Piston, Walter

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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: History, Composers, and Performers: Biographies