Erickson, Robert, American composer and teacher; b. Marquette, Mich., March 7, 1917; d. Encinitas, Calif., April 24, 1997. He studied with Wesley La Violette at the Chicago Cons, and with Krenek at Hamline Univ. in St. Paul (B.A., 1943; M.A., 1947). In 1950 he attended a seminar in composition under Sessions at the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley. In 1966 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. He taught at the Coll. of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn. (1947–53), at San Francisco State Coll. (1953–54), at the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley (1956–58), and at the San Francisco Cons, of Music (1957–66). From 1967 to 1987 he was a prof, of composition at the Univ. of Calif, at San Diego. In his early works, he utilized serial techniques. After exploring electronic music, he resumed non-electronic means of expression. He publ. The Structure of Music:A Listener’s Guide to Melody and Counterpoint (1955) and Sound Structure in Music (1975).
ORCH Introduction and Allegro (Minneapolis, March 11, 1949); Divertimento for Flute, Clarinet, and Strings (1953); Fantasy for Cello and Orch. (1953); Variations (1957); Chamber Concerto (1960); Sirens and Other Flyers (1965); Rainbow Rising (1974); East of the Beach for Small Orch. (1980); Auroras (1982). CHAMBER :2 string quartets (1953, 1956); Piano Trio (1953); Duo for Violin and Piano (1959); Concerto for Piano and 7 Instruments (1963); Ricercar a 5 for Trombone and Tape (1966); Scapes, a “contest for 2 groups” (1966); Birdland for Electronic Tape (1967); Ricercar a 3 for Double Bass and Electronic Tape (1967); Pacific Sirens for Instruments and Tape (1969); Taffytime for Large Ensemble (1983); Solstice for String Quartet (1984–85). Piano :Sonata (1948). VOCAL:Cardenitas, dramatic aria for Singer, Mime, Conductor, 7 Musicians, and Stereophonic Prerecorded Tape (1968); The Idea of Order at Key West for Voice and Instruments (1979); Mountain for Mezzosoprano and Chamber Orch. (1983); Sierra for Tenor or Baritone and Chamber Orch. (1984).
J. MacKay, Music of Many Means:Sketches and Essays on the Music of R. E. (Lanham, Md., 1995); C. Shere, Thinking Sound Music:The Life and Work of R. E. (Berkeley, 1995).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire