George Rochberg (5 July 1918, Paterson, N.J. – 29 May 2005, Bryn Mawr, Penn.) was an American composer of contemporary classical music.
Rochberg attended first the Mannes College of Music, where his teachers included George Szell and Hans Weisse, then the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Rosario Scalero and Gian Carlo Menotti. He served in the United States Army in the infantry during World War II.
Rochberg served as chairman of the music department at the University of Pennsylvania until 1968 and continued to teach there until 1983. In 1978, he was named the first Annenberg Professor of the Humanities.
A longtime exponent of serialism, Rochberg abandoned this compositional technique upon the death of his teenage son in 1964. He said he had found serialism empty of expressive intent and that it had proved an inadequate means for him to express his grief and rage. By the 1970s, Rochberg had become controversial for the use of tonal passages in his music. His use of tonality first became widely known through the String Quartet No. 3 (1972), which includes an entire set of variations that are in the style of late Beethoven. Another movement of the quartet contains passages reminiscent of the music of Gustav Mahler. This use of tonality caused critics to classify him as a neoromantic composer. He compared atonality to abstract art and tonality to concrete art and compared his artistic evolution with Philip Guston's, saying "the tension between concreteness and abstraction" is a fundamental issue for both of them. His music has also been described as neoconservative postmodernism.
Most of his works are held in the archive of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. Some can also be found in the Music Division of the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, New York, the University of Pennsylvania, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and the City University of New York.
Works for Winds
- Apocalyptica (1966)
- Black Sounds (1965)
- "BLACK SOUNDS for Small Wind Orchestra by George Rochberg (USA, 1918-2005)." WASBE, 28 June 2021. Web. Accessed 1 July 2021
- George Rochberg, Wikipedia Accessed 23 January 2020