Ben Weber (composer)

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Ben Weber
Born William Jennings Bryan Weber
(1916-07-23)July 23, 1916
St. Louis
Died June 16, 1979(1979-06-16) (aged 62)
New York City)
Occupation Composer

William Jennings Bryan "Ben" Weber (July 23, 1916 in St. Louis[1] – June 16, 1979 in New York City) was an American composer.

Weber He was "one of the first Americans to embrace the 12-tone techniques of Schoenberg, starting in 1938";[1] he was largely self-taught.[1] He worked initially as a copyist and only came to recognition in the 1950s.[citation needed]

Weber used the twelve-tone technique but, rather than avoid tonality, he worked with it and achieved a virtuoso Romantic style.[citation needed] He composed chamber music for various combinations of instruments, orchestral music including concertos for violin and piano, piano music, and songs.

Weber wrote his own unpublished memoirs, How I Took 63 Years to Commit Suicide" (as told to Matthew Paris)[2]


Weber was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowships in 1950.[3] He received a Thorne Music Award in 1965,[citation needed]. which was given to composers of “mature years and recognized accomplishments".[4]


  1. ^ a b c Tommasini, Anthony (December 4, 1999). "MUSIC REVIEW; A Serialist With a Penchant for Lyricism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  2. ^ Son, Jeeyoung; D.M.A (2008). "Twelve-tone writing in the piano music of Ben Weber (1916–1979)". ProQuest. Retrieved 2015-07-19. [T]here are hardly any secondary sources found on the subject of Ben Weber and his music; however there is a very important primary source in addition to the scores, which is an unpublished memoir titled, “How I took 63 years to commit suicide by Ben Weber (as told to Matthew Paris).” Although there is not much explanation of his music, it is still very significant in terms of understanding Weber's character, personality, and philosophy. 
  3. ^ "Ben Weber". Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  4. ^ "Francis Thorne". Theodore Presser Company. Retrieved 2015-07-19. [F]or seven years, he ran the Thorne Music Fund which awarded three-year fellowships to American composers of “mature years and recognized accomplishments.” Recipients of these fellowships included Stefan Wolpe, Ben Weber, Lou Harrison, David Diamond, Jacob Druckman, Lucia Dlugoszewski, and Henry Brant among others.