Strong, George Templeton

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Strong, George Templeton

Strong, George Templeton, American composer and painter; b. N.Y., May 26, 1856; d. Geneva, June 27, 1948. His father, also named George Templeton Strong, was a lawyer and amateur organist who served as president of the N.Y. Phil. (1870-74) and his mother was a singer. In spite of his father’s objections to a career in music, he studied piano, violin, and oboe. In 1879 he entered the Leipzig Cons., where he studied with Richard Hoffman and Salomon Jadassohn. He also learned to play the viola. In 1881 he met Liszt, who encouraged him to pursue a career as a composer. He also was befriended by MacDowell. After teaching at the New England Cons, of Music in Boston in 1891-92, Strong settled in Switzerland. In addition to composing, he also was active as a painter of watercolors. His compositions are the work of a fine craftsman in the Romantic tradition. Among his best known scores are the second Sym., Sintram, which was premiered by the N.Y. Phil. under Seidl’s direction on March 4, 1893, and the Chorale on a Theme of Hans Leo Hassler for String Orch. (1929). Almost all of Strong’s works were first performed in Switzerland. He expressed his indignation at the lack of recognition of American composers by his countrymen. Although he lived most of his life in Switzerland, Strong always considered himself an American composer. He donated many of his MSS to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.


orch: Ein Totentanz, symphonic poem (c. 1878); Undine, symphonic poem (1883); 3 syms.: No.1, In den Bergen (n.d.), No. 2, Sintram (1887-88; N.Y., March 4, 1893), and No. 3, An der See (n.d.; not extant); Le roi Arthur, symphonic poem (1891-1916); Die Nacht, 4 small symphonic poems (Montreux, Nov. 27, 1913); Elegie for Cello and Orch. (1917); Une vied’artiste for Violin and Orch. (1917; Zürich, June 1920); Hallali for Horn and Orch. (1923); Chorale on a Theme by Hans Leo Hassler for Strings (1929; St. Pierre-Fusterie, May 13, 1933); Pollainiani, 6 pieces for Cello and Orch. (1931); D’un cahier d’images I-III (e. 1945); Ondine, symphonic poem (c. 1945). CHAMBER: String Quartet (1935); many piano pieces. VOCAL: The Haunted Mill, cantata; numerous songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire