Rogers, Bernard , distinguished American composer and pedagogue; b. N.Y., Feb. 4, 1893; d. Rochester, N.Y., May 24, 1968. He began piano lessons when he was 12, and after leaving school at 15, he was employed in an architectural firm while training in architecture at Columbia Univ. He subsequently received instruction in theory from Hans van den Berg, composition from Farwell, and harmony and composition from Bloch in Cleveland; returning to N.Y., he continued his studies with Goetschius at the Inst. of Musical Art (1921). Later he held a Guggenheim fellowship (1927–29), which made it possible for him to train with Bridge in England and Boulanger in Paris. He first won recognition as a composer with his orch. work To the Fallen (1918; N.Y., Nov. 13, 1919), on the strength of which he received a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship. He taught at the Cleveland Inst. of Music (1922–23), the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn. (1926–27), and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (1929–67), where he also served as chairman of the composition dept. In 1947 he was elected to membership in the National Inst. of Arts and Letters. He publ. a valuable manual, The Art of Orchestration (N.Y., 1951).
(all 1st perf. in Rochester, N.Y., unless otherwise given): Dramatic: Opera: Deirdre (1922); The Marriage of Aude (May 22, 1931); The Warrior (1944; N.Y., Jan. 11, 1947); The Veil (Bloomington, Ind., May 18, 1950); The Nightingale (1954). Orch.: Bibliography To the Fallen (1918; N.Y., Nov. 13, 1919); The Faithful, overture (1922); Soliloquy No. 1 for Flute and Strings (1922) and No. 2 for Bassoon and Strings (Oct. 18, 1938); In the Gold Room (1924); Pastorale for 11 Instruments (1924); Fuji in the Sunset Glow (1925); Hamlet, prelude (1925); 5 syms.: No. 1, Adonais (1926; April 29, 1927), No. 2 (1928; Oct. 24, 1930), No. 3, On a Thanksgiving Song (1936; Oct. 27, 1937), No. 4 (1940; May 4, 1948), and No. 5, Africa (1958; Cincinnati, Jan. 30, 1959); 3 Japanese Dances (1933; May 3, 1934); 2 American Frescoes (1934); Once upon a Time, 5 fairy tales for Small Orch. (April 4, 1935); The Supper at Emmaus (April 29, 1937); Fantasy for Flute, Viola, and Strings (1937; April 25, 1938); The Song of the Nightingale, suite (1939; Cincinnati, March 21, 1940); The Colors of War (Oct. 25, 1939); The Dance of Salome (April 25, 1940); The Plains for Small Orch. (1940; N.Y., May 3, 1941); Invasion (N.Y., Oct. 17, 1943); Anzacs (1944); Elegy in Memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1945; N.Y., April 11, 1946); Characters from Hans Christian Andersen for Small Orch. (April 28, 1945); Amphitryon Overture (1946; N.Y., March 10, 1947); Elegy for Small Orch. (1947); The Silver World for Small Orch. (1949); The Colors of Youth (1951); Portrait for Violin and Orch. (1952); Fantasy for Horn, Timpani, and Strings (1952; Feb. 20, 1955); Dance Scenes (Louisville, Oct. 28, 1953); Variations on a Song by Mussorgsky (1960); New Japanese Dances (1961); Allegory for Small Orch. (1961); Apparitions (1967). CHAMBER: Mood for Piano Trio (1918); 2 string quartets (1918, 1925); The Silver World for Flute, Oboe, and Strings (1950); String Trio (1953); Ballade for Bassoon, Viola, and Piano (1959); Violin Sonata (1962). Vocal: Chorus and Orch.: The Raising of Lazarus (1928); The Exodus (1931); The Passion, oratorio (1942; Cincinnati, May 12, 1944); A Letter from Pete, cantata (1947); The Prophet Isaiah, cantata (1950); The Light of Man, oratorio (1964). Solo Voice and Orch.: Arab Love Songs for Soprano and Orch. (1927); Horse Opera for Narrator and Orch. (1948); Leaves from the Tale of Pinocchio for Narrator and Orch. (1951); Psalm LXVIII for Baritone and Orch. (1951); The Musicians of Bremen for Narrator and 13 Instruments (1958); Aladdin for Narrator and Wind Ensemble (1965). Other : Psalm XCIX for Chorus and Organ (1945); Response to Silent Prayer for Chorus (1945); Hear My Prayer, O Lord for Soprano, Chorus, and Organ (1955); Psalm XVIII for Men’s Voices and Piano (1963); Psalm LXXXIX for Baritone, Chorus, and Piano (1963); Faery Song for Women’s Voices (1965); Dirge for 2 Veterans for Chorus and Piano (1967); Psalm CXIV for Chorus and Piano (1968).
S. Dershan, Orchestration in the Orchestral Works of B. R. (diss., Univ. of Rochester, 1975); D. Intili, Text-Music Relationships in the Large Choral Works of B. R. (diss., Case Western Reserve Univ., 1977); F. Koch, Reflections on Composing: Four American Composers: Elwell, Shepherd, R., Cornell (Pittsburgh, 1983).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire