- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Composer George Rochberg, credited with some of the more emotionally visceral pieces of the late 20th century, died May 29 at Bryn Mawr Hospital of complications after surgery May 2. He was 86.

Born in Paterson, N.J., Mr. Rochberg was educated at Mannes School of Music in New York. He taught at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, and at the University of Pennsylvania from 1960 to 1983, and continued composing into the late 1990s after his retirement.

Mr. Rochberg began composing in the footsteps of modernists but eventually found their music “gray and dull” and moved to a more expressive mode attacked by avant-garde intellectuals.

Although some found his multiplicity bewildering, others, such as James Freeman, founder of Orchestra 2001, found it “some of the most extraordinary music I had heard, mind-bending and certainly trendsetting.”

One of the most successful composers of the 1970s and ‘80s, Mr. Rochberg’s Violin Concerto was performed 47 times by Isaac Stern from 1975 through 1977, his Symphony No. 5 was premiered in 1986 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was premiered in 1996 by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Seven string quartets, six symphonies and a full-length opera, “The Confidence Man,” were among his nearly 100 published works.

Survivors include his wife, Gene.

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