. He was born in Ivancice (now in Czechoslovakia), and settled in the US in 1920. He taught at Queens College, New York, and served as chairman of faculty at the Cantors Institute of the Jewish… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Weisgall, Hugo (David) — (13 oct. 1912, Eibenschutz, Moravia–11 mar. 1997, Manhasset, N.Y., EE.UU.). Compositor estadounidense de origen checo. Nacido en el seno de una familia de músicos que había aportado varias generaciones de compositores y cantores, desde 1920 se… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Nine Rivers from Jordan — Operas by Hugo Weisgall The Stronger (1952) Six Characters in Search of an Author (1959) Nine Rivers from Jordan (1968) Will You Marry Me? (1989) Esther (1993) …   Wikipedia

  • New York City Opera — The New York City Opera (NYCO) is an American opera company located in New York City. The company, called the people s opera by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, was founded in 1943 with the aim of making opera financially accessible to a wide… …   Wikipedia

  • Dominick Argento — (b. October 27, 1927, York, Pennsylvania) is an American composer, best known as a leading composer of lyric opera and choral music. Among his most prominent pieces are the operas Postcard from Morocco, Miss Havisham s Fire, and The Masque of… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.