23 January, 2009
Roger Huntington Sessions was an American composer, critic and teacher of music.
Born in Brooklyn, New York to a family that could trace its roots back to the American revolution, Sessions studied music at Harvard University from the age of 14. There, he wrote for and subsequently edited the Harvard Musical Review. Graduating at age 18, he went on to study at Yale University under Horatio Parker and Ernest Bloch before teaching at Smith College. His first major compositions were made while travelling Europe in his mid twenties and early thirties with his wife.
Returning to the United States in 1933, he taught first at Princeton University, moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught from 1946 to 1954, and then returned to Princeton until retiring in 1965, although he continued to teach on a part-time basis at the Juilliard School until 1983. His notable students include Milton Babbitt, Kenneth Frazelle, Larry Thomas Bell, Earl Kim, Peter Maxwell Davies, David Del Tredici, John Adams, Carlton Gamer, Miriam Gideon, John Harbison, Robert Helps, Will Ogdon, Walter Hekster, Andrew Imbrie, David Lewin, Claire Polin, Einojuhani Rautavaara, William Schimmel, George Tsontakis, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, John Veale, Roger Nixon, Alan Fletcher, Peter Westergaard, Rolv Yttrehus, and Henry Weinberg.
He died at the age of 88 on 16 March 1985, in Princeton, New Jersey.