Piston, Walter, 1894–1976, American composer and teacher, b. Rockland, Maine. Piston studied at Harvard and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris; he joined the faculty of Harvard in 1926. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1934. Piston was a neoclassicist composer, using traditional forms with sure technique and intellectual style. His works often incorporate masterful counterpoint and employ complex jazz rhythms. Piston's compositions include symphonies, suites for orchestra, a concertino for piano and orchestra, a violin concerto, a viola concerto, a toccata and a concerto for orchestra, a ballet, and string quartets and other chamber music. He is the author of Principles of Harmonic Analysis (1933), Harmony (1941, rev. ed. 1962), Counterpoint (1947), and Orchestration (1955).
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