Charles Seeger

Charles Seeger
Charles Seeger

Charles Seeger
Background information
Birth name Charles Louis Seeger, Jr.
Born December 14, 1886(1886-12-14)
Origin Mexico City
Died February 7, 1979(1979-02-07) (aged 92)
Bridgewater, Connecticut, United States
Occupations Composer, musician, conductor, musicologist

Charles (Louis) Seeger, Jr. (December 14, 1886 – February 7, 1979) was a noted musicologist, composer, and teacher. He was the father of iconic American folk singer Pete Seeger (b. 1919).



He graduated from Harvard University in 1908, then studied in Cologne, Germany and conducted with the Cologne Opera.[1] He left Europe to take a position as Professor of Music at the University of California at Berkeley, where he taught from 1912 to 1916 before being dismissed for his public opposition to U.S. entry into World War I. His brother Alan Seeger was killed in action on July 4, 1916, while serving as a member of the French Foreign Legion. Charles Seeger then took a position at Juilliard before teaching at the Institute of Musical Art in New York from 1921 to 1933 and the New School for Social Research from 1931 to 1935. In 1936, he was in Washington, DC, working as a technical advisor to the Music Unit of the Special Skills Division of the Resettlement Administration (later renamed the Farm Security Administration).[2] From 1957 to 1961, he taught at the University of California Los Angeles. From 1961 to 1971 he was a research professor at the Institute of Ethnomusicology at UCLA. In 1949-50 he was Visiting Professor of the Theory of Music in the School of Music at Yale University. From 1935 to 1953 he held positions in the federal government's Resettlement Administration, Works Projects Administration (WPA), and Pan American Union, including serving as an administrator for the WPA's Federal Music Project, for which his wife also worked, from 1938 to 1940.


His first wife was Constance de Clyver Edson, a classical violinist and teacher; they divorced in 1927.[3] They had three sons, Charles III (1912–2002), who was an astronomer,[4] John (1914–2010), an educator,[5] and Peter ("Pete") (b. 1919), the folk singer. His second wife was the composer and musician Ruth Seeger (née Ruth Porter Crawford); by her, he had two children who also achieved musical renown, Peggy Seeger (b. 1935) and Mike Seeger (1933–2009), and another two daughters, Barbara and Penny Seeger.[4] His grandson, Anthony Seeger (b. 1945), is a renowned anthropologist and distinguished professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California Los Angeles.


He is known, among other reasons, for his formulation of dissonant counterpoint.[6] According to ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl, "Seeger played a unique and central role in tying musicology to other disciplines and domains of culture. This collection shows him to be truly a musical 'man for all seasons,' for what comes across most is the many-sidedness of the man."[7]


  1. ^ Capaldi, Jim, "Folk Scene: Charles Seeger" obituary April 1979
  2. ^ Stone, Peter, Sidney and Henry Cowell, Association for Cultural Equity
  3. ^ New York Times, December 19, 1911 wedding announcement.
  4. ^ a b Obituary: Charles Seeger III, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 September 2002. Retrieved on 2 May 2009.
  5. ^ Seeger family crest and name history. Retrieved on 21 June 2009.
  6. ^ Spilker, John D., "Substituting a New Order": Dissonant Counterpoint, Henry Cowell, and the network of ultra-modern composers, Ph.D. dissertation, Florida State University, 2010.
  7. ^ Bell Yung and Helen Rees, eds., Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in Musicology (University of Illinois Press, 1999). (publisher's page on the book)

Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Charles Seeger — (* 14. Dezember 1886 in Mexiko Stadt; † 7. Februar 1979 in Bridgewater, Connecticut) war ein US amerikanischer Musikwissenschaftler und Komponist. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Literatur 3 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Seeger — is the surname of various people, including an extended musical family:* Alan Seeger (1888 – 1916), American poet; brother of Charles * Charles Seeger (1886 1979), musicologist, composer, and teacher; husband of Ruth * Mike Seeger (b. 1933),… …   Wikipedia

  • Seeger — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alan Seeger (1888–1916), US amerikanischer Poet Alfred Seeger (* 1927), deutscher Physiker Bernhard Seeger (1927–1990), deutscher Schriftsteller Carl Christian von Seeger (1773–1859), deutscher… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Seeger, Pete — ▪ American singer byname of  Peter Seeger   born May 3, 1919, New York City    singer who sustained the folk music tradition and who was the principal inspiration for younger performers in the folk revival of the 1960s.       Leaving Harvard… …   Universalium

  • Seeger, Pete(r) — born May 3, 1919, New York, N.Y., U.S. U.S. folk singer and songwriter. He was the son of the pioneering ethnomusicologist Charles Seeger (1886–1979) and stepson of the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. Leaving Harvard after two years in 1938, he… …   Universalium

  • Seeger, Pete(r) — (n. 3 may. 1919, Nueva York, EE.UU.). Cantautor de música folclórica estadounidense. Hijo del etnomusicólogo pionero Charles Seeger (n. 1886–m. 1979) e hijastro de la compositora Ruth Crawford Seeger. En 1938 abandonó Harvard después de dos años… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Charles Giordano — Born 1954 Origin Brooklyn, New York, USA Genres Rock Blues Folk Occupations Musician …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Giordano — né en 1954 à Brooklyn (New York), est un musicien américain connu pour jouer dans le groupe E Street Band de Bruce Springsteen. Biographie Giordano joue des claviers, de l orgue et de l accordéon. Il a remplacé Danny Federici dans le E Street Ba …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Charles Albert Tindley — Charles Tindley Born July 7, 1851(1851 07 07) Berlin, Maryland Died July 26, 1933(1933 07 26) (aged 82) …   Wikipedia

  • Charles Parker (producer) — Charles Parker (1919 1980) was a BBC Radio producer based in Birmingham from 1954 1972 who specialised in Documentary Radio and Theatre. In particular, he is remembered for his collaboration with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger on the 1958 1963… …   Wikipedia

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.