George Crumb (1929 – )

Updated: February 28, 2011

Classical composer.

Born October 24, 1929, in Charleston, West Virginia, com- poser George Henry Crumb acknowledged his indebtedness to traditional Appalachian music and to such folk instruments as the hammered dulcimer, banjo, musical saw, and jug. His early Appalachian environment likely contributed to the lyricism and overall accessibility of his work, to the structure of his compositions, to his interest in international folk music and traditional drama, and to his attention to physical movement (Crumb’s work Ancient Voices of Children, for example, has been choreographed). Crumb’s music has been described as a committed quest for philosophical and emotional balance.

After attending the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan, Crumb taught at the University of Colorado and the University of Pennsylvania. He cited composers Webern, Bartok, Dallapiccola, Messiaen, and Berio as major influences on his own work. In 1968 Crumb received a Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Echoes of Time and the River. Among his other compositions are Songs, Drones, and Refrains of Death; Black Angels; Makrokosmos; and Quest. Although Crumb is not usually identified with Appalachia, his work is a reminder of the diversity of musical expression associated with the Appalachian region.

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MLA Style

"George Crumb," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 23 Sep 2018 <>

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"George Crumb." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved September 23, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia:

George Crumb