Hugo Weisgall

Hugo David Weisgall (October 13, 1912 – March 11, 1997) was an American composer and conductor,[1] known chiefly for his opera and vocal music compositions. He was born in Ivančice, Moravia (then part of Austria-Hungary, later in his childhood Czechoslovakia) and moved to the United States at the age of eight.

Hugo Weisgall

Weisgall studied at the Peabody Institute, privately with Roger Sessions, and at the Curtis Institute of Music with conductor Fritz Reiner and composer Rosario Scalero. He later earned a Ph.D. in German literature at Johns Hopkins University. During World War II he was an aide-de-camp to General George S. Patton. After the war he became a professor, and taught at Queens College, the Juilliard School, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, all in New York City. His notable students include composers Dominick Argento, Bruce Saylor and the accordionist/composer William Schimmel.

Weisgall came from a family of several generations of cantors, and maintained a lifelong interest in both sacred and secular Jewish music. In 1992 he was commissioned by the Friends of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary to write a song cycle, Psalm of the Distant Dove, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Other major works include his most ambitious opera, Athaliah (libretto: Richard Frank Goldman, after Jean Racine), and his often-performed Six Characters in Search of an Author (libretto: Denis Johnston, after Luigi Pirandello).

Hugo Weisgall died at the age of 84 on Long Island, New York.

Major worksEdit


Vocal music

  • A Garden Eastward Cantata for soprano and orchestra
  • A Song of Celebration for tenor, soprano, chorus and orchestra
  • Evening Prayer for Peace (Ki el shomrenu) for chorus a cappella
  • Fancies and Inventions for baritone and 5 instruments
  • Fortress, Rock of Our Salvation (Moos tzur) for chorus a cappella
  • Lyrical Interval song-cycle for low voice and piano
  • Psalm of the Distant Dove Canticle for mezzo-soprano and piano
  • So Spake Rabbi Akiba (Omar Rabbi Akiba) for chorus a cappella
  • "Liebeslieder" for Soprano and Piano


  1. ^ "DRAM: Hugo Weisgall: Two Operas and Two Song Cycles". Retrieved November 13, 2018.

External linksEdit