George, Earl, American composer, conductor, teacher, and music critic; b. Milwaukee, May 1, 1924. He studied composition with Hanson and Rogers and conducting with Paul White and Herman Genhart at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (B.M., 1946; M.M., 1947; Ph.D., 1958). He also attended courses of Lopatnikoff and Martinu at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood (summer, 1946), and continued his studies with the latter in N.Y. (1947). In 1947 he received the Gershwin Prize and in 1957 held a Guggenheim fellow-ship. From 1948 to 1956 he taught theory and composition at the Univ. of Minn., and in 1955–56 was a Fulbright lecturer at the Univ. of Oslo. He then was prof. of theory and composition at Syracuse Univ. (1959–88), where he was founder-conductor of the Univ. Singers (1963–69) and conductor of the Univ. Sym. Orch. (1971–80). He also was music critic of the Syracuse Herald- Journal from 1961. His works follow an astute median course of prudent American modernism.
DRAMATIC Opera Birthdays, 2 operas individually titled Pursuing Happiness and Another 4th of July (Syracuse, April 23, 1976); Genevieve (Berea, Ohio, Feb. 10, 1984). ORCH.: Passacaglia (1944); Adagietto (1946); Introduction and Allegro (1946); Concerto for Strings (1948); A Thanksgiving Overture (1949); A Currier and Ives Set for Chamber Orch. (1953); Violin Concerto (1953); Introduction, Variations, and Finale (1957); Some Night Music for Strings (1957); Piano Concerto (1958); Declamation for Wind Ensemble (1965). CHAMBER: Arioso for Cello and Piano (1947); 3 Pieces for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1949); String Quartet (1961); Tuckets and Sennets for Trumpet and Piano (1973); piano pieces, including a Sonata (1948). VOCAL: Missa brevis for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1948); Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1949); 3 Poems of William Wordsworth for Narrator, Chorus, and Piano (1960); War Is Kind for Men’s Chorus, Trumpet, Percussion, and Piano (1966); Voyages for Soprano, Speaker, Chorus, and 5 Instrumentalists (1967); Voices for Soprano, Chorus, 2 Pianos, and Percussion (1974); Hum-drum Heaven for Soprano, Speaker, Chorus, and Piano (1978); choruses; song cycles.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire