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Vincent Persichetti

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Vincent Persichetti


Vincent Persichetti (6 June 1915, Philadelphia, Penn. - 14 August 1987, Philadelphia) was an American composer and educator.

Persichetti began his musical life at a young age, first studying the piano, then the organ, double bass, tuba, theory, and composition. By the age of 11 he was paying for his own musical education and helping by performing professionally as an accompanist, radio staff pianist, church organist, and orchestra performer. At the age of 16 he was appointed choir director for the Arch Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, a post he would hold for the next 20 years. During all of this, Persichetti was a student in the Philadelphia public schools and received a thorough musical education at the Combs College of Music, where he earned a degree in 1935 under Russel King Miller, his principal composition teacher.

Starting at the age of 20, he was simultaneously head of the theory and composition departments at the Combs College, a conducting major with Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute, and a piano major with Olga Samaroff at the Philadelphia Conservatory. He received a diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute and graduate degrees from the Philadelphia Conservatory. In 1947 he joined the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, and became the chairman of the Composition Department in 1963.

Persichetti composed for nearly every musical medium, with more than 120 published works. Although he never specifically composed "educational" music, many of his smaller pieces are suitable for teaching purposes. His piano music, a complete body of literature in itself, consists of six sonatinas, three volumes of poems, a concerto and a concertino for piano and orchestra, serenades, a four-hand concerto, a two-piano sonata, twelve solo piano sonatas, and various shorter works. His works for winds rank as some of the most original and well-crafted compositions in the medium, and his Symphony No. 6 is rightly considered one of the "cornerstones" of the genre.

Works for Winds


  • Belser, R.S. (1994). Doctoral Dissertation: Original works for concert band premiered or commissioned by Edwin Franko Goldman, Richard Frank Goldman, and The Goldman Band 1919-1979. University of Iowa.
  • Bruning, Earl. (1980). Doctoral Dissertation: A Survey and Handbook of Analysis for the Conducting and Interpretation of Seven Selected Works in the Standard Repertoire for Wind Band. Ball State University.
  • Carter, Richard Scott. (1991). Doctoral Thesis. A Study of the Chorale Preludes for Winds by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987). University of Cincinnati.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 854.
  • Morris, Donald Alan Morris. (1991). Doctoral Dissertation. The Life of Vincent Persichetti, with emphasis on his works for band. Florida State University.
  • Persichetti, V. and Shackelford, R. (1981). Conversation with Vincent Persichetti. Perspectives of New Music 20 (1), p. 104-133.
  • Vincent Persichetti Society site
  • Vincent Persichetti at Theodore Presser site
  • Workinger, William. (1970). Doctoral Dissertation. Some Aspects of Scoring in the Band Works of Vincent Persichetti. 'New York University.