Haussermann, John (1909-1986) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Haussermann, John (1909-1986)
Fuller Form: John William Haussermann, Jr.

Historical Note: (<span class="LIFE"><abbr class="BORN std" title="BORN">b</abbr> <span class="BP">Manila, Philippines</span>, <span class="BD">21 Aug 1909</span>; <abbr class="DIED std" title="DIED">d</abbr> <span class="DP">Denver, CO</span>, <span class="DD">5 May 1986</span></span>). <span class="NAT">American</span> <span class="OCC">composer</span>. His father was the attorney general of the first American civil government in the Philippines and wrote the city charter for Manila before moving with his family to New Richmond, Ohio, in 1915. Afflicted with cerebral palsy from childhood, <span class="hit highlight">Haussermann</span> studied music at the Cincinnati Conservatory (1924?7) and at Colorado College, before going to Paris in 1930 to study organ with Dupré. While in Paris he became friends with Ravel and began serious study of composition with Le Flem. In 1934 <span class="hit highlight">Haussermann</span> moved to Cincinnati, where he founded a contemporary concert series. That year, Goossens led the Cincinnati SO in the first performance of the Nocturne; he subsequently performed many of <span class="hit highlight">Haussermann</span>?s orchestral works, including his best-known composition, the Voice Concerto (1942). After moving to Briarcliff, New York, <span class="hit highlight">Haussermann</span> had an organ built jointly by Aeolian-Skinner and Holtkamp, and loaned it to the 1939 New York World?s Fair, for which he established an organ committee that sponsored recitals and compositions. He occasionally made public appearances as an organist, performing his own compositions and improvisations. In 1940 he was a founder of the American Colorlight Music Society, which promoted the theories of Skryabin and Lászlo. He dictated his compositions painstakingly by playing a single note at a piano which an assistant confirmed at a second instrument. <span class="hit highlight">Haussermann</span>?s works have a Chopinesque fluency and are rhythmically propulsive (though regular) and metrically fluid, with a French sensibility in their whole-tone harmonies. They are deft reminiscences of music of a bygone era, whose freshness and fluency belie the difficulty of their inception.
Sources: Grove Online
Note Author: Noah Lenstra

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