Norman Lloyd (composer)

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Norman Lloyd

Norman Lloyd (November 8, 1909 – July 31, 1980) was an American pianist, composer, educator, author and supporter of the arts who scored works for modern dance, documentary film [1] and classical chamber. He exerted tremendous influence as an educator, notably at Juilliard where he transformed the teaching of musical theory; and later as the author of books including the popular "Fundamentals of Sight Singing and Ear Training" (co-authored with Arnold Fish).[2] He continued to influence and champion the arts as creator of the Rockefeller Foundation's arts program and its first director. He was the son of David Lloyd, a steel mill worker and minor league baseball player, and grandson of William Lloyd, a coal miner who immigrated to the United States from Wales in 1845.

His professional career began as an 11-year-old piano accompanist for silent films in the early 1920s. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from NYU, where he studied musical composition under Aaron Copland. It was also at NYU that Lloyd met fellow piano accompanist Ruth Dorothy Rohrbacher, whom he married in 1933 and with whom he collaborated on books and musical projects throughout his life. They had two sons, David and Alex. In the mid-1930s, Lloyd was hired to work as a pianist and composer in the newly created summer dance program at Bennington College, alongside legendary choreographers Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey and others. During the summers at Bennington, he scored many enduring works for dance, including "Panorama" for Graham[3] and "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias" with Humphrey choreographing for Limon.[4] The Bennington collaboration of artists during those years is considered by many to be the foundation of modern dance as an American art form.[5]

Lloyd went on to serve as Director of Education at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City from 1946 to 1949, where he established a new dance division with Martha Hill as director, and invited Graham, Limon and other Bennington choreographers to join the faculty. During this period, he and Juilliard president William Schuman designed a new and innovative approach to the study of musical theory entitled, "The Literature and Materials of Music,"[6] which shifted the emphasis away from textbooks and rigorous ear training to discussion and direct pedagogy by composers in the classroom. He and Schuman were committed to teaching music from a more holistic approach that would "make responsible adults of musicians." [7] The new curriculum was intended to disrupt what the two men considered to be an overly insular culture and rigidly formal training regimen at Juilliard, and effectively altered the course of American musical education towards the more comprehensive and progressive path on which it remains today.[7]

Lloyd also continued to compose works for leading choreographers, including Jose Limon's 1947 work, "La Malinche,"[8][9] as well as chamber works for the piano [10][11] and violin.[12] He worked tirelessly as a teacher and educator and his influence can be felt in the works of the many students [13] who passed through Juilliard during his tenure. He eventually left Juilliard in 1963 to serve as Dean of the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music;[14] he received a Doctorate of Music from the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music the same year.[6]

In 1965, he left Oberlin to create the Rockefeller Foundation's arts program,[15][16] serving there as Director of Arts Programming until 1972. He published a number of books during his career, including the beautifully written and illustrated "Golden Encyclopedia of Music," "Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs" and "Fireside Book of Folk Songs."[17] He played a pivotal role in the re-emergence and popularity of Scott Joplin's ragtime tunes some 30 years after the Depression when he persuaded Vera Brodsky Lawrence to edit, "The Complete Works of Scott Joplin." [6]

Lloyd died of leukemia at his home in Greenwich, CT in 1980. His legacy is a varied one, with his impact felt in diverse aspects of the arts over four decades. His overall impact on American music is considerable, though, and continues to resonate today.


  • Smolowe, Jill. New York Times, 1 Aug 1980[6]
  • Books by Norman Lloyd, Goodreads.[17]
  • Taubman, Howard. New York Times, 21 Feb 1956[12]
  • Martin, John. New York Times 15 April 1961[18]
  • Clark, George. The Morning Record 7 May 1965[16]
  • Sherman, Robert. New York Times 2 February 1981[19]
  • Calta, Louis. New York Times, 6 November 1971[20]
  • Schonberg, Harold. New York Times 25 April 1958[13]
  • Barnes, Clive. New York Times 30 March 1968[9]
  • Kisselgoff, Anna. New York Times 17 February 1995[21]
  • Naxos, Classical Music Archives - Norman Lloyd, Artist Profile.[11]
  • Bova, Elyse. Martha Graham: A Brief History[22]
  • Olmstead, Andrea. Juilliard: A History[23]
  • 100 Years: The Rockefeller Foundation.[24]
  • Teck, Katherine. Making Music For Modern Dance.[5]
  • Swayne, Steve. Orpheus in Manhattan: William Schuman and the Shaping of America's Musical Life.[25]
  • Anna North on Alex North.[26]
  • Yonkers Herald[14]


  1. ^ "Films". International Film Foundation. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  2. ^ Fundamentals of Sight Singing and Ear Training: Arnold Fish, Norman Lloyd: 9780881337204: Books. ISBN 088133720X.
  3. ^ Anna Kisselgoff (1999-02-08). "DANCE REVIEW; Protest Themes Lurk in Graham's 1935 'Panorama' - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  4. ^ "Artists: G-H | Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive". Archived from the original on 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  5. ^ a b Making Music For Modern Dance - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  6. ^ a b c d Smolowe, Jill (1980-08-01). "NORMAN LLOYD, 70 - COMPOSER-TEACHER - Devised New Approach to Musical Theory-Also Wrote Books A Scott Joplin Fan Published Book of Songs - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  7. ^ a b "The New York Times". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  8. ^ "José Limón and La Malinche: The Dancer and the Dance, 2008 | Questia, Your Online Research Library". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  9. ^ a b Barnes, Clive (1968-03-30). "Dance - A Young Troupe Re-creates Old Mexico - Juilliard Group Excels in Works by Limon - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  10. ^ "LLOYD, N. / MENNIN, P.: Piano Music (Silberstein) - 8.559767". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  11. ^ a b "Norman Lloyd- Albums, Pictures – Naxos Classical Music". 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  12. ^ a b HOWARD TAUBMANThe New York Times (1956-02-21). "Music - Boys, 10 and 12, Steal Show at Juilliard - Pianist, Violinist Play New Work by Lloyd Other Selections Bow in Festival Program Operas for Amateurs - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  13. ^ a b Harold C. Schonberg. (1958-04-25). "Lloyd Singers Give Debut Recital Here - Article - Nytimes.Com". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  14. ^ a b Thomas Tryniski (19 February 2010). "Old Fulton NY Post Cards" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  15. ^ [ Displaying Abstract ] (2012-06-10). "Foundation Names Director of Arts - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  16. ^ a b "The Morning Record - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  17. ^ a b "Norman Lloyd (Author of The Golden Encyclopedia of Music)". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  18. ^ Martin, John (1961-04-15). "Dance - Amusing Novelty - Jose Limon Troupe Gives 'Performance' at Juilliard School of Music - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  19. ^ Sherman, Robert (1981-02-08). "Music - Performing Honored At Sarah Lawrence". Westchester County (Ny): Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  20. ^ Calta, Louis (1971-11-06). "FOUNDATION GIVES $100,000 TO FORUM - Rockefeller Foundation Aids Lincoln Center Unit - Article -". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  21. ^ Anna Kisselgoff (1995-02-17). "DANCE REVIEW; An 85th-Birthday Look At Sokolow's Influence - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  22. ^ Bova, Elyse (2009-04-26). "Martha Graham: A Brief History: Martha Graham's Bennington College Years". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  23. ^ Juilliard: A History - Andrea Olmstead - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  24. ^ Rockefeller Archive Center. "100 Years: The Rockefeller Foundation | Music · Culture". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  25. ^ Orpheus in Manhattan: William Schuman and the Shaping of America's Musical Life - Steve Swayne - Google Books. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  26. ^ "Reviews". Alex North Music. Retrieved 2014-06-01.