Bacon, Ernst, 1898-

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Biography

Ernst Bacon was born in 1898 in Chicago, but moved to the San Francisco area in the 1920s and soon occupied a prominent role in the musical life of Northern California. Under his directorship, the San Francisco Federal Music Project achieved widespread popular acclaim, as the papers in the collection attest. Many Bay Area citizens and reporters supported Bacon in his conflict with the State and National Directors of the Federal Music Project. Bacon left San Francisco in 1938, the year following his dismissal, and proceeded to teach, compose, and direct in the East, receiving much critical acclaim. He returned to San Francisco in the 1960s and lived in the Bay Area for the remainder of his life.

From the guide to the Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biography

This collection represents a compilation of correspondence received by Ernst Bacon, and a few carbons of letters by him, between 1910 and 1989. During this time Bacon was an active participant in the musical community of the U.S., while maintaining friendships and collaborations with a variety of artists and musicians, both domestically and in Europe. Bacon and his wife were also active in the late 1920s and early 1930s in assisting artists and musicians to escape the growing Nazi movement. Bacon worked as a conductor and composer, as well as a professor of music. He directed the San Francisco Federal Music Project from 1935-1937. The majority of the correspondence, however, postdates this period and is generally of a more personal than professional nature. Some of the letters involve either soliciting recommendations or forwarding copies of recommendations for various honors among Bacon and his colleagues. Bacon's own accomplishment of achieving a Guggenheim Fellowship is recorded in a letter from the Guggenheim Foundation included in the collection.

From the guide to the Bacon, Ernst. Papers, 1926-1990, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biography

Bacon, Ernst (b. Chicago, IL, 26 May 1898; d. Orinda, CA, 16 Mar 1990). Composer and pianist. He studied at Northwestern University (1915-18), the University of Chicago (1919-20), and the University of California (M.A. 1935) [where his master's thesis was the choral cantata The Song of the Preacher (1935)]. Among his teachers were Alexander Raab and G. D. Dunn (piano), Weigl and Bloch (composition), and Goosens (conducting), under whom he was assistant conductor of the Rochester Opera Company. He taught at the Eastman School (1925-28) and the San Francisco Conservatory (1928-30); in 1935 he instituted and conducted the Carmel Beach Festival in California, and the next year he was supervisor of the WPA Federal Music Project in San Francisco and conductor of its orchestra. Subsequent teaching appointments took him to Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, as dean and professor of piano (1938-45), and to Syracuse University, as director of the school of music and professor (1945-63, professor emeritus from 1964). Among his honors are a Pulitzer Award (1932, for the Symphony in D minor) and two Guggenheim Fellowships.

As a composer Bacon is best known for his songs, which show unusual sensitivity to the color and inflection of words and a masterly use of syncopation to give the impression of natural speech. He preferred short poems with a "certain philosophical undercurrent together with a relatively simple and not-too-involved lyricism" and has been most successful with his settings of texts by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. He has also made many arrangements of American folk music. Our Musical Idiom (1917), his early study of new harmonies, pointed the direction he was to follow, one close to tradition. Yet his style is individual, finding its own basis in nondiatonic scales, American subjects, and a masterly counterpoint. 22 of his Dickinson songs have been recorded by Helen Boatwright with the composer at the piano. In addition to composing, Bacon performed as a pianist in Europe and the USA, and he had also shown talent as a painter. His published writings include Words on Music (1960) and Notes on the Piano (1963).

- - The New Grove Dictionary of American Music

From the guide to the Ernst Bacon Papers, 1926-1987, (The Music Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn The Karl Weigl Papers, 1894-1986 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library
referencedIn Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978. Houghton Library
referencedIn The Moldenhauer Archives at Harvard University: Manuscript music compositions, 1880-1985. Houghton Library
creatorOf Bacon, Ernst. Papers, 1926-1990 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Ernst Bacon Papers, 1933-1986 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Olsen, Tillie. Papers, 1930-1990 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Leonard Altman Papers, 1930-1995 Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn William Ernest Hocking papers Houghton Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library
creatorOf Ernst Bacon Papers, 1926-1987 The Music Library
referencedIn The Virgil Thomson Papers, 1804-1990 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Altman, Leonard, 1920-1996 person
associatedWith Ameling, Amy. person
associatedWith Barnes, Matt. person
associatedWith Bauer, Harold, 1873-1951 person
associatedWith Berckman, Evelyn. person
associatedWith Bier, Allan. person
associatedWith Bietry-Salinger, Jehanne. person
associatedWith Bloch, Ernest, 1885-1977 person
associatedWith Boulton, Laura. person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902- person
associatedWith Bufano, Beniamino, 1898-1970 person
correspondedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Clement, Ada. person
associatedWith Corcoran, Thomas. person
associatedWith Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965 person
associatedWith Cowell, Sidney. person
associatedWith Cowell, Sidney Robertson. person
associatedWith Curtain, Phyllis. person
associatedWith Davis, George H. person
associatedWith Dixon, Maynard, 1875-1946 person
associatedWith Donat, Peter, 1928- person
associatedWith Downes, Edward, 1911- person
associatedWith Eloesser, Leo. person
associatedWith Elson, Elizabeth. person
associatedWith Erskine, John, 1879-1951 person
associatedWith Erskine, Morse. person
associatedWith Faurâe, Gabriel, 1845-1924 person
associatedWith Ferrier, Andre. person
associatedWith Fisher, Marjorie M. person
associatedWith Foldes, Andor, 1913- person
associatedWith Foote, Ralph M. person
associatedWith Frankenstein, Alfred. person
associatedWith Galkovitch, M. G. person
associatedWith Gautier, Eva. person
associatedWith Glenn, Carroll. person
associatedWith Goldman, Maurice. person
associatedWith Goosens, Boonie. person
associatedWith Goosens, Eugene, Sir, 1893-1962 person
associatedWith Gould, Morton, 1913- person
associatedWith Gunn, Glenn Dillard. person
associatedWith Hall, Jessie B. person
associatedWith Hanson, Howard, 1896- person
associatedWith Harrison, Guy Fraser, 1894-1986 person
associatedWith Harrison, Lou, 1917- person
associatedWith Hayden, J. Emmet. person
associatedWith Hewes, Harry L. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Hopkins, Harry person
associatedWith Horgan, Paul. person
associatedWith Horgan, Paul, 1903- person
associatedWith Houston, George F. person
associatedWith Howell, Ruth. person
associatedWith Huntington, Hartford, 1911- person
associatedWith Hurd, Henrietta. person
associatedWith Hurd, Peter. person
associatedWith Ives, Charles, 1874-1954 person
associatedWith Jalowetz, Heinrich. person
associatedWith Jervis, Harle. person
associatedWith Johnson, Mark E. person
associatedWith Jones, Isabel Morse. person
associatedWith Kasloff, Mischa. person
associatedWith Kindler, Hans, 1892-1949 person
associatedWith Knight, Lucian W. person
correspondedWith Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978 person
associatedWith Krasner, Louis, 1903- person
associatedWith Kurenko, Maria. person
associatedWith Lee, Russel. person
associatedWith Lehmann, Lotte, 1888-1976 person
associatedWith Lengyel, Cornel. person
associatedWith Lewis, Janet, 1899- person
associatedWith Liebling, George. person
associatedWith Lockwood, Normand, 1906- person
associatedWith Loesser, Arthur, 1894-1969 person
associatedWith Lomax, Alan, 1915- person
associatedWith Lorenz, Adolf, 1854-1946 person
associatedWith Lubin, Ernest. person
associatedWith Luening, Ethel. person
associatedWith Luening, Otto, 1900- person
associatedWith MacDowell, Edward, Mrs. person
associatedWith MacDowell, Edward, Mrs. person
associatedWith Martino, Donald, 1931- person
associatedWith Mason, Daniel Gregory. person
associatedWith Mathias, Phil. person
associatedWith McAdoo, William Gibbs. person
associatedWith Moe, Henry Allen. person
associatedWith Moldenhauer, Hans person
associatedWith Morris, Lawrence. person
associatedWith Mullett, George. person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895- person
associatedWith Newhall, Nancy Wynne. person
associatedWith Nies-Berger, Edouard. person
associatedWith Nordoff, Paul, 1909- person
associatedWith Nowak, Lionel, 1911- person
associatedWith Olsen, Tillie. person
associatedWith Pattison, Lee. person
associatedWith Pazmor, Radiana. person
associatedWith Pettis, Ashley. person
associatedWith Piazzini, Gottardo. person
associatedWith Pilling, Roy. person
associatedWith Pinza, Ezio. person
associatedWith Pleasants, Henry. person
associatedWith Potter, M. L. person
associatedWith Rodgers, Bernard. person
associatedWith Roosevelt, Franklin D., Mrs. person
associatedWith Ross, Hugh, 1898- person
associatedWith Rowell, Margaret Avery, 1900- person
associatedWith Saben, Mowry. person
associatedWith Saminsky, Lazare, 1882-1959 person
associatedWith San Francisco Federal Music Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Schumann, Elisabeth. person
associatedWith Search, Frederick Preston. person
associatedWith Sebastian, John, 1944- person
associatedWith Sharp, Cecil, 1859-1924 person
associatedWith Shaw, Robert, 1916- person
associatedWith Silva, Giulio. person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton. person
associatedWith Skonhoft, Steen. person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894- person
associatedWith Sokoloff, Nikolai. person
associatedWith Sokoloff, Vladimir. person
associatedWith Sowerby, Leo, 1895-1968 person
associatedWith Stackpole, Ralph, 1885-1973 person
associatedWith St. John, Edmunds. person
associatedWith Stock, Frederick, 1872-1942 person
associatedWith Stoll, Raisch. person
associatedWith Sullivan, Noel. person
associatedWith Szell, George, 1897-1970 person
associatedWith Szigeti, Joseph, 1892-1973 person
associatedWith Thompson, Randall, 1899- person
associatedWith Thomson, Virgil, 1896- person
associatedWith Tinayre, Yves, 1891-1972 person
associatedWith Toch, Ernst, 1887-1964 person
associatedWith Ussher, Bruno David. person
associatedWith Wadsworth, Ralph G. person
associatedWith Warfield, William. person
associatedWith Weigl, Karl, 1881-1949 person
associatedWith Weston, Brett. person
associatedWith Whatmire, W. B. person
associatedWith Whedon, Harriet. person
associatedWith Williams, H. Glyn. person
associatedWith Wood, Charles Erskine Scott. person
associatedWith Wood, Charles Erskine Scott, 1852-1944 person
associatedWith Woodward, Ellen S. person
associatedWith Works Progress Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Wright, Cedric. person
associatedWith Zam, Maurice. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
American literature
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1898

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