17 May 1923
Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania, United States
17 June 1983 (aged 60)
Peter Mennin (born Mennini) (May 17, 1923, Erie, Pennsylvania – June 17, 1983, New York City) was an American composer and teacher. He directed the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, then for many years ran the Juilliard School, succeeding William Schuman in this role. He began composing at an early age, and wrote nine symphonies, several concertos, and numerous works for wind band, chorus, and other ensembles. His style became more chromatic and astringent with time, but was always essentially tonal, relying heavily on polyphony.
Mennin's fifth symphony of 1950, which is tonal, energetic and suspenseful, was recorded by Howard Hanson and the Eastman Rochester Orchestra in the Mercury series of American classical works – the original LP also included the "New England Triptych" of William Schuman – and for years was the only widely-available recording of Mennin's work, though its reissue on CD prompted several other recordings of Mennin compositions.
Juilliard awards a Peter Mennin prize, for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music.
His notable students include Jacob Druckman, Richard Danielpour, Karl Korte, Charles L. Bestor, and Claire Polin.
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