William Schuman (4 August 1910, Bronx, N.Y. - 15 February 1992, New York, N.Y.) was an American composer and educator.
Schuman was the second child of Samuel and Rachel Schuman. In 1928, Schuman entered New York University to prepare for a business degree at the School of Commerce, while at the same time working for an advertising agency. He continued to collaborate on pop songs with E. B. Marks, Jr., an old friend from summer camp, and also created some forty songs with lyricist Frank Loesser, a neighbor who was also at the beginning of his career. Loesser's first publication, in fact, was a song with music by Schuman. Together they wrote many songs for radio, vaudeville, and nightclub acts. In April 1930, having attended his first professional symphony orchestra concert, Schuman suddenly realized that baseball, business, and popular music must be relegated to subsidiary positions in favor of composing "classical" or concert music.
Schuman earned a B.S. in music education (1935) from the Teachers College of Columbia University. In the fall of 1935, Schuman settled into his first teaching position, at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, N.Y., where he remained on the faculty for a decade. In 1937, he earned an MA degree from Columbia University. In 1944 G. Schirmer, Inc., appointed Schuman Director of Publications. He began work there even before leaving the Sarah Lawrence faculty and continued to serve Schirmer as Special Publications Consultant after moving in 1945 to his next post, the presidency of The Juilliard School. During the 1940s he received his first of many honorary doctorates and was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize ever given in the field of musical composition.
Works for Winds
- American Hymn (1981)
- Anniversary Fanfare (1969)
- The Band Song (1967)
- Circus Overture (tr. Owen) (1944/1972)
- Dedication Fanfare (1969)
- George Washington Bridge (1950)
- New England Triptych (1956)
- Newsreel in Five Shots
- Prelude for a Great Occasion (1975)
- Variations on "America" (as orchestrator, trans. Rhoads)
- Adams, K. Gary. William Schuman: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Press, 1998.
- Brown, Michael. The band music of William Schuman: A study of form, content and style. 1989. University of Georgia, DA dissertation.
- Brown, Michael. "Enduring Wisdom from William Schuman." The Instrumentalist vol. 48, no. 4, November 1993, pp. 26-29.
- Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. GIA Publications, 2010, p. 651ff.
- Polisi, Joseph W. American Muse: The Life and Times of William Schuman. Amadeus Press, 2008.
- William Schuman, Prized Composers, University of Washington. Accessed 22 September 2022.