Bauer, Marion Eugénie

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BAUER, MARION EUGÉNIE (1882–1955), U.S. composer, teacher, and music critic. Bauer was the daughter of French Jewish immigrants to the U.S. Part of the "forgotten vanguard" of modernism, her work bridged the lush harmonies of French impressionism and the dissonant modernism of the late 1920s. She studied composition with Henry Holden Huss and Eugene Heffley and was Nadia Boulanger's first American pupil. Bauer taught composition and theory at New York University (1926–51) and the Juilliard School of Music (1940–55). Through teaching and mentoring, she maintained numerous ties to a younger generation of modernists including Milton *Babbitt and Ruth Crawford.

Bauer wrote reviews and criticism for the Musical Leader and Musical Quarterly and published four books on music, including the popular appreciation text Twentieth Century Music (1933). A fervent advocate of modern music, she helped found the American Music Guild, served as secretary for the Society for the Publications of American Music, and was on the executive boards of the League of Composers, the American Composers Alliance (aca), and the Society of American Women Composers.

Aside from brief experiments in 12-tone writing in the 1940s and 1950s, Bauer's music never completely broke with tradition. Her impressive and frequently performed compositions include Symphonic Suite (1940), American Youth for piano and orchestra (1943), and First Symphony (1950). Her most successful work, Sun Splendor (1947), was premiered by the New York Philharmonic under Leopold Stowkowski.


J.M. Edwards, "Marion Eugénie Bauer," in: S. Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (20012); E.M. Hisama. Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon (2001).

[Melissa de Graaf (2nd ed.)]