Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary Composer Biographies

Howard Hanson

Born: October 28, 1896 in Wahoo, Nebraska, America
Died: February 26, 1981 in Rochester, New York, America
Nationality: American
Era: Twentieth Century
Main genre: Orchestral
Main works:
Opus 31. "The Merry Mount", 3 acts (1933)
Choral works:
Symphonic poem "North and West" with obbligato chorus (1923)
"The Lament for Beowulf" for chorus & orchestra (1925)
"Heroic Elegy" for wordless chorus & orchestra (1927)
"Drum Taps" (Walt Whitman) for baritone, chorus & orchestra (1935)
Orchestral works:
Symphonic Prelude (1916)
Symphonic Legend (1917)
Symphonic Rhapsody (1919)
Symphonic poem "Before the Dawn" (1920)
Symphony No. 1 ("Nordic"), E mi. (1922)
Symphony No. 2 ("Romantic") (1930)
Symphony No. 3 (1941)
Symphony No. 4 (1943) - Pulitzer Prize Winner
Serenade (1945)
Symphony No. 5 ("Sinfonia Sacra") (1955)
Symphony No. 6 (1967)
Symphony No. 7 ("Sea Symphony") (Walt Whitman) (1977)
Ballet "Nymphs and Satyr" (1979)
Exaltation, op.20, symphonic. poem, pf obbl., 1920
Sym. no.1 'Nordic', e, op.21, 1922
Lux aeterna, op.24, sym. poem, va obb1., 1923
Pan and the Priest, op.26, sym. poem, pf obb1., 1926
Organ Concerto, op.27, 1926
Sym. no.2 'Romantic', op.30, 1930
Sym. no.3, op.33, 1937 - 8; Merry Mount, suite, 1938
Sym. no.4 'The Requiem', op.34, 1943
Serenade, op.35, fl, harp, str, 1945
Piano Concerto, op.36, 1948
Pastorale, op.38, ob, harp, str, 1949
Fantasy-Variations on a Theme of Youth, op.40, pf, orch, 1951
Sym. no.5 'Sinfonia sacra', op.43, 1954
Elegy, op.44, 1956
Mosaics, 1958
Summer Seascape, 1958
Bold Island Suite, op.46, 1961
For the First Time, 1963
Summer Seascape II, 1966
Dies natalis I, 1967
Sym. no.6, 1968
Sym. no.7 'Sea', with chorus, 1977
Solo instrument and orchestra:
Symphonic poem "Exaltation" with piano obbligato (1920)
Concerto for organ strings & harp (1921)
Symphonic poem "Lux aeterna" with viola obbligato (1923)
Symphonic poem "Pan and the Priest" with piano obbligato (1926)
Organ Concerto (1926)
Piano Concerto (1948)
Voice and orchestra:
Songs from Walt Whitman (1915)
The Untold Want
Joy! Shipmate, Joy!
Chamber music:
Quintet, F mi., for 2 violins, viola, cello & piano (1916)
"Concerto da camera" for 2 violins, viola, cello & piano (1917)
String Quartet (1923)
The Lament for Beowulf, op.25, chorus, orch, 1925
Songs from Drum Taps, op.32, Bar, chorus, orch, 1935
The Cherubic Hymn, op.37, chorus, orch, 1949
How Excellent Thy Name, op.41, female vv, pf, 1952
Song of Democracy, chorus, orch, 1957
Song of Human Rights, chorus, orch, 1963
Psalm CL, male vv, 1965
Psalm CXXI, Bar, chorus, orch, 1968
Streams in the Desert, chorus, orch, 1969
The Mystic Trumpeter, narrator, chorus, orch, 1970
New Land, New Covenant, oratorio, 1976
Brief biography:

Howard Hanson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska on October 28, 1896. His mother taught him music, and he later attended Luther College for more musical training. Hanson studied in Rome, attended the Institute of Musical Art (later to become the Julliard School), and Northwestern University. He was an instructor at Northwestern for a couple years. Hanson taught theory and composition at College of the Pacific. Hanson was head of the Eastman School of Music in New York for 40 years. He helped to strengthen the curriculum of the Conservatory. Hanson conducted many American works. His style was lyrical and harmonic, and liked asymmetrical rhythms. Hanson was influenced by the Gregorian Chant, Jean Sibelius, and Edvard Grieg. Most people consider him to have a Romantic style. Hanson conducted his Symphony no. 4 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on December 3, 1943, and the next year he won a Pulitzer Prize for that piece. Hanson was awarded the American Prix de Rome in Music from the California Forest Play. Hanson was very interested in educating younger people about music, and was involved in organizations such as Music Teachers National Association and the National Association of Schools of Music. He was the president of the National Music Council. Hanson died Feb. 26, 1981.

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