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Roger Nixon

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Roger Nixon


Roger Nixon (8 August 1921, Tulare, Calif. – 13 October 2009, Burlingame, Calif.) was an American composer, musician, and professor of music.

Roger Nixon was born and raised in California's Central Valley towns of Tulare and Modesto. Nixon attended Modesto Junior College from 1938-1940 where he studied clarinet with Frank Mancini, formerly of Sousa's Band. He continued his studies at the University of California at Berkeley, majoring in composition and receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941. His studies were then interrupted by almost four years of active duty in the Navy during World War II, serving as the commanding officer of an LCMR in the Atlantic.

Following the war Nixon returned to Berkeley, first receiving a M.A. degree and later a Ph.D. His primary teacher was Roger Sessions. He also studied with Arthur Bliss, Ernest Bloch, Charles Cushing, and Frederick Jacobi. In the summer of 1948, he studied privately with Arnold Schoenberg.

From 1951 to 1959, Nixon was on the music faculty at Modesto Junior College. He was then appointed to the faculty at San Francisco State College in 1960 and began a long association with the Symphonic Band, which premiered many of his works. Most of Nixon's works are for band, but he has also composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo piano, choral ensembles, as well as song cycles and an opera.

Nixon has received several awards including a Phelan Award, the Neil A. Kjos Memorial Award, and five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1973. In 1997, Nixon was honored by the Texas Bandmasters Association as a Heritage American Composer. His final post was as Professor Emeritus of Music at San Francisco State University.

Works for Winds


  • Berz, William. "Pacific Celebration Suite." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 9, edit. & comp. by Richard Miles, 976-988. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2013.
  • Camphouse, Mark, editor. (2007). Composers on Composing for Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 187–214.
  • Dabelstein, Craig. "Nocturne." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 376-382. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
  • Mazzaferro, Anthony P. “The Published Band Compositions of Roger Nixon.” Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Arizona State University, 1986. Available from the Author
  • Roger Nixon, Wikipedia Accessed 18 April 2017