Gesensway, Louis, Latvian-American violinist and composer; b. Dvinsk, Feb. 19, 1906; d. Philadelphia, March 11, 1976. The family moved to Canada when he was a child; he studied violin. In 1926 he joined the Philadelphia Orch., remaining with it until 1971. He was a prolific composer of some originality; he developed a system of “color harmony” by expanding and contracting the intervals of the diatonic scale into fractions, establishing a difference between enharmonically equal tones; such a scale in his projection contained 41 degrees.
ORCH Flute Concerto (Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1946); The 4 Squares of Philadelphia for Narrator and Orch. (Philadelphia, Feb. 25, 1955); Ode to Peace (Philadelphia, April 15, 1960); Commemoration Symphony (1966-68; Philadelphia, Feb. 25, 1971); A Pennsylvania Overture (1972); Cello Concerto (1973). CHAMBER : Concerto for 13 Brass Instruments (1942); Quartet for Clarinet and Strings (1950); Quartet for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, and Viola (1951); Sonata for Solo Bassoon; Duo for Oboe and Guitar (1959); Duo for Viola and Bassoon (1960); Duo for Violin and Cello (1970).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire