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Arthur Victor Berger

Arthur Victor Berger

I7447   Male 1912 - 2003  (91 years)      Has no ancestors and no descendants in this family tree.

 Set As Default Person    

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  • Born 15 May 1912 
    Gender Male 
    1940 United States Federal Census 1940  301 Columbian Road, Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence 1992  9 Sparks Street, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died 7 Oct 2003  Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital,300 1st Avenue, Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4, 5
    • Arthur Berger, Composer and Music Critic, Is Dead at 91
      By ALLAN KOZINNOCT. 10, 2003

      Arthur Berger, an American composer whose rugged, economically scored music straddles Neo-Classicism and Serialism, and who established a sideline career as a thoughtful writer and critic, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Boston. He was 91 and lived in Cambridge, Mass.

      Mr. Berger was part of the wave of Paris-trained composers whose work helped establish a contemporary American style in the 1940's -- one that, in the spirit of American culture, morphed to accommodate new interests and techniques.

      Like Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, with whom he was associated, Mr. Berger was fascinated in his early years by Stravinsky's music, and he adopted aspects of Stravinsky's rhythmically pointed style, as well as the textural clarity that was central to Stravinsky's Neo-Classicism.

      Mr. Berger's work maintained a gritty urbanity that gave the impression of greater abstraction, and held popularity at arm's length, unlike Copland and Thomson. He magnified that distance in the late 1950's by incorporating 12-tone techniques into his music, which retained its Neo-Classical contours.

      Popularity was never an issue for Mr. Berger. ''If Serialism's detractors mean that it has not become big-time box office,'' he wrote in a 1987 article in The Boston Review, ''they should be reminded that there are other audiences, not at all negligible, besides the big ones.''

      Arthur Berger was born in New York on May 15, 1912. He began playing the piano when he was 11, and wrote his first compositions while in high school. Although he enrolled at City College in 1928, he did not begin his formal studies in composition until he transferred to New York University, where he completed a bachelor's degree in 1934.

      He also became friendly with Copland, and joined Copland's informal Young Composer's Group.

      With the composer Bernard Herrmann -- who had not yet made his name as a film-score composer -- Mr. Berger published the Musical Mercury, a magazine devoted to contemporary and traditional music. He edited the magazine for three years, while also studying composition with Walter Piston, Hugo Leichtentritt and Archibald Thompson Davison at Harvard, where he earned his master's degree in 1936.

      In 1937 he moved to Paris for two years of study with Nadia Boulanger, the French theory and composition teacher who had been a crucial influence on Copland. Upon his return from Paris in 1939, Mr. Berger joined the faculty of Mills College in Oakland, Calif., where he also continued his composition studies with Darius Milhaud. He later taught at Brooklyn College, the Juilliard School, Brandeis University and the New England Conservatory, retiring from teaching in 1999.

      Mr. Berger also contributed reviews to The Boston Transcript and The New York Sun in the mid-1940's, and joined Thomson as a critic at The New York Herald Tribune. In 1962 he helped found Perspectives on New Music, a scholarly publication, which he edited briefly.

      His autobiography, ''Reflections of an American Composer,'' was published by the University of California Press in 2002.

      Mr. Berger's musical output includes works for orchestra, solo voice and choir, but his most durable and varied compositions are for chamber ensembles and piano. His first major work, the Quartet for Winds (1941) -- a lively Neo-Classical piece dedicated to Copland -- is still performed regularly. A series of duos -- for violin and piano (1948), cello and piano (1951) and oboe and clarinet (1952) -- continue to sound vital and fresh, and there is much power and beauty in his piano music.

      He is survived by his wife, Ellen.
    Obituary Aft 7 Oct 2003 
    Age 91 years 
    Buried Aft 7 Oct 2003  [6
    Arthur Berger ( - 2003) Find A Grave Memorial
    Arthur Berger ( - 2003) Find A Grave Memorial
    Person ID I7447  MyMispoche
    Last Modified 21 Dec 2016 

    Spouse / Partner 1 Ancestors Esther Turitz
              b. Abt 1912, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
              d. 24 Oct 1960, Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 48 years) 
    Last Modified 5 Oct 2014 
    Family ID F2772  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Spouse / Partner 2 Ellen Philipsborn 
    Last Modified 5 Oct 2014 
    Family ID F2780  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Arthur Berger
    Arthur Berger
  • Event Map Click to hide
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    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S115] U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1.
      Name: Arthur V Berger
      Birth Date: 15 May 1912
      Address: 9 Sparks St, Cambridge, MA, 02138-4711 (1992)

    2. [S579] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014.
      Name: Arthur V. Berger
      SSN: 113-20-1516
      Last Residence:
      02138 Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
      BORN: 15 May 1912
      Died: 7 Oct 2003
      State (Year) SSN issued: New York (Before 1951)

    3. [S589] Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003, (Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health Service, Boston, Massachusetts, 2005).
      Name: Arthur Berger
      Death Place: Boston
      Death Date: 7 Oct 2003
      Birth Date: 15 May 1912
      Spouse: Ellen Philipsborn

    4. [S849] U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.
      Name: Arthur Victor Berger
      [Arthur V Berger]
      SSN: 113201516
      Gender: Male
      Race: White
      Birth Date: 15 May 1912
      Birth Place: New York Bro, New York
      Death Date: 7 Oct 2003
      Father: Louis C Berger
      Mother: Ethel Gerstenzang
      Type of Claim: Original SSN.
      Notes: Sep 1943: Name listed as ARTHUR VICTOR BERGER; 22 Oct 2003: Name listed as ARTHUR V BERGER

    5. [S529] Obituary Daily Times Index, 1995-Current.
      Name: Arthur Berger
      Age at Death: 91
      Birth Date: Abt 1912
      Birth Place: New York City NY
      Death Date: abt 2003
      Death Place: Boston MA
      Publication or Record Date: 9 Oct 2003
      Publication or Record Place: United States

    6. [S806] Find a Grave, (
      Birth: unknown
      Death: Oct. 7, 2003
      Noted Composer, Author. His orchestral work "Ideas of Order" was premiered by the New York Philharmonic in 1952. His primary interest was in chamber music. Author of "Reflections of an American Composer." (bio by: Laurie)
      Specifically: currently seeking additional burial information
      Created by: Laurie
      Record added: Oct 09, 2003
      Find A Grave Memorial# 7965928