Historical Society program to highlight Great Neck composers

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Historical Society program to highlight Great Neck composers
Renowned composers and former Great Neck residents Morton Gould and Elie Siegmeister, pictured above, will be the focus of lecturer Mischa Schwartz at a program presented by the Great Neck Historical Society. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Historical Society)

Two of Great Neck’s most distinguished composers will be the subject of the next presentation by the Great Neck Historical Society on Thursday, Dec. 14.

Morton Gould and Elie Siegmeister, who both lived in Great Neck, will be the focus of lecturer Mischa Schwartz. The program, free and open to the community will be at Great Neck House at 7:30 p.m.

Both composed a large number of pieces in all different forms, from sonatas for two instruments to quartets, concertos and symphonies, many performed by the leading orchestras of the day. Both composers, on moving to Great Neck, became involved in the community, lecturing at the library and composing for the Great Neck Symphony as well as the Great Neck Choral Society.

Morton Gould, an American composer and conductor, once lived in Great Neck. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Historical Society)

Gould became famous at a young age for his weekly radio broadcasts, composing new pieces for each program, yet continuing to compose longer classical pieces in his spare time. Later in life he became CEO of ASCAP, while continuing his first love, composition. Shortly before his death, Gould received the Pulitzer Prize in music for his composition, “Stringmusic,” as well as for his contributions to music in general.

Siegmeister graduated from Columbia College, spent a number of years in Europe, then returned to study at Juilliard. He taught both composition and music appreciation courses at Hofstra University. His books on music, for the general public, were best sellers. Early on, he formed and led the American Ballad Singers, a group of six professional singers.

Speaker Schwartz, who has given countless seminars of all types over the years, is the Charles Bachelor Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, and has been affiliated with the school since 1973. He is also a former member of the Great Neck Library Board.

The next Historical Society program, on Jan. 18 at Great Neck House, will have speakers from both the Persian and Chinese communities discussing their migration to Great Neck.

Further information about the programs is available by visiting the Historical Society website, www.GreatNeckHistorical.org or calling (516) 288-6124.

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