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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » C » Crawford (Seeger), Ruth

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Crawford (Seeger)

Ruth Crawford (Seeger) (7/03/1901 - 11/18/1953)

A remarkable pioneering figure of the American modernist movement, Ruth Crawford was born in East Liverpool, Ohio in 1901. The daughter and granddaughter of ministers, the young Ruth lived in various locations before settling in Jacksonville, Florida, where she received a serious musical education and started to teach piano. In 1921 she came to the rich cultural climate of Chicago to pursue compositional studies at the American Conservatory. Her composition teacher, the German-born composer and violinist Adolf Weidig, encouraged her non-traditional explorations. Another extremely influential mentor was her piano teacher, the charismatic Djane Lavoie Herz, a woman of wide knowledge and interests, who had been a student of Artur Schnabel and Alexander Scriabin. The Herzes held regular soirées, attended by prominent intellectuals and musicians, including Henry Cowell and Dane Rudhyar, who were to take a special interest in Crawford. The Herzes also introduced her to Theosophy and non-Western thought. Another Chicago friend, Alfred Frankenstein, later a prominent critic, introduced her to recent European music, and was responsible for her meeting the celebrated poet Carl Sandburg, who became a close friend and inspired her own passion for writing poetry. She was to set many of Sandburg’s poems in her compositions.




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