Ernst Bacon

Ernst Bacon was an American composer, pianist, and conductor. A prolific composer, he wrote more than 250 songs, plus symphonies, piano concertos, chamber music, and ballets.

Photo: Ernst Bacon, Ernst Bacon Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

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Ernst Bacon

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    About

    Ernst Bacon, composer, pianist, and conductor, was born on May 26, 1898. He was the son of Maria von Rosthorn Bacon, a Viennese-trained musician, and Dr. Charles S. Bacon. He studied at Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, and also privately with Alexander Raab, Glenn Dillard Gunn, Ernest Bloch, and Karl Weigl. Among the numerous awards and grants he received are the Bispham Award, commissions from the Ditson Fund and the League of Composers, a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship in Music, three Guggenheim Fellowships, and grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters; the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    A multi-faceted musician, Bacon composed and conducted symphonies, operas, piano concertos, musical theater pieces, ensemble and solo instrumental pieces, and vocal works. In addition, he performed as a pianist in Europe and America, and he conducted the WPA orchestra in California from 1935 to 1937. He taught and was an administrator at the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester (1926-27), Syracuse University’s music department (1945-47), and Converse College in South Carolina (1938-45).

    He distinguished himself as a writer with such works as Notes on the Piano, The Honor of Music, and Words on Music. In Our Musical Idioms, Bacon presented a new theory of scale models derived from diatonic scales. He was also music critic for The Argonaut, the weekly publication of Converse College. Ernst Bacon was respected as a philosopher by a close circle of friends who were fortunate enough to see his unpublished writings, [e.g. Imaginary Dialogues and his many poems]. He was a highly opinionated man, a fact evident from his large volume of letters to the editors of several major and not so major serials.

    Ernst Bacon married four times and had six children. He died on March 16, 1990 in Orinda, California.

    –Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia

    Related Information

    Songs

    A Clear Midnight

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    A Spider

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    A Wind Like a Bugle

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Alabaster Wool (Snowfall)

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Ancient Christmas Carol

    Ernst Bacon

    Anonymous

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    As If the Sea Should Part

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Beat! Beat! Drums!

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Billy in the Darbies

    Ernst Bacon

    Herman Melville

    Clover

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Darest Thou Now, O Soul

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    Eden

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    Epitaph

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Janet Lewis

    William Shakespeare

    Fond Affection

    Ernst Bacon

    Anonymous

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    From Blank To Blank

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Gentle Greeting

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Brontë

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    Grand is the Seen

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    How Still the Bells

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    I'm Nobody

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Is There Such a Thing as Day?

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    It's Coming - the Postponeless Creature

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Joy, Shipmate, Joy!

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    Let Down the Bars

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Lingering Last Drops

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    My River Runs to Thee

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Nature, the Gentlest Mother

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    No Dew Upon the Grass

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    Of Love

    Ernst Bacon

    Robert Herrick

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    Omaha

    Ernst Bacon

    Carl Sandburg

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    On the Frontiers

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    On this Wondrous Sea

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    One Thought Ever at the Fore

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    Quiet Airs

    Song Collection

    Ernst Bacon

    Sara Teasdale

    Emily Brontë

    Walt Whitman

    Robert Herrick

    Emily Dickinson

    A. E. Housman

    William Blake

    She Went As Quiet As the Dew

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Songs at Parting

    Song Collection

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song of Snow-White Heads

    Ernst Bacon

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Banks of the Yellow Sea

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    The Commonplace

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    The Divine Ship

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Grass So Little Has To Do

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    The Heart

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Lamb

    Ernst Bacon

    William Blake

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Last Invocation

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    The Little Stone

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Morns are Meeker

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    The Simple Days

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    The Sun Went Down

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Three Songs from the American Folk

    Song Collection

    Ernst Bacon

    The Lord of Ev'rything

    Ernst Bacon

    Janet Lewis

    To Musique, To Becalme His Fever

    Ernst Bacon

    Robert Herrick

    Song Collection: Quiet Airs

    The Sobbing of the Bells

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    Twilight

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Songs at Parting

    O Friend!

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Savior

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Velvet People

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    World, Take Good Notice

    Ernst Bacon

    Walt Whitman

    Song Collection: Six Songs

    Wild Nights

    Ernst Bacon

    Emily Dickinson

    Videos

    Recordings

    Songs from Chicago

    (Ernst Bacon, Margaret Bonds, John Alden Carpenter, Louis Campbell-Tipton and Florence Price)

    2018


    View recording

    Between the Bliss and Me. . . Songs to Poems of Emily Dickinson

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Arthur Farwell, Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    2009

    Abraham Lincoln Portraits

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Charles Ives and George Frederick McKay)

    2008

    To The Soul - Poetry Of Walt Whitman

    (Ernst Bacon, Leonard Bernstein, Henry Burleigh, Gerald Busby, Philip Dalmas, Charles Ives, Charles Naginski, Ned Rorem, Robert Strassburg, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Weill, Elinor Remick Warren and Walt Whitman)

    1997

    Dwell in Possibility: Dickinson in Song

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Celius Dougherty, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen, Etta Parker, Simon Sargon, Leo Smit and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    2004

    The Poetess Sings

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Otto Luening and William Roy)

    2002

    Fond Affection

    (Ernst Bacon)

    2002

    I Hear America Singing

    (Ernst Bacon, Jean Berger, Paul Bowles, Henry Burleigh, Stephen Foster, Ernest Gold, Charles Griffes, Richard Hageman, Sergius Kagen, Charles Martin Loeffler, Edward MacDowell, Charles Naginski, John Jacob Niles, Hermann Reutter, Frédéric Louis Ritter, Ned Rorem, William Grant Still, Hugo Weisgall and Tennessee Williams)

    2001


    View recording

    American Masters - Songs of Charles Ives & Ernst Bacon

    (Ernst Bacon and Charles Ives)

    2001

    Carolyn Heafner Sings American Songs

    (Ernst Bacon, Hugo Weisgall, Lee Hoiby and Amy Marcy Beach)

    2000

    The Listeners

    (Ernst Bacon, Theodore Chanler, Lee Hoiby, John Jacob Niles and Ned Rorem)

    1977

    Songs by 20th Century American Composers (Vol. I & II)

    (Ernst Bacon, Samuel Barber, Paul Bowles, John Alden Carpenter, Theodore Chanler, Aaron Copland, Charles Griffes, Charles Ives, Otto Luening, Edward MacDowell, Virgil Thomson and Ned Rorem)

    1962

    Books

    Sheet Music

    Ernst Bacon Sheet Music

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Quiet Airs

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): 1. Twilight
    2. Gentle Greeting
    3. The Divine Ship
    4. Of Love
    5. Eden
    6. The Little Stone
    7. Fond Affection
    8. Stars
    9. The Heart
    10. Song of Snow-White Heads
    11. The Lamb
    12. To Musique, To Becalme His Fever

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Songs from Emily Dickinson

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): As If the Sea Should Part
    Let down the bars
    O friend
    The grass so little has to do
    A threadless way
    The postponeless Creature
    I'm Nobody
    My river runs to thee
    How still the bells
    The sun went down
    The grass so little has to do
    Savior
    She went as quiet as the dew
    Wild nights

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Songs from Emily Dickinson: Nature, time and space Vol.2

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): Velvet people
    A wind like a bugle
    The morns are meeker
    Clover
    Nature, the gentlest mother

    Voice Type: High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Six Songs

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): 1. The Banks of the Yellow Sea
    2. Ancient Christmas Carol
    3. Omaha
    4. No Dew Upon the Grass
    5. A Clear Midnight
    6. World, Take Good Notice

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Tributaries

    Composer(s): Ernst Bacon

    Song(s): World, take notice
    Lingering last drops
    The Spanish armada
    The banks of the Yellow Sea
    If bees are few
    Sunset
    Ariel
    With the first arbutus
    Sleep
    Miranda
    Summer's lapse
    The bat
    There's this to say
    No more
    Farewell to a name
    This and my heart
    Eden
    Alabaster wool
    Dusk
    Vanity of vanities
    Ancient carol
    The last invocation
    The divine ship
    The red rose
    Song of snow-white heads
    Simple days
    Water
    The postponeless creature
    Eternity
    The unquiet grave
    The unseen soul

    Voice Type: Medium-High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

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