Aschaffenburg, Walter, German-born American composer and teacher; b. Essen, May 20, 1927. He went to the U.S. at the age of 11 and in 1944 became a naturalized citizen. He studied composition with Robert Doellner at the Hartford School of Music (diploma, 1945), Elwell at the Oberlin (Ohio) Coll. Cons, of Music (B.A., 1951), Rogers at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (M.A., 1952), and Dallapiccola in Florence (1956). In 1952 he joined the faculty of the Oberlin Coll. Cons, of Music, serving as chairman of its theory dept. (1968–73). In 1971 he was made a prof. of composition and theory, and in 1983 chairman of the composition dept., positions he held until his retirement in 1987. In 1955–56 and 1973–74 he held Guggenheim fellowships. In 1966 he received an award from the National Inst. of Arts and Letters. He received the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1980. While Aschaffenburg has employed the 12-tone system in some of his works, his scores are often embued with a meticulous expressivity.
DRAMATIC The Flies, incidental music to Sartre’s play (1953); Bartleby, opera (1956–62; Oberlin, Nov. 12, 1964). ORCH.: Oedipus Rex, overture (1951); Ozymandias (Rochester, N.Y., April 22, 1952); Elegy for Strings (1961); 3 Dances (1966–67); Oboe Concerto (1985; Oberlin, Jan. 25, 1987). CHAMBER: Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello (1950–51); Divertimento for Trumpet, Horn, and Trombone (1951); Chaconne for Brass Ensemble (1952); Cello Sonata (1953); Sonata for Solo Violin (1954); String Quartet (1955); Festive Music for Winds (1963); Wind Quintet (1967); Proem for Brass and Percussion (1968–69); Fan-fare for Herman Melville for 2 Trumpets and Trombone (1969); Blossom Music Center Fanfare for 2 Trumpets and 2 Horns (1970); Duo for Violin and Cello (1971); A Slight Music for Clarinet, Bassoon, and Tuba (1975); Concertino for Violin, 10 Winds, and Contrabass (1979–81); Festive Fanfare and Hymn for Brass and Percussion (1983); ...from South Mountain for Brass Quintet (1987); Coalescence for Oboe and Cello (1989); Parings, 4 pieces for Clarinet and Piano (1992–93). Piano: Sonatina (1953–54); Conversations, 6 pieces (1973); Carousel, 24 little pieces (1980); Sonata for Fortepiano or Piano (1990). VOCAL: The 23rd Psalm for Tenor, Chorus, Oboe, and Organ (1963); 3 Shakespeare Sonnets for Tenor and Piano (1966–67); Libertatem Appellant for Tenor, Baritone, and Orch. (1974–76); Laughing Time for Chorus and Clown (1983).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire