Music professor co-authors work on major American composer
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – A Southeastern Louisiana University pianist has co-authored a “bio-bibliography” on composer Elie Siegmeister, considered a central figure in the growth of American music.
Kenneth Boulton, associate professor of piano, collaborated on the book – described as a compendium of every salient aspect of composer’s life and work – with the conductor and composer Leonard Lehrman, a former Siegmeister student.
“Elie Siegmeister was prodigiously prolific, composing a number of highly regarded compositions in a wide range of musical categories,” said Boulton, who worked on the project with Lehrman over a period of three years. “He was a central figure in the growth of a new, strongly American compositional style and one of its most fervent advocates.”
Boulton’s doctoral dissertation focused on Siegmeister’s music and contained both recorded and written components. Over a two-year period, he recorded Siegmeister’s 10 major works for solo piano and produced a 125-page written analysis of the music.
He said Siegmeister was especially skilled at developing musical settings for American poets, which Boulton described as “absolutely remarkable in their visceral expression. He had a genius for projecting and deeply enhancing the meaning of the text.”
Siegmeister’s work encompassed hundreds of pieces that included nine operas, eight symphonies and compositions of jazz, blues and folk melodies. He also composed for Hollywood and Broadway, most notably the score for the 1959 film “They Came to Cordura” starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth and the musical production “Sing Out, Sweet Land.”