Friday, November 11, 2011

Dominique-René de Lerma quotes Bernard Heiden, teacher of Roger Dickerson, who composed 'Essay for Band'

[ABOVE: Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers; Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp, Conductor; Myron D. Moss, Guest Conductor Citadel 88143 (2003) BELOW: Roger Donald Dickerson]

On Nov. 7, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “The 'Hindemithian' sound of 'Essay for Band' seems to come by way of Dickerson's teacher at Indiana.” Today we received this response from Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

“Bernard Heiden, true, was a student of Hindemith (as was Ully Kay). A good composition teacher, as Bernard was, does not try to influence the student's style, but the Hindemith baggage was such that some philosophy did rub off -- the Gebrauchsmusik idea for example (I also studied with Bernard and only argued with him once on the subject of the oboe's range -- never mind that I played the instrument! -- and set out from the start not to accept any Hindemithianisms).

"Bernard was the last winner of the Mendelssohn prize (1933, after which the Nazis ended it). He told me that the very best (Black) student he had was Roger. Out of fairness it should be mentioned that Dave Baker had not yet actually begun his extended-form writing (this was about 1968) and Dave did work a bit with Heiden, but also didn't let it show." [Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917-1995) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]."

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