George Rochberg

  • “All human gestures are available to all human beings at any time.” This became George Rochberg’s credo in the years following his famous change of compositional style. Rochberg’s music following this change was, as musicologist Richard Taruskin puts it, “to challenge the whole idea of stylistic obsolescence. And to challenge that idea was to put in question the ‘necessity’ of the twentieth century’s stylistic revolutions: the most sacred of all modernist dogmas.” In Taruskin’s view, Rochberg’s later music does not depend on the “sophisticated irony” that was becoming commonplace in the 1970s and 80s, but rather a “disconcerting sincerity.” In this respect, the music was a parallel of the man who, in the words of Kyle Gann, “exhibited an honesty and courage that transcended all differences of ideology” and who was seen by many as a highly progressive and revolutionary force who changed forever the face of American music.

    From the 1940s until the 60s, Rochberg emerged as one of America’s first and finest serialist composers. He then gradually reassessed his compositional outlook and ultimately embraced composition in tonal styles. It was this turn to a whole-hearted employment of traditionally-oriented tonal possibilities which not only warmed up the musical climate, but also opened the way to greater freedom and latitude in the way composers could express themselves. Rochberg may have been speaking for others as well as himself when he declared serialism “finished, hollow, meaningless.”

    The storm center of this change of heart and mind came with the first performance and subsequent recording of his Third String Quartet : a work whose appeal, according to Donal Henahan of the New York Times, lay in its “unfailing formal rigor and old-fashioned musicality. Mr. Rochberg’s quartet is : how did we used to put it? : beautiful.”

    Michael Walsh, then with the San Francisco Examiner, expressed the view that “Rochberg’s Third Quartet may come to be seen as the work that defines the attitudes of a generation of composers What is important about it was that it represented a way out of the maze. The defection of so prominent a serialist could not be ignored by all those young composers who were just developing their styles : composers who are now turning up on programs themselves.”

    Following the 1971 Third String Quartet, Rochberg produced new quartets, symphonies, and concertos which added to his prominence in the concert hall. It is a body of work informed throughout by what Rochberg called his “deep concern for the survival of music through a renewal of its humanly expressive qualities.” International recognition came to Rochberg through widespread performance of his works by leading orchestras, conductors and soloists. Many of his works have been recorded, and his music has been the subject of discussion in journals and magazines in America and abroad.

    Beginning with the first performances of his Night Music in 1953 by the New York Philharmonic with Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting, other works subsequently achieved major attention, notably the Symphony No. 2 with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra (1959 and 1961); the Oboe Concerto, commissioned for Joseph Robinson and performed by Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic (1984); Symphony No. 5 premiered by Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony (1986); Symphony No. 6, with Lorin Maazel conducting the first performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony (1987) and Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, commissioned for Anthony Gigliotti, principal clarinet, by Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and premiered in 1996. Another important work in Rochberg’s oeuvre is the Violin Concerto, which was first performed by Isaac Stern in America, England and France during the mid-1970s. Several alterations were made to the concerto before these performances and the work’s subsequent recording that departed from the composer’s original vision, and in March 2002 a revised and restored version by Rochberg was premiered by violinist Peter Sheppard-Skaerved and the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee, who had been a major and enthusiastic force behind the project. A recording of the concerto as well as a recent release of Symphony No. 1 are available on the Naxos label, part of an on-going project by Lyndon-Gee and Naxos to record all of Rochberg’s orchestral music.

    Mr. Rochberg was also an influential writer about music; his seminal book “The Aesthetics of Survival (A Composer’s View of Twentieth-Century Music)” examines the legacy of modernism in music, in relation to tonality, melody and harmony. Originally published in 1984 by University of Michigan Press, it is now in a new, revised and expanded edition (2005). “Eagle Minds” is a recently published (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario) 40-year correspondence between Rochberg and the Canadian composer Istvan Anhalt, two composers with widely diverse points of view. Other writings include his memoir, “Five Lines, Four Spaces” (University of Illinois Press) and a technical work, “A Dance of Polar Opposites: the Continuing Transformation of our Musical Language.” Many of Mr. Rochberg’s writings, scores, and other memorabilia are on display at the George Rochberg music room, part of the John J. Cali building at Montclair State University.

    Born in Paterson, New Jersey, on July 5, 1918, Rochberg began his studies in composition at the Mannes School of Music, and, after serving as an infantry lieutenant in World War II, resumed them at the Curtis Institute of Music. He taught at the Curtis Institute from 1948 to 1954; and in 1960 he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a chairman of the Department of Music until 1968. He retired from teaching in 1983 as Emeritus Annenberg Professor of the Humanities.

    He married Gene Rosenfeld in 1941, and they had two children, Paul and Francesca. George Rochberg was a long-time resident of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; he died on May 29th 2005 in Bryn Mawr Hospital with his wife and daughter at his side.

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    110-40735 3 Elegiac Pieces
    For Piano
    21:35 Piano Unaccompanied
    114-40631 American Bouquet (Versions Of Popular Music)
    For Guitar
    110-40462 Arioso
    Piano Unaccompanied
    110-40463 Bartokiana
    Piano Unaccompanied
    110-40612 Carnival Music
    Suite for Piano Solo
    410-41065 Eight Pieces for Piano
    14:00 Piano
    410-41259 Four Short Sonatas
    For Piano Solo
    12:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    414-41110 Ukiyo-E
    For Solo Harp
    110-40589 Nach Bach
    Fantasy for Harpsichord Or Piano
    Piano Unaccompanied
    410-41215 Partita-Variations
    For Piano Solo
    28:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    110-40596 Prelude On Happy Birthday
    5:00 Piano
    410-41079 Sonata-Fantasia
    For Piano
    23:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    410-41331 Sonata Seria (1948-1998)
    For Piano
    23:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    114-40473 Three Cadenzas for Mozart’s Concerto for Oboe, K. 314
    For Solo Oboe
    6:00 Oboe Unaccompanied
    410-41047 Twelve Bagatelles
    For Piano
    11:30 Piano
    110-40627 Two Preludes and Fughettas
    From Book Of Contrapuntal Pieces for Keyboard Instruments
    5:30 Piano Unaccompanied
    110-40690 Variations On An Original Theme
    For Piano
    30:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    414-41159 Between Two Worlds
    Five Images for Flute and Piano
    11768 Chamber Symphony
    for 9 Instruments
    18:00 0 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Vln. Vla. Vcl.
    416-41094 Chamber Symphony
    For Nine Instruments – Full Score
    18:00 Chamber Ensemble
    410-41325 Circles Of Fire
    For Two Pianos
    1:15:00 2 Pianos 4 Hands
    114-40116 Contra Mortem Et Tempus
    For Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Piano
    12:00 Chamber Ensemble
    414-41023 Dialogues
    For Clarinet and Piano
    114-40249 Duo
    For Oboe and Bassoon
    11:00 Oboe, Bassoon
    414-41024 Duo Concertante
    For Violin and Cello
    String Duet
    416-41171 Eden: Out Of Time and Out Of Space
    Chamber Concerto for Guitar and Ensemble
    20:00 Chamber Ensemble
    13703 Eden: Out of Time and Out of Space
    Chamber Concerto for Guitar and Ensemble
    20:00 Solo Gtr.; Fl. Cl. Hn. Vln. Vla. Vcl.
    13704 Electrikaleidoscope
    for Amplified Ensemble
    20:00 Fl. Cl. Vln. Vcl. Pno.(El.Pno.)
    416-41338 Electrikaleidoscope
    114-40594 Muse Of Fire
    For Flute and Guitar
    17:30 Flute and Guitar
    13712 Octet-A Grand Fantasia
    23:00 Fl. Cl. Hn. Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
    114-40593 Ora Pro Nobis (Nach Bach Ii)
    For Flute and Guitar
    114-40414 Quartet
    For Piano, Violin, Viola, and Violoncello
    20:00 Piano Quartet
    416-41103 Quintet
    For Piano and String Quartet (Full Score)
    48:00 Piano Quintet
    114-40297 Quintet
    For Two Violins, Viola and Two Violoncellos
    27:00 String Ensemble
    114-40510 Rhapsody and Prayer
    For Violin and Piano
    9:30 Violin with Piano
    114-40179 Ricordanza
    Soliloquy for Cello and Piano
    114-40245 Slow Fires Of Autumn
    Ukiyo-e II, for Flute and Harp
    114-40246 Sonata
    For Viola and Piano
    Viola with Piano
    114-40491 Sonata
    For Violin and Piano
    114-40720 Sonata-Aria
    For Cello and Piano
    114-40163 String Quartet No. 2
    28:00 String Quartet
    416-41099 String Quartet No. 4
    25:00 String Quartet
    416-41101 String Quartet No. 6
    35:00 String Quartet
    114-40621 Summer, 1990
    Piano Trio No. 3
    22:00 Mixed Trio
    114-40446 To The Dark Wood
    Music for Woodwind Quintet – Full Score and Parts
    15:30 Woodwind Quintet
    114-40270 Trio
    For B-Flat Clarinet, F Horn, and Piano
    23:00 Chamber Ensemble
    114-40128 Trio (1967)
    Piano Trio
    114-40428 Trio (1985)
    For Piano, Violin, and Violoncello (Score)
    23:00 Chamber Ensemble
    13708 Imago Mundi
    for Large Orchestra
    20:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    416-41340 Imago Mundi
    13710 Music for the Magic Theater
    30:00 1 1 1 1 – 2 1 1 1; Pno. Str.
    416-41084 Music for The Magic Theater
    For A Chamber Ensemble Of 15 Players
    30:00 Orchestra
    13716 Suite No. 1 from “The Confidence Man”
    for Orchestra
    416-41353 Suite No. 1 From The Confidence Man
    13718 Symphony No. 1
    50:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    416-41268 Symphony No. 1 (Revised)
    13719 Symphony No. 2
    26:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    416-41050 Symphony No. 2
    28:00 Orchestra
    13721 Symphony No. 4
    48:00 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    416-41344 Symphony No. 4
    13722 Symphony No. 5
    25:00 4 2 1 3 – 4 4 3 1; Timp. Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
    416-41158 Symphony No. 5
    23:00 Orchestra
    13723 Symphony No. 6
    for Large Orchestra
    35:00 4 4 5 4 – 4 4 3 1; 2Timp. 3Perc. Cel. 2Hp. Str.
    416-41351 Symphony No. 6
    13725 Zodiac
    14:30 3 3 3 3 – 4 2(in C) 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Sections, Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
    416-41077 Zodiac
    For Orchestra – Study Score
    14:00 Orchestra
    Orchestra w/ Soloist(s)
    11875 Cheltenham Concerto
    12:00 1 1 1 1 – 1 1 1 0; Str.
    13699 Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
    26:00 Solo Cl.; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 0 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    114-40864 Concerto
    For Clarinet and Orchestra
    26:00 Clarinet with Piano
    13700 Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
    18:00 Solo Ob.; 2 0 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    416-41181 Concerto (Ob., Orch.) – S Sc
    For Oboe and Orchestra
    114-40408 Concerto
    For Oboe and Orchestra (Piano Reduction and Solo Oboe Part)
    18:00 Piano, Oboe solo
    13701 Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
    40:00 Solo Vln.; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Cel. 2Hp. Str.
    416-41277 Concerto
    414-41111 Concerto
    For Violin and Orchestro
    40:00 Violin with Piano
    13702 David the Psalmist
    for Tenor Solo and Orchestra
    25:00 Solo Ten.; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Str.
    13711 Night Music
    for Orchestra with Cello Solo
    12:00 Solo Vcl.; 3 3 3 3 – 4 3 3 1; Timp. Perc. Hp. Str.
    13713 Phaedra
    for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra
    32:00 Solo Mezzo-sop.; 2 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 0; Timp. Perc. Str.
    411-41104 Phaedra
    A Monodrama for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra
    41:00 Voice with Piano
    13717 Suite No. 2 from “The Confidence Man”
    for Solo Voices, Chorus and Orchestra
    416-41354 Suite No. 2 From The Confidence Man
    13720 Symphony No. 3
    for Vocal Solo Quartet, Chamber and Large Choruses and Large Orchestra
    50:00 6 5 5 6 – 6 8 8 1; Timp. Perc. 2Org.(Pipe, Lg.Elec.) Pno. Cel. Str.
    416-41123 Symphony No. 3
    16744 The Confidence Man
    Opera in Two Parts
    2:32:00 1(Picc.) 2(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Hp. Cel. Str.
    416-41355 The Confidence Man
    Opera In Two Parts
    2:30:00 Opera with Chorus
    417-41023 The Confidence Man
    Opera In Two Parts
    Vocal / Choral
    111-40075 2 Songs From Tableaux
    Transcribed By The Composer for Voice and Piano
    312-41062 Behold, My Servant
    Every Thing That Lives Is Holy – S.A.T.B., A Cappella
    431-41010 Contemporary American Art Songs
    411-41053 Eleven Songs
    For Mezzo Soprano and Piano
    111-40081 Fantasies
    For Voice and Piano
    5:00 Voice with Piano
    111-40086 Four Songs Of Solomon
    For Voice and Piano
    312-41746 Hymn To American Spirit
    For S.A.T.B Chorus and Piano: From The Opera”” The Confidence Man
    4:30 SATB
    13709 Music for “The Alchemist”
    for Soprano and 11 Players
    20:00 2Fl. 2Cl. 2Tpt. Vln. Cb. Kbd. 2Perc.
    416-41241 Passions According 20th Cen
    312-40297 Psalm 23
    For S.A.T.B., A Cappella
    4:00 SATB
    312-40298 Pslm 43
    For S.S.A.T.B.B., A Cappella – Set To The Original Hebrew Text (With English Text Adapted From King James)
    4:00 SATB
    312-40299 Psalm 150
    For Satb, Divisi, A Cappella – Set To The Original Hebrew Text, for A Cappella Chorus (With English Text Adapted From King James)
    13715 Sacred Song of Reconciliation (Mizmor L’plyus)
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    10:00 Solo Bar.; 1 1 1 1 – 1 0 1 0; Perc. 2Pno. Str.
    411-41093 Seven Early Love Songs
    For Voice and Piano
    411-41075 Songs In Praise Of Krishna
    For Soprano and Piano, Text From The Bengali
    111-40088 Songs Of Inanna and Dumuzi
    For Contralto and Piano, Based On Ancient Sumerian Texts
    111-40113 String Quartet No. 7
    With Baritone
    25:00 Voice with Instrument
    13724 Tableaux
    for Soprano and 11 Players
    20:00 Soprano, 2 Speaking Voices (Young Woman, Young Man); Fl.(dbl. A.Fl., Picc.) Cl.(dbl.Acl., E-flatCl.) Tpt.(dbl.Picc.Tpt.) Hn. Tbn. Perc. Kbd.(Pno., Cel., Hpsd.) Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.
    416-41085 Tableaux
    Study Score
    25:00 Orchestra
    Band / Wind Ensemble
    115-40075 Apocalyptica
    20:00 Concert Band
    11658 Black Sounds
    for Winds and Percussion
    12:00 2 1 2 0 – 2 2 2 1; Large Perc. Section (4 Players) Pno.(dbl. Cel)
    13705 Fanfares
    for Massed Trumpets, Horns and Trombones
    417-41004 The Hexachord…
    And Its Relation To The Twelve-Tone Row

  • George Rochberg is a composer worth revisiting… He grew up on a musical battlefield of warring ideologies. It would have been admirable had he refused to join the serialists or the polytonalists or the neo-Romantics or the neo-classicists or the minimalists. More admirable was that he joined them all.
    –Bernard Holland, The New York Times

    “The Caprice Variations,” in which Rochberg masterfully blends Modernist and Classical elements, is a beguiling, if not bemusing, composition.
    –Danny Kim-Nam Hui,

    Rochberg’s music includes both popular American idioms and baroque and romantic classicism… All told, the “Carnival Music” is a lively, diverse work in an American idiom.
    –Robin Friedman, (user review of Naxos 8.559634)

    …a brilliant show-work for piano that the heart and mind of Rochberg have put together as if with some kind of magic glue that is oddly cohesive. Robert Schumann’s “Carnival,” written more than a century before the Rochberg piece, was a happy comparison.
    –James Felton, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

    Rochberg’s music…gathers the kind of music he values, a portrait of himself and his life in music… highly pianistic, broadly orchestrated, overflowing with sound. It is personal, appealing, provocative and full of emotion— the essence of a romantic work.
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    …works very effectively, in four movements. It uses melodic motives that are perceptible and that really develop, despite the atonality.
    –Mark DeVoto, Boston Musical Intelligencer

    The ‘Concord’ quartets, each roughly a half-hour in length, speak a kind of musical esperanto that Rochberg calls ‘multi-gestural.’ Atonal, 12-tone and purely diatonic elements exist side-by-side, even simultaneously. No single harmonic procedure dominates; each is as important as the other, fixed radically like the spokes of a wheel. Together they form a literal musical continuum that denies neither the past nor the present. It is one music, and it is many musics — the composer provides the artistic context and the listener is left to draw his own aural relationships.
    –Chicago Tribune

    Its particular and very touching elegiac quality is conveyed through a highly individual use of quotation. It is a singularly sensitive piece of work… If the Bowdoin festival had nothing to show for its existence but the commissioning of the one work the whole project would be extremely worthwhile.
    –Michael Steinberg, Boston critic

    …a shining example of how up-to-the-minute materials can be used to produce music of strong individuality. In a sense, his is romantic music, super-distilled lyricism… and it is very spiritual.
    –Theodore Strongin, New York Times

    … rigorous passion in the broad statements and tense harmonies.
    –David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

    Though this piece has its amusing moments and seems tongue-in-cheek for a while, it leaves one with the impression that a serious statement has been made. Throughout the work the composer never stands above the traditions he is referring to, taking potshots at them, but relates to each one on a sincere level, employing his own astute craftsmanship to make his own kind of Beethoven and his own kind of rock… sensitive, carefully crafted.
    –Village Voice

    …pieces of fluency and deeply involved feelings nourished by the spare suggestiveness of the poems. The piano parts… retained a glassy clarity while arising from a dense, chromatic richness that seemed to carry forward a few steps the same kind of poignancy we find in the songs of Alban Berg.
    –James Felton, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

    …a powerful and thoroughly original work, communicating a diversity of ideas and impressions to the listener. Especially interesting are the opening and closing sections wherein the composer has recreated the sounds of Japanese Gagaku, the orchestra music of the Imperial Court originating in the eighth century… accomplished by uncanny manipulation of the resources of the modern orchestra. It successfully combines the concepts of unity and variety that mark the product of a true master.
    –Sam di Bonaventura, Baltimore critic

    … a fascinating accomplishment… an unusual conflict and brilliant resolution of styles, as fleeting as a musical dream— fairy-like and magical, and throughout tinged with an element of religiosity. Rochberg is a formidable craftsman, a master orchestrator. It is a unique work, truly gripping in its effect.
    –Elliott W. Galkin, Baltimore Sun

    Mr. Rochberg’s aim is… to evoke the past and tie it to the present in a mystical way that goes beyond what others have done in any conscious or systematic manner… after a lapse of years, one was again struck by Mr. Rochberg’s ability to project his personal vision.
    –Donal Henahan, New York Times

    Craggy, abrupt and highly colored instrumentations to give a music insistently demanding attention.
    –Glenn Griffin, Denver Post

    …sounds emerge from the instrument which would make you think the harpsichordist has gone electric. It was all very wonderful and great fun.
    –Blyth Young, Ottawa Journal

    …an attractive piece…
    –Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International (Review of Naxos CD “Piano Music Vol. 3”)

    Mr. Rochberg shows marked creative daring in this composition. It is in a style suggesting Berg and Schoenberg, yet distinctly his own in the shrewd play of novel idea and color.
    –Louis Biancolli, New York World-Telegram

    …an exquisitely beautiful piece, full of mysterious, silvery effects and profound, compelling expression. Mark it well…
    –Alfred Frankenstein, High Fidelity

    …sheer elegance and fluidity … beautifully crafted and well executed.
    –Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International (Review of Naxos CD “Piano Music Vol. 3”)

    The theme…is a beautiful, short, and accessible lyrical ballade in a romantic style. … Each of the movements flow into one another without pause. The overall feel is one of unity and energy within a diversity of musical styles.
    –Robin Friedman, (user review of Naxos 8.559633)

    …of considerable dramatic intensity… a point of being communicative… a fresh and imaginative range of sonorities… direct but unconventional… virtuoso stuff.
    –Lon Tuck, Washington Post

    The Piano Quintet has never seemed greater or more symphonic in scope than it did Sunday, thanks to an ensemble led by violinist Paul Roby and pianist [Marcantonio] Barone… Though knitted together with skilled motivic unity, the piece’s seven movements are eventful worlds of their own… Just when Rochberg seems to have fully explored a particular idea, there’s more, so much more…
    –David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer

    A provocative work that draws the listener in, sometimes comfortably, sometimes challengingly.
    –Richard Freed, Stereo Review

    Extreme eclecticism like this takes courage, but it is a courage made easier by Mr. Rochberg’s rock-solid sense of form and shape…The contrasts are large ones: violent chords leaving trailing echoes of resonance over which soft responses are heard. The Brahmsian inner movements are lovely.
    –Bernard Holland, The New York Times

    …an unyielding, granitic work on a Hebrew text…that brought the house down.
    –Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

    …a refreshingly romantic piece from this sometimes unpredictable composer; in this score, virility and heartfelt emotion combine to wonderful effect.
    –William Goodfellow, Musical America

    The profound emotional expression in all four movements is characterized by the constant employment of atonality and tonal variety.
    –Danny Kim-Nam Hui,

    …impressive … dark, serious, brooding…
    –Robin Friedman, (user review of Naxos 8.559633)

    …shows what wealth of material a note-row can yield. The range of invention compels admiration, as does the dazzling variety and ingenuity of the piano writing.
    –Peter Crump, Music and Letters

    …a display piece, a veritable peacock’s tail of eye-catching colours.
    –Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International (Review of Naxos CD “Piano Music Vol. 3”)

    …the jagged melodic lines and ripe dissonances — so wide in range and at the same time limited in what they can express — remain as wellspring for new musical development … there is such a degree of subtlety and truth in the matching of words to music as to make the total effect unmistakably strong.
    –Monroe Levin, Jewish Exponent

    …a wholly superior testimonial to the continuing viability of the middle ground in the 12-tone world. The composer uses a text in the closing sections of his work, drawn from the ninth Duino Elegy of Rilke; indeed there is much Rilke in the mood of the entire composition.
    –Alan Rich, New York Times

    The intellectual grit with which musical arguments were pressed home… is reflected in the hard-edged visionary strain of its feeling…
    –London Daily Telegraph

    The Concord Quartet matches the poetry — ‘The beast of night, dark furred…’ —a vision of terror. For sustained intensity, the group strikes a note not heard in Rochberg quartets for years… forceful, dark statements as direct as any verbal image.
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    …a greater humanity and depth for his art. Rochberg offers the proof that tonal and non-tonal music can find new musical directions and he is on a strikingly original path.
    –Tom Larson, The New Mexican

    There can be no question of Mr. Rochberg’s skill with the orchestra, and of his ability to spin nice lines into a good fabric… I also liked the nice lyric flow of the slow movement and its imaginative counterpoint.
    –Paul Henry Lang, New York Herald Tribune

    …full of ginger and ideas… the end movements… are bursting with rugged energy. Mr. Rochberg writes for the orchestra with spirit and with a flair for its variety.
    –Howard Taubman, New York Times

    …a masterpiece… a powerful and thoroughly original score… it communicates emotion, with technique relegated to minor importance.
    –New York Times

    …a work of classic symphonic scope and of Schoenbergian intensity and vision… an underlying originality and an expressive power and poetry that are remarkable.
    –High Fidelity

    …the symphony astonishes as much by the novel sounds drawn from the traditional orchestra as by the melodic-rhythmic wealth derived from a single twelve-tone row… rhythmically, as in the melodic realm, Rochberg has succeeded in creating the unity in variety that marks the true master.
    –Alexander L. Ringer, Musical Quarterly

    This work is an important ‘breakthrough’ that intelligent audiences have been waiting for, and not something thrown together for shock effect… [Rochberg] has used his great musical genius in the service of humanity… the star-studded audience…gave Rochberg’s work an ovation.
    –David Kosinski, Wilmington Evening Journal

    Rochberg has woven into his work music of other composers in new guises or new contexts… gathering into his own music the ideas from the past that are important to him. It is music from the heart and its message scarcely needs words to make its impact. It is an epochal work in Rochberg’s catalog; it should be one in our times.
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    Mr. Rochberg writes tunes, tunes you can sing, tunes that stay in your head. He is unashamedly, unabashedly, uninhibitedly Romantic.
    –Stephen Cera, Baltimore Sunday Sun

    …what promises to be one of the most important Symphonies written in the last half of this century… a work of impressive substance… music of great force… response to a period in history when humanistic values have been challenged, and a reaffirmation that they are important…
    –Robert C. March, Chicago Sun-Times

    “The Symphony No. 5” is romantic… terse and highly condensed. It does not use quotations from the past, although it pivots on a long, lyrical musical phrase that could have been written by Mahler…
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    …an unqualified success… dashing, powerful, high tension so superbly crafted that the ideas were clear no matter how complex the writing.
    –Carl Alphone, The Pittsburgh Press

    …the best new piece of music I’ve heard in several years. A century (or more) from now, it should still stand as a highly skilled, deeply moving piece of music, an example of the best music of our times.
    –Wayne Johnson, Seattle Times

    Rochberg has built a new and highly evocative orchestra, creating new sounds, finding the apt touch for the ethereal poetry and the mood… it is hard to imagine a more suitable fitting of timbre with text.
    –Daniel Webster, Philadelphia Inquirer

    …an artistic vision of rich complexity, essentially lyrical in manner, concentrated in its rethinking of sonata form.
    –Anthony Payne, London Daily Telegraph

    …formally and expressively coherent, rich in diverse and memorable ideas, and most enjoyable to listen to.
    –John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

    …among the most beautiful serial compositions ever penned, terse, characterful, and singing. It is no surprise that Rochberg’s textures are always pianistic and illuminated from within, given that he was an excellent pianist himself.
    –Howard Goldstein, BBC Music Magazine (review of Piano Music, Vol. 2, on Naxos)

    I find them one of the most enlightening and entrancing piano compositions that came to my attention in a decade or so… there is a personal message in your music, and your music gives to the performer the way to give the maximum of his abilities.
    –Alexander Tcherepnin, in a letter to the composer

    They are 12-tone music, but more important, they are music, the expression of a true composer… the contrasts in mood and texture fused in an architectonic whole make for interesting piano music.
    –Jeanne Behrend, Notes

    As a young man of 23 in 1941, Rochberg composed his “Variations on an Original Theme”… Although there is nothing groundbreaking in this work, it is delightful to hear. It is an impressive accomplishment by a fledgling composer.
    –Robin Friedman, (user review of Naxos 8.559634)

    What makes [the “Violin Concerto”] fresh and exciting is Rochberg’s willingness to be unafraid of the past. He wants to be able to use any device, technique or idea he likes… The Violin Concerto’s melodic style and rich harmony go back to turn-of-the-century post-Romanticism. Its fantasies and ornate 5-movement shapes suggest the baroque. Yet it is not a total throwback. Its forays into atonality are imaginative.
    –Time Magazine

  • Rochberg, Chihara, Rorem ROCHBERG, CHIHARA, ROREM
    Bridge Records (9417); April 8, 2014
    Performer(s): Jerome Lowenthal, piano
    Work(s): Carnival Music
    Nach Bach Fantasia
    Passion PASSION
    North Pacific Music (NPM-LD-003); April 5, 2011
    Performer(s): Rosanna Weinberger, viola, Evelyne Luest, piano
    Work(s): Sonata for Viola and Piano
    Inner Voice INNER VOICE
    Centaur Records (CRC3049); November 5, 2010
    Performer(s): Peter Minkler, viola; Lura Johnson, piano
    Work(s): Sonata for Viola and Piano
    Piano Music, Vol. 4 PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 4
    Naxos (8.559634); August 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Sally Pinkas, piano
    Work(s): Carnival Music
    Four Short Sonatas
    Variations on an Original Theme
    Piano Music, Vol. 3 PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 3
    Naxos (8.559633); June 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Sally Pinkas, piano
    Work(s): Nach Bach Fantasia
    Piano Music, Vol. 2 PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 2
    Naxos (8.559632); April 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Evan Hirsch, piano
    Work(s): Sonata Seria
    Three Elegiac Pieces
    Twelve Bagatelles
    Piano Music, Vol. 1 PIANO MUSIC, VOL. 1
    Naxos (8.559631); February 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Hirsch-Pinkas Piano Duo
    Work(s): Circles of Fire
    The Red Guitar THE RED GUITAR
    Wildner Records (); January 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Eliot Fisk, guitar
    Work(s): American Bouquet
    Symphony No. 1 SYMPHONY NO. 1
    Naxos (8.559214); October 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee
    Work(s): Symphony No. 1
    String Quartet No. 1 STRING QUARTET NO. 1
    CRI/New World Records (NWCR768); February 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Aeolian Quartet of Sarah Lawrence College; Concord String Quartet; New York Philharmonic; Werner Torkanowsky, conductor
    Work(s): Contra Mortem et Tempus
    String Quartet No. 1
    Symphony No. 2
    String Quartet No. 2 STRING QUARTET NO. 2
    CRI/New World Records (NWCR769); February 1, 2007
    Performer(s): Philadelphia String Quartet; Janice Harsanyi, soprano; George Rochberg, piano; Mark Sokol, violin; Norman Fischer, cello
    Work(s): Duo Concertante
    Ricordanza Soliloquy
    Slow Fires of Autumn (Ukiyo-E II)
    String Quartet No. 2 with Soprano
    Symphony No. 2 / Imago Mundi SYMPHONY NO. 2 / IMAGO MUNDI
    Naxos (8.559182); September 1, 2005
    Performer(s): Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee
    Work(s): Symphony No. 2
    Larry Combs, Clarinet LARRY COMBS, CLARINET
    Crystal Records (CRC731); August 19, 2005
    Performer(s): Larry Combs, Clarinet
    Work(s): Trio for Clarinet, Horn, and Piano
    Symphony No. 5 / Black Sounds SYMPHONY NO. 5 / BLACK SOUNDS
    Naxos (8.559115); May 1, 2003
    Performer(s): Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee
    Work(s): Symphony No. 5
    In a Landscape IN A LANDSCAPE
    Arpaviva (CD002); April 28, 2003
    Performer(s): Victoria Jordanova, Electric Harp
    Work(s): Ukiyo-E (Pictures of the Floating World)
    Neva Pilgrim, Soprano NEVA PILGRIM, SOPRANO
    CRI/New World Records (NWCR817); October 12, 1999
    Performer(s): The Madison Quartet; Neva Pilgrim, soprano; Arnold Sklar, viola; Elizabeth Cifani, harp; Elliott Golub, violin; George Rochberg, piano; Jan Herlinger, flute and piccolo; John Cobb, piano; Paul Ondrace…
    Work(s): Songs in Praise of Krishna
    Rochberg: Four Decades of Piano Music ROCHBERG: FOUR DECADES OF PIANO MUSIC
    ACA Digital Recording, Inc. (CM20044); March 18, 1997
    Performer(s): Martha Thomas, piano
    Work(s): Four Short Sonatas
    Nach Bach Fantasia
    Twelve Bagatelles
    Masterworks for Clarinet and Piano MASTERWORKS FOR CLARINET AND PIANO
    Contemporary Record Society (9561); August 22, 1995
    Performer(s): Russo, Ignatio, Chandler
    Work(s): Dialogues
    Chamber Works CHAMBER WORKS
    Albany Records (TROY153); May 1, 1995
    Performer(s): Kees Kooper
    Work(s): Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano
    Alexa Still, Flute ALEXA STILL, FLUTE
    Koch International Classics (3-7144-2 H 1); January 25, 1995
    Performer(s): Alexa Still, flute
    Work(s): Between Two Worlds (Ukiyo-E III)
    Rochberg - To the Dark Wood / Harbison - Quintet for Winds ROCHBERG – TO THE DARK WOOD / HARBISON – QUINTET FOR WINDS
    Koch International Classics (3-7262-2); January 25, 1995
    Performer(s): Arioso Wind Quintet
    Work(s): To the Dark Wood
    20th Century Voices In America 20TH CENTURY VOICES IN AMERICA
    Vox Records (CDX 5145); January 1, 1995
    Performer(s): Penn Contemporary Players, Richard Wernick, conductor
    Work(s): Tableaux
    A Life In Music - Stravinsky / Rochberg: Violin Concertos A LIFE IN MUSIC – STRAVINSKY / ROCHBERG: VIOLIN CONCERTOS
    Sony Classical (SMK64 505); January 1, 1995
    Performer(s): Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Andre Previn, conductor; Isaac Stern, violin
    Work(s): Violin Concerto
    Enchanted Dreams ... Exotic Dances ENCHANTED DREAMS … EXOTIC DANCES
    Tall Poppies (Albany Records) (TP031); June 3, 1994
    Performer(s): Geoffrey Collins, flute; Alice Giles, harp
    Work(s): Slow Fires of Autumn (Ukiyo-E II)
    Chamber Music From the Library of Congress CHAMBER MUSIC FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
    Koch International Classics (CD 3-7027-2 H1); April 20, 1994
    Performer(s): American Chamber Players
    Work(s): Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello
    American Music for Viola AMERICAN MUSIC FOR VIOLA
    Albany Records (TROY141); January 1, 1994
    Performer(s): Lawrence Wheeler, viola, Ruth Tomfohrde, piano
    Work(s): Sonata for Viola and Piano
    Beaux Arts Trio Complete Philips Recordings BEAUX ARTS TRIO COMPLETE PHILIPS RECORDINGS
    Philips Recordings (0289 478 8225 1 60 CDs ADD/DDD DB60); January 1, 1994
    Performer(s): Beaux Arts Trio
    Work(s): Summer, 1990
    Music for the Magic Theater MUSIC FOR THE MAGIC THEATER
    CRI/New World Records (80462); January 1, 1994
    Performer(s): New York Chamber Ensemble, Stephen Rogers Radcliffe, conductor
    Work(s): Music for the Magic Theater
    Octet – A Grand Fantasia
    American Wind Music / Pennsylvania Wind Quintet AMERICAN WIND MUSIC / PENNSYLVANIA WIND QUINTET
    Centaur Records (CRC2085); January 1, 1991
    Performer(s): Pennsylvania Quintet
    Work(s): To the Dark Wood
    Paul Cortese, Viola PAUL CORTESE, VIOLA
    Crystal Records (CD636); January 1, 1991
    Performer(s): Paul Cortese, viola, Jon Klibonoff, piano
    Work(s): Sonata for Viola and Piano
    Maria Bachmann, Violin MARIA BACHMANN, VIOLIN
    Connoisseur Society (CD 4178); January 1, 1990
    Performer(s): Maria Bachmann, Violin
    Work(s): Sonata for Violin and Piano
    Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra/ Prism CONCERTO FOR OBOE & ORCHESTRA/ PRISM
    CRI/New World Records (80335); January 1, 1986
    Performer(s): New York Philharmonic, Zubin Mehta; Joseph Robinson, oboe
    Work(s): Oboe Concerto
    Sue Ann Kahn plays Schickele, Rochberg, Luening and Riegger SUE ANN KAHN PLAYS SCHICKELE, ROCHBERG, LUENING AND RIEGGER
    CRI/New World Records (NWCRL531); January 1, 1986
    Performer(s): Sue Ann Kahn, flute, Andrew Willis, piano
    Work(s): Between Two Worlds (Ukiyo-E III)
    Quartet No. 7 / String Quartet, Op. 11 • Dover Beach, Op. 3 QUARTET NO. 7 / STRING QUARTET, OP. 11 • DOVER BEACH, OP. 3
    Nonesuch Records (78017); January 1, 1983
    Performer(s): The Concord String Quartet; Leslie Guinn, baritone
    Work(s): String Quartet No. 7 with Baritone Voice
    Quintet for Piano and String Quartet QUINTET FOR PIANO AND STRING QUARTET
    Nonesuch Records (N-78011); January 1, 1981
    Performer(s): The Concord String Quartet; Alan Marks, piano
    Work(s): Quintet for Piano and String Quartet
    The Twentieth Century Consort THE TWENTIETH CENTURY CONSORT
    Smithsonian Collection (N 022); January 1, 1981
    Performer(s): Cello – Glenn Garlick; Clarinet – Loren Kitt; Composed By – George Rochberg; Flute – Sara Stern; Piano, Electric Piano – Lambert Orkis; Violin – Dan Rouslin
    Work(s): Electrikaleidoscope
    Violin Concerto VIOLIN CONCERTO
    Columbia Masterworks (M-35149); January 1, 1979
    Performer(s): Andre Previn, Pittsbugh Symphony
    Work(s): Violin Concerto
    Three Sides of Gearge Rochberg THREE SIDES OF GEARGE ROCHBERG
    Grenadilla Records (GS-1019); January 1, 1977
    Performer(s): Oberlin Wind Ensemble; Alan Mandel, piano; Igor Kipnis, harpsichord
    Work(s): Black Sounds
    Carnival Music
    Nach Bach Fantasia
    Music for the Magic Theater / Chamber Symphony for Nine Instruments MUSIC FOR THE MAGIC THEATER / CHAMBER SYMPHONY FOR NINE INSTRUMENTS
    Desto Records (DC-6444); January 1, 1975
    Performer(s): The Oberlin Orchestra; John Owings, piano
    Work(s): Chamber Symphony
    Music for the Magic Theater
    The Contemporary Composer In The USA: String Quartet No 2 / Chamber Music II THE CONTEMPORARY COMPOSER IN THE USA: STRING QUARTET NO 2 / CHAMBER MUSIC II
    Turnabout Records (TV-S 34524); January 1, 1974
    Performer(s): The Concord String Quartet, Phyllis Bryn-Julson, soprano
    Work(s): String Quartet No. 2 with Soprano
    Tableaux / TABLEAUX / “O, THE CHIMNEYS”
    Turnabout Records (TV-S 34492); January 1, 1973
    Performer(s): Penn Contemporary Players, Richard Wernick, cond.; Jan de Gaetani, soprano
    Work(s): Tableaux
    Trio For Violin, Cello And Piano / Dandelion Wine / Trio For Oboe Clarinet And Bassoon TRIO FOR VIOLIN, CELLO AND PIANO / DANDELION WINE / TRIO FOR OBOE CLARINET AND BASSOON
    Turnabout Records (TV-S 34520); January 1, 1973
    Performer(s): Cello – Fred Sherry; Composed By – George Rochberg; Piano – Mary Louise Boehm; Violin – Kees Kooper
    Work(s): Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano
    Daniel Kobialka ‎– Plays New Music For Violin DANIEL KOBIALKA ‎– PLAYS NEW MUSIC FOR VIOLIN
    Advance Recordings (FGR-6C); January 1, 1969
    Performer(s): Daniel Kobialka, violin
    Work(s): Duo Concertante
    David Burge ‎– David Burge Plays New Piano Music DAVID BURGE ‎– DAVID BURGE PLAYS NEW PIANO MUSIC
    Advance Recordings (FGR-3); January 1, 1966
    Performer(s): David Burge, piano
    Work(s): Twelve Bagatelles
    Night Music and Symphony No. 1 NIGHT MUSIC AND SYMPHONY NO. 1
    Soundmark Records (S-634); April 1, 1962
    Performer(s): Louisville Orchestra, Whitney, conductor
    Work(s): Night Music
    Symphony No. 1

  • 1989-1990: “Varieties of the Compositional Experience, George Rochberg at 71,” an exhibition of scores, documents, memorabilia by the Music Division of The New York Library, Lincoln Center
    1988: Honorary Doctorate, Curtis Institute of Music
    1987: Alfred I. du Pont Award for Outstanding Conductors and Composer, Delaware Symphony, Wilmington, Delaware
    1987: Andre and Clara Mertens Contemporary Composer Award, Univ. of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut
    1986: Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    1986: Lancaster Symphony Composers Award
    1985: American Academy of Arts and Letters
    1985: Gold Medal, Brandeis Creative Arts Award
    1985: Honorary Doctorate in Music, Univ. of Pennsylvania
    1980: Honorary Doctorate in Music, University of Michigan
    1979: Annenberg Professor of Humanities, University of Pennsylvania
    1979: First Prize, Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards (for “String Quartet No. 4”)
    1972: Naumburg Chamber Composition Award (for “String Quartet No. 3”)
    1966-1967: Guggenheim Fellowship
    1966: Prix Italia for Lincoln Center, Stage 5 (for “Black Sounds”)
    1964: Honorary Doctorate in Music, Philadelphia Musical Academy (now the University of the Arts)
    1961: Naumburg Recording Award (for “Symphony No. 2”)
    1959: First Prize, Italian ISCM International Music Competition (for the “Cheltenham Concerto”)
    1956-1957: Guggenheim Fellowship
    1956: Society for the Publication of American Music Award (for “String Quartet No. 1”)
    1952: George Gershwin Memorial Award (for “Night Music”)
    1950-1951: American Academy in Rome Fellowship
    1950-1951: Fulbright Fellowship

  • Black Sounds
    for Winds and Percussion
    Composer Scrapbook
    Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra
    Eden: Out of Time and Out of Space
    Chamber Concerto for Guitar and Ensemble
    for Amplified Ensemble
    for Massed Trumpets, Horns and Trombones
    Imago Mundi
    for Orchestra
    Music for the Magic Theater
    Night Music
    for Orchestra
    Octet – A Grand Fantasia
    Sacred Song of Reconciliation (Mizmor L’plyus)
    for Baritone and Orchestra
    String Quartet No. 7
    with Baritone
    Suite No. 1 from “The Confidence Man”
    for Orchestra
    Suite No. 2 from “The Confidence Man”
    for Solo Voices, Chorus and Orchestra
    Symphony No. 1 (rev. 1977)
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 2
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 3
    for Vocal Solo Quartet, Chamber and Large Choruses, and Large Orchestra
    Symphony No. 4
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 5
    for Orchestra
    Symphony No. 6
    for Orchestra