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Goodman [Guttmann], Alfred (Alexander) [Alfred Grant]locked

  • Alfons Ott
  • , revised by Inge Kovács

(b Berlin, March 1, 1920). American composer and musicologist of German birth. He received his first music lessons from his father, the music critic Oskar Guttmann. He entered the Stern Conservatory in Berlin in 1938 but was forced to leave after six months because of his Jewish background. In 1939 he emigrated to London and in 1940 to New York, where he arranged music for dance bands and for the popular theatre. During the period 1947–52 he studied composition with Luening and Cowell and musicology with Hertzmann at Columbia University. After receiving the MA he worked as an assistant to his teacher Rudolph Thomas at the same university, and as a lecturer at the Henry Street Settlement; he was also music critic for the newspaper Aufbau. Upon taking American citizenship he changed his name to Goodman. In 1960 he moved to Munich, and began working for Bavarian radio as a composer, broadcaster and (from 1971) music adviser. In 1972 he received the PhD as a pupil of Carl Dahlhaus at the Technical University of Berlin. He founded a concert series devoted to American contemporary music, which received the State Award of Recognition in 1992. In 1994 he was guest of honour at the Villa Massimo in Rome.

A skilled arranger, Goodman also composes music in various genres. His work, influenced by Weill, Bartók, Stravinsky and jazz, aims to synthesize different musical cultures. His Psalm xii won the Ernest Bloch Prize in 1949.


(selective list)

Comics for Carter (musical for children, H. Koller), 1949

The Audition (op, 1, E. Arluck), 1954, Ger. version (H. Frohman) as Der Schauspieler, 1968

Der Läufer (op, 2, M. Alva after S. Lenz)

Ps xii, Bar, female chorus, org (1949)

5 Songs from the Bronx, S, ww ens, hpd, 1954

Grant us Peace (Union Prayer Book), chorus, pf, 1958

7 Essays on Poems by Dylan Thomas, A, T, gui, 1961

3 Gesänge nach Gedichten von Johannes Bobrowski, SATB, 1969

3 Ornamente, 1v, fl, pf, 1971

3 Gesänge, 1v, 8 insts (1975)

3 Motivationen, vocal ens, vib, gui, db, 1987

Der Lügner, (cant. after C.F. Gellert), 1v, vn, gui, hpd/pf/synth, perc, 1992

Sinfonietta, a, orch (1952)

Uptown-Downtown, orch (1954)

Str Qt no.2, 1959

Sonata, vn, pf (1960)

Mayfair Ouvertüre, orch, 1961

3 Meditations on Israel, pf, 1966

Little Suite, fl, ob, cl (1968)

3 Essays, hpd, str orch (1972)

Pro memoria, orch, 1974

Across the Board, brass ens, 1978

Bemerkungen zu Acht Gongs, perc, 1992

Orchestrology (Universe of Freedom in 5 Chapters), 1993–4

Reflections: Manhattan Survey (1997)

Incid music for theatre, cinema and television

Arr. of S. Samaras


  • Musik von A–Z (Munich, 1971)
  • Die amerikanischen Schüler Franz Liszts (Wilhelmshaven, 1972)
  • Sachwörterbuch der Musik (Munich, 1976)
  • Wörterbuch der Musik (Munich, 1982)
  • ‘Angewandte und funktionelle Musik im Exil: Musiktheater – Film – leichte Musik’, Die Wiener Schule und das Hakenkreuz: das Schicksal der Moderne im gesellschaftpolitischen Kontext des 20. Jahrhunderts, ed. O. Kolleritsch (Vienna, 1990), 165–78


  • K.-R. Brachtel, H.-M. Palm, R. Schmiedel and others: Alfred Goodman, Komponisten in Bayern, 28 (Tutzing, 1993)