Born: July 5, 1918 - Paterson, New Jersey, USA
Died: May 29, 2005, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA
The American composer, George Rochberg, attended the Mannes College of Music, where one of his teachers was George Szell.
George Rochberg abandoned serialism after 1963 when his son died, saying that serialism was empty of expressive emotion and was inadequate to express his grief and rage. By the seventies he was causing controversy with often obviously tonal music. He compared atonality to abstract art and tonality to concrete art and compared his artistic evolution with Philip Guston's, saying "the tension between concreteness and abstraction" is a fundamental issue for both of them (Rochberg, 1992).
George Rochberg is perhaps best known for his "String Quartet No. 6" (recorded by the Concord String Quartet), which includes a movement of variations on the Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D. A few of his works were musical collages of quotations from other composers. Contra Mortem et Tempus, for example, contains passages from Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Edgard Varese and Charles Ives.
George Rochberg was the chairman of the music department at the University of Pennsylvania until 1968, and continued to teach there until 1983.
His later works tend to be neo-romantic (and even neo-Mahlerian) in style.