Shifrin, Seymour, American composer and teacher; b. N.Y, Feb. 28, 1926; d. Boston, Sept. 26, 1979. After studies at N.Y.’s H.S. of Music and Art, he received private instruction from Schuman (1942–45). He continued his training at Columbia Univ. (B.A., 1947), where he completed his graduate study in composition with Luening (M.A., 1949), and then pursued additional training with Milhaud in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship (1951–52). He held 2 Guggenheim fellowships (1956, 1960). Shifrin taught at Columbia Univ. (1949–50), City Coll. of the City Univ. of N.Y. (1950–51), the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley (1952–66), and at Brandeis Univ. (1966–79). He wrote music of high chromatic consistency, with finely delineated contrapuntal lines often resulting in sharp dissonance.
ORCH.: Music for Orchestra (1948); Chamber Symphony (1952–53); 3 Pieces (1958; Minneapolis, Jan. 8, 1960). CHAMBER: Cello Sonata (1948); 5 string quartets (1949; 1962; 1965–66; 1966–67; 1971–72); Serenade for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Viola, and Piano (1954); Concert Piece for Violin (1959); In eius memoriam for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1967–68); Duo for Violin and Piano (1969); Piano Trio (1974); The Nick of Time for Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Piano Trio, and Double Bass (1978). Piano : 4 Cantos (1948); Composition (1950); Trauermusik (1956); The Modern Temper for Piano, 4-Hands (1959); Fantasy (1961); Responses (1973); Waltz (1977). VOCAL: Cantata to Sophoclean Choruses for Chorus and Orch. (1957–58; Boston, May 2, 1984); Odes of Chang for Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (1963); Satires of Circumstance for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Double Bass, and Piano (1964); Chronicles for 3 Male Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1970; Boston, Oct. 27, 1976); A Renaissance Garland for Soprano, Tenor, Recorders, Viols, Lute, and Percussion (1975); Five Last Songs for Soprano and Piano (1979; also for Soprano and Chamber Orch. as completed by M. Boykan).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire