Hugo Weisgall music manuscripts
- 1934 - 1950
- Weisgall, Hugo (Person)
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0.29 Cubic Feet (1 medium flat box)
Biographical / Historical
Weisgall's military service in the diplomatic sector during World War II drew on his central European background in addition to his non-musical academic studies and led to his post-war service as an attaché, first in London and then in Prague. It was during this period, prior to his return to the U.S. in 1947, that he began to attract international attention as a conductor and composer. Upon returning to the Baltimore area, Weisgall soon became associated with several organizations. He was music director at his father's synagogue, founded the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore in 1948 and the Hilltop Opera in 1952 and directed the Baltimore Institute of Musical Arts, a pioneering conservatory for African-Americans. Though he remained associated with the Chamber Music Society well into the 1960s and served on faculty at Johns Hopkins University (1951-1957), his institutional affiliations became increasingly centered in New York. By the end of 1960 he had relocated to Great Neck, Long Island, where he was to live the rest of his life, aside from summers in Lincolnville, Maine and a number of teaching or composing residencies, including Penn State University (1959-1960) the American Academy in Rome (1966).
During the four and a half decades that Weisgall was faculty chair of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York (1952-1996), he also taught at the Juilliard School (1957-1970) and Queens College of the City University of N.Y. (1961-1983) and was involved with instructional outreach programs at Lincoln Center in a number of capacities, being formally named Associate for Education in 1965. Aside from teaching, conducting and composing, he was president of the American Music Center (1963-1973), directed Lyric Opera of Chicago’s composer-in-residence program (1988-1997) and served as an evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1980s and was elected president of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1990.
Weisgall died in Great Neck on March 11, 1997.
Weisgall's reputation is largely built on his operatic output. Roughly half of his dozen works in the genre have found a place in the repertoire and commercial recordings of The stronger, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and The Tenor have been issued. His most frequently performed works are probably his choral compositions and arrangements meant for incorporation into liturgical services, though they are relatively rarely encountered in the concert hall. A number of his solo songs have been recorded and appear on occasionally on recitals.
(Note adapted from the Guide to the Hugo Weisgall Papers, JPB 00-43, Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. http://archives.nypl.org/mus/20266. Accessed 2018 March 23.)