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George Lessner

George Lessner was born on 15 December 1904 in Budapest (Hungary). He studied music in Royal Academy in Budapest under Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly and Ernö von Dohnanyi. In 1926 George Lessner emigrated to the US and settled in Hollywood, where he composed for films and cartoons. In 1940 he moved to New York and continued to write music for films and television series as well as broadway shows. George Lessner was commissioned by the NBC to compose a radio opera in 1940. A symphony was performed a few years later at the Carnegie Hall. George Lessner died on 12 May 1997 in New Rochelle, New York (USA).

The "Poem" was composed for violin and piano in 1943. George Lessner started also different arrangements of the work for viola and orchestra, for string quartet and also for violin and orchestra. But all these arrangements were not finished and from the version for violin and orchestra only the first 26 bars exist in orchestral score.


Most of the original manuscripts by George Lessner are archived at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas. I personally own an autograph manuscript of the version for violin and piano which was inscribed to Margaret Pardee (1920-2016), a violinist and former Juilliard teacher. The dedication was signed on 10 February 1944. I am not aware of any performance of the work.

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© Tobias Broeker