Born in Eibenschutz, Moravia (now Ivancice, Bohemia), Hugo Weisgall immigrated to the United States with his family when he was eight. He came from a strong tradition of liturgical music--his father was a composer of synagogue music as well as a professional opera singer and cantor. Therefore, from boyhood, Weisgall was familiar with both standard Western vocal traditions as well as Jewish musical traditions.
Weisgall became an naturalized American citizen in 1926. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory from 1927 to 1932 and began at that time to organize amateur orchestras and choirs. He also studied at the Curtis Institute and eventually earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, having written his dissertation "on primitivism in 17th-century German poetry."
A diplomatic individual with a great knowledge of languages, Weisgall was an ambassador for America and American music in Europe during World War II and in the years after the war. In 1947, he returned to the United States permanently, served on the faculties of several prestigious music schools on the East Coast and earning many awards.
As a composer of art song, Weisgall has set the poetry of American poets such as Adelaide Crapsey, e. e. cummings, Amy Lowell, and Herman Melville.
--Christie Finn Source: Bruce Saylor's article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians