US composer, a traditionalist who changed direction and then rather changed back again. Brought up in a musical family, he played the piano, violin and cello as a boy. His family moved to New York in 1900, and he studied at the Institute of Musical Art, becoming one of the first graduates, in 1907. He spent much of the next decade in Germany, studying with Bruch and starting out as a conductor; during this period he also got married. After a while teaching in Iowa — where he had made a fresh start as a composer with his Piano Trio Op.1 while still writing tonally — he returned to New York in 1922 and became acquainted with Ives, Varèse, Cowell and Ruggles. The result was a period of creative silence, 1923–6, followed by such works as Study in Sonority and Dichotomy, exploiting dissonant counterpoint and driving rhythms. He also worked frequently in the 1930s with modern dance companies, including Martha Graham's. Later works, in large, abstract instrumental forms, tend to be more conventional in style.
Orchestral: Study in Sonority, Op.7, 10 vn, 1926–7; Fantasy and Fugue, Op.10, 1930–31; Dichotomy, Op.12, chbr orch, 1931–2; Symphony No.3, Op.42, 1946–7; Music for Brass Choir, Op.45, 1948–9; Symphony No.4, Op.63, 1956; etc.
Chamber: Piano Trio, B minor, Op.1, 1919–20; Suite, Op.8, fl, 1929; 3 Canons, Op.9, wind qt, 1931; Bacchanale (dance for Martha Graham), Op.11, septet, 1930; Divertissement, Op.15, fl, vc, hp, 1933; Music for Voice and Flute, Op.23, 1936–7; String Quartet No.1, Op.30, 1938–9; No.2, Op.43, 1948; Wind Quintet, Op.51, 1952; Concerto, Op.53, pf, wind qnt, 1953; etc.
Piano: Blue Voyage, Op.6, pf, 1927; 4 Tone Pictures, Op.14, pf, 1932; New and Old (12 pieces), pf, 1941; etc.
Related Credo Articles
Full text Article Riegger, Wallingford (Constantin) (29 Apr. 1885, Albany, Ga. - 2 Apr. 1961, New York)
His first formal training in music was undertaken at the Institute of Musical Art in New York in 1900, where he studied...