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date: 19 August 2019

Sessions, Roger (Huntington)locked

  • Andrea Olmstead

Extract

(Huntington)

(b Brooklyn, NY, Dec 28, 1896; d Princeton, NJ, March 16, 1985). American composer, teacher and writer on music.

Sessions was the third of four children whose parents were second cousins and came from old, but not wealthy, New England families. His maternal grandfather was an important Episcopalian bishop, and religion played a significant role in the family. The parents separated when Sessions was three, a circumstance that ‘didn't make life easier for the children’.

An intellectual prodigy, Sessions had written an opera at the age of 13, entered Harvard at 14 and graduated with the BA (1915). He received the BMus from Yale (1917), where he studied with Horatio Parker. His most influential composition teacher was Ernest Bloch, whom Sessions sought out in New York in 1919. He taught at Smith College from 1917 to 1921, when he became Bloch's assistant at the Cleveland Institute (...

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