Weiss, Adolph, American composer and bassoonist; b. Baltimore, Sept. 12,1891; d. Van Nuys, Calif., Feb. 21, 1971. He studied piano, violin, and bassoon, and at the age of 16 was engaged as 1st bassoonist of the Russian Sym. Orch. of N.Y.; then joined the N.Y. Phil. (1909) and the N.Y. Sym. Orch. (1910). He also studied composition with Cornelius Rybner at Columbia Univ. In 1916 he joined the Chicago Sym. Orch. as bassoonist, and also studied theory with Adolf Weidig and Theodore Ötterstrom in Chicago; then was bassoonist with the Eastman Theatre Orch. in Rochester, N.Y. (from 1921). In 1926 he went to Berlin and became the first American student of Schoenberg, whose influence was decisive in the formation of his musical style. Returning to the U.S., he played in the San Francisco Sym. Orch. (from 1936), the MGM Studios Orch. (from 1938), and the Los Angeles Phil. (from 1951). He held a Guggenheim fellowship (1931), and received a National Inst. of Arts and Letters award (1955).
orch: segreti (1922; Rochester, N.Y., May 1, 1925); Chamber Sym. (1927); American Life,“scherzoso jazzoso” (1929; N.Y., Feb. 21, 1930); Theme and Variations (1933); Suite (1938); 10 Pieces for Low Instrument and Orch. (1943); Trumpet Concerto (1952). CHAMBER: 3 string quartets (1925, 1926, 1932); Sonata da camera for Flute and Viola (1929); Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn (1931); Petite suite for Flute, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1939); Violin Sonata (1941); Passacaglia for Horn and Viola (1942); Sextet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and Piano (1947); Trio for Clarinet, Viola, and Cello (1948); Concerto for Bassoon and String Quartet (1949); Trio for Flute, Violin, and Piano (1955); 5 Fantasies for Violin and Piano (1956); Tone Poem for Brass and Percussion (1957); Rhapsody for 4 Horns (1957); Vade mecum for Wind Instruments (1958). Piano: Fantasie (1918); 12 Preludes (1927); Sonata (1932); Protest for 2 Pianos (1945); Pulse of the Sea (1950). VOCAL: 7 Songs for Soprano and String Quartet (1928); The Libation Bearers, choreographic cantata for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1930); Ode to the West Wind for Baritone, Viola, and Piano (1945).
W. George, A. W.(diss., Univ. of Iowa, 1971); B. Kopp, The Twelve-tone Techniques of A. W.(diss., Northwestern Univ., 1981).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire