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Roger Nixon

roger nixon, roger nixon fiesta del pacifico
Roger Alfred Nixon August 8, 1921 – October 13, 2009 was an American composer, musician, and professor of music He wrote over 60 compositions for orchestra, band, choir and opera Nixon received multiple awards and honors for his works, many of which contain a feel of the rhythms and dances of the early settlers of his native state of California


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Selected works
  • 3 Further reading
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Nixon was born and raised in California's Central Valley towns of Tulare and Modesto Nixon attended Modesto Junior College from 1938–1940 where he studied clarinet with Frank Mancini, formerly of John Philip Sousa's band He continued his studies at UC Berkeley, majoring in composition and receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1941 His studies were then interrupted by almost four years of active duty in the Navy during World War II, serving as the commanding officer of an LCMR in the Atlantic

Following the war Nixon returned to UC Berkeley, first receiving a MA degree and later a PhD His primary teacher was Roger Sessions He also studied with Arthur Bliss, Ernest Bloch, Charles Cushing, and Frederick Jacobi In the summer of 1948, he studied privately with Arnold Schoenberg

From 1951 to 1959, Nixon was on the music faculty at Modesto Junior College He was then appointed to the faculty at San Francisco State College, now San Francisco State University, in 1960 and began a long association with the Symphonic Band, which premiered many of his works Most of Nixon's works are for band, but he has also composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo piano, choral ensembles, as well as song cycles and an opera His most popular and most-performed work is Fiesta del Pacifico, a piece for concert band

Nixon received several awards including a Phelan Award, the Neil A Kjos Memorial Award, and five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts He was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1973, the same year he won the association's Ostwald Award for his composition Festival Fanfare March In 1997, Nixon was honored by the Texas Bandmasters Association as a Heritage American Composer At his death, he was Professor Emeritus of Music at San Francisco State University

His students at San Francisco State University include Kent Nagano

Nixon died on October 13, 2009, from complications from leukemia at Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, California

Selected works

  • The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Opera in 4 scenes 1967; libretto by Ray Benedict West, Jr adapted from the short story by Stephen Crane
  • Air for Strings for string orchestra 1948
  • Mooney's Grove Suite 1964, revised 1967
  • Three Dances 1962
  • Overture
  • Concerto for violin and orchestra 1950s
  • Reflections for flute and band 1965
  • Elegiac Rhapsody for viola and orchestra; initially composed as a separate work, used as movement II of the Viola Concerto
  • Concerto for viola and orchestra 1969
  • Two Elegies for solo cello and cello ensemble 1978, 1984
Concert band
  • Music of Appreciation 1944, premiered 1992, published 1994
  • Elegy and Fanfare-March 1958, revised 1967
  • Fiesta del Pacifico 1960
  • Prelude and Fugue 1961
  • San Joaquin Sketches 1962, revised 1982
  • Nocturne 1965
  • Reflections 1965
  • Centennial Fanfare-March 1970; composed for the centennial of the founding of Modesto, California
  • A Solemn Processional published 1971
  • Festival Fanfare-March 1971; received the 1973 Ostwald Award of the American Bandmasters Association
  • Psalm 1972, revised 1979
  • Music for a Civic Celebration 1975
  • Pacific Celebration Suite 1976
  • Chamarita! 1981
  • Academic Tribute 1982, published 1987
  • California Jubilee 1984
  • Arises the New Flower 1985
  • Flower of Youth 1988, published 1992
  • A Centennial Overture 1995
  • A Lyric Remembrance 1997
  • Las Vegas Holiday 2001
  • Monterey Holidays 2001
  • Mondavi Fanfare
  • Ceremonial Fanfare No 1 for brass 1976
  • Ceremonial Piece for brass 1976, published 1980; composed for Bicentennial of America
  • Concert Prelude for brass 1982–1988
Chamber music
  • String Quartet 1949
  • Nocturne for flute and piano 1960
  • Four Duos for flute or oboe or violin and clarinet or viola 1966
  • Movement for clarinet and piano 1975
  • Variations for bass clarinet 1978
  • Conversations for violin and clarinet 1981
  • Variations for bassoon 1982, published 1983
  • Duo Dialog for flute and alto flute published 1982
  • Two Duos for piccolo and E♭ clarinet or flute published 1982
  • Three Duos for flute and clarinet 1983
  • Music for Clarinet and Piano, 5 Movements 1986
  • Variations for clarinet and cello 1991
  • Five Piano Preludes 1946
  • Twelve Preludes 1984
  • Music for Piano 1994
  • Twenty-Four Preludes 1946–2000
  • Chinese Seasons, Song Cycle for soprano and piano 1942; words from The Hundred Names
  • Six Moods of Love, Song Cycle for soprano and piano 1940s
  1. I Am Dark and Fair to See; anonymous words
  2. I Am in Love with High, Farseeing Places; words by Arthur Davison Ficke
  3. Grief, Find the Words; words by Philip Sidney
  4. It Was a Quiet Way; words by Emily Dickinson
  5. Psalm to My Beloved; words by Eunice Tietjens
  6. A Decade; words by Amy Lowell
  • Gliding o'er All for voice and piano 1972; words by Walt Whitman
  • A Narrative of Tides, Song Cycle for mezzo-soprano, flute and piano 1984; words from A Ring of Willows by Eric Barker
  • Three Transcendental Songs on Poems by Walt Whitman for mezzo-soprano and piano 1979
  • Firwood for mixed chorus a cappella 1960; words by John Clare
  • Now Living Things for mixed chorus a cappella 1961; words by Leonard Nathan
  • The Wind for mixed chorus a cappella published 1962; words from A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Swallows for mixed chorus a cappella 1963; words by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • By-By-Baby, Lullay! for mixed chorus a cappella 1965; anonymous words from the 15th century
  • Ditty for treble voices SA with piano 1966; words from Songs of Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Love's Secret for male chorus a cappella 1967; words by William Blake
  • To the Evening Star for mixed chorus a cappella 1967; words by William Blake
  • Christmas Perspectives for mixed voices a cappella 1980
  • Festival Mass for mixed chorus and organ 1980
  • Chaunticleer, Motet for male chorus a cappella 1984; words by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • From the Canterbury Tales for mixed voices a cappella 1986; words by Geoffrey Chaucer in translation by Anne Worthington Prescott
  • Chaucerian Visions for mixed voices and piano 1987; words by Geoffrey Chaucer in translation by Anne Worthington Prescott
  • Wonders of Christmas for soloists and mixed chorus a cappella 1993
  1. How Great a Mystery; traditional words
  2. So Gracious Is the Time; words by William Shakespeare
  3. Green Grow'th the Holly ; anonymous words from the 16th century
  4. The Star of Christmas Morning; traditional words
  5. Nativity Morn; words by John Milton
  6. The Stable; anonymous words
  • Our Joyful Feast for mixed chorus a cappella published 2002; words by George Wither
  • The Christmas Tree for mixed chorus a cappella
  • Long, Long Ago for mixed chorus a cappella

Further reading

  • Anthony Mazzaferro, "Roger A Nixon and His Works for Band", Journal of Band Research Fall 1988


  1. ^ Salzman, Timothy ed 2006 "Roger Nixon, by William Berz" A Composer's Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band Meredith Music Publications pp 134–5 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
  2. ^ Joshua Kosman, "SFSU Composer Roger Nixon Dies", San Francisco Chronicle October 17, 2009

Telephone interview of February 20, 1989 by Nicholas Pasquariello

External links

  • American Bandmaster
  • "Winner 1973: Roger Nixon, Festival Fanfare March" Ostwald Award Archives Special Collections in the Performing Arts Archived from the original on 7 February 2012 Retrieved 5 September 2013 
  • Windband
  • Online Archive of California

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