Edith Borroff

Biography: 

Edith Borroff (b. 1925) received her education at Oberlin Conservatory, the American Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan. She has taught at Hillsdale College, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and has been professor of music at Eastern Michigan University since 1966. Her areas of research have centered on 17th-century French chamber music, American and contemporary music. Borroff also holds an interest in education and has contributed to many educational journals. She became the contemporary music critic for the Ann Arbor News in 1966. She authored the book Three American Composers (Pub. Univ Press of America, 1986) which traces the power shift from the apprentice/conservatory system of training composers to the university system, which took place in the United States from 1925 to 1975. Borroff focuses on how this change influenced the works of three renowned American composers: Irwin Fischer, Ross Lee Finney, and George Crumb.

In addition to her renown as a composer, Dr. Borroff taught at a number of colleges and universities, including SUNY-Binghamton, where she spent the bulk of her career. Her areas of research centered on 17th-century French chamber music, American and contemporary music, music education, and pre-history. Borroff  has authored numerous books including the first history of music to include African-American composers.  Edith Borroff’s papers are housed in the Newberry Library in Chicago, and include her writings, musical compositions, correspondence, research materials, and lectures as musicologist and composer.

Prof. Borroff passed away March 9, 2019 in Durham, NC.

(Bio below by Lynn Vought, All Music Guide)

Edith Borroff (b. 1925) was born in New York City, the daughter of Marie Bergersen and Ramon Borroff, both well-known professional musicians. Trained in music from babyhood, she composed songs and piano pieces before she was six. In 1941 the family moved to Chicago; there, Borroff, who already knew she wanted to be a composer, earned a B.Mus. (1946) and M.Mus. (1948) in composition at the American Conservatory of Music, with an undergraduate minor in organ (including two years at Oberlin with Claire Coci) and a graduate minor in voice with the redoubtable singer Frances Grund.

It was not easy for American women composers to be taken seriously at that time. In 1954 Borroff went to Ann Arbor, where she earned her Ph.D. in the history of music at the University of Michigan in 1958. Since then, she has taught music history and composed music, retiring from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1992.

From 1950 to 1954 Borroff taught at Milwaukee-Downer College, which was then a school for women students only. There she composed several choral pieces for women's voices, including "The Christ-Child Lay on Mary's Lap". The poem, by G.K. Chesterton, had long been a favorite, and it was natural for her to set it to music. In composing it, Borroff tried to incorporate both the form and the mood of the poem in the music. 

 


Obituary of Dr. Edith Louise Borroff
(2 August, 1925 – 9 March, 2019)


Dr. Edith Borroff, pianist, composer, and musicologist, died peacefully on the evening of Saturday, March 9, 2019, in the Forest at Duke in Durham, North Carolina, the retirement community where she had been living.  

Dr. Borroff was born in New York City, the daughter of the singer Ramon Borroff and the concert pianist Marie Bergerson Borroff.  She is survived by her sister, Marie Borroff, American poet, translator, and the Sterling Professor of English emerita at Yale University.

Dr. Borroff was educated at The Friends School in New York City, and the American Conservatory of Music where she earned the Bachelor of Music in 1946, and the Master of Music in 1948.  She received the Ph.D. in 1958, after studying musical composition with the musicologist Louise Cuyler at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  Her dissertation was on the works of Jean-Joseph Cassanea de Mondonville.

Dr. Borroff held various teaching posts but finally settled at the State University of New York in Binghamton, 1973-1992.  Her Concerto for Marimba and Small Orchestra received its premier with the University orchestra in 1981. Her areas of research centered on 17th-century French chamber music, American and contemporary music, music education, and pre-history.  Dr. Borroff has authored numerous books including the first history of music to include African American composers.  Her papers are held at the Newberry Library, The University of Chicago, and include her writings, musical compositions, correspondence, research materials, and lectures as musicologist and composer.

 

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ACE Publications

1 AN HISTORICAL ANAGRAM (1991)
2 recorders: each with sop, alt, ten instruments

2 ARIA (1993)
org

3 CAROL (1950)
ssa a capella

5 CHANGELING (1990)
sop,ob,bsn,pf

6 CHORAL TRILOGY (1983)
ssaattbb

9 CONCERTO FOR MARIMBA & SMALL ORCH (1981)
Marimba Solo, cham orch:2-2-2-2,2-2-0-0,perc,str, or Marimba Solo&pf

10 DIPTYCH (1985)
org

13 FANTASY FOR TWO PIANOS (1985)
2 pf

14 FEED MY SHEEP (1953)
Voice, piano

16 FIVE PIECES FOR VIOLA & PIANO (1989)
Viola, piano

17 FIVE WHITMAN SONGS (1990)
Tenor, piano

19 GAME PIECES: A Suite for Woodwind Quintet (1980)
Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn

20 GOODBYE BABY (A Rock Song) (1978)
Voice, piano

22 A HOLY THING (1991)
3 male voices or male choir

23 A Holy Thing (1991)
three male voices or male chorus

25 A House of Love (1986)
baritone voice and piano

26 A HOUSE OF LOVE 5 Songs (1986)
Baritone, piano

27 HYPERBOLE (1987)
Harpsichord

29 INTERNATIONAL SUITE (1994)
Piano

31 A JOYFUL NOISE (1991)
Soloists, chorus, trumpet (3), piano

32 A Joyful Noise (1991)
choir, soloists, 3 trumpets, and organ (or piano)

35 LOVE AND LAW (1990)
Tenor, baritone, bass

36 LOVE SONG OF THE EIGHTIES, A (1988)
voice, pf

37 MADRIGALS (1953)
3 treble voices

38 MEDITATION & TOCCATA (1989)
Organ

39 MISSA PATRINAE RERUM DOMINI (1966)
Soprano (or unison choir), organ

41 MOTTOES: A SUITE FOR EIGHT SAXOPHONES (1989)
Saxophone (8)

42 PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU (1945)
SATB soli & choir, organ

43 POET, THE (1973)
SSAA, piano

44 POPULAR SONG (1949)
Treble voice, piano

45 PYGMALION(Incidental Mus) (1955)
Soprano solo, SATB, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, percussion

46 PYGMALION, Incidental music to Shaw's 'Pygmalion' (1955)
Soprano solo, chamber choir, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, percussion (2)

47 QUERULOUS MUSIC TEACHER, THE (1987)
Voice, piano

48 RONDELAY (1992)
Violin (2)

49 SEVEN EARLY SONGS (1950)
Voice, piano

50 SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO (1949)
Cello, piano

51 SONATA FOR CELLO AND PIANO, NO.2 (1994)
cello, piano

52 SONATA FOR GUITAR (1983)
Guitar

53 SONATA ON ENGLISH FOLK SONGS (1978)
Piano (4-hands)

54 SONATINA GIOCOSA (1953)
Version 1: viola, piano; Version 2: violin, piano

57 STRING QUARTET NO 3 in E Minor (1943)
Violin (2), viola, cello

60 SUITE FOR RECORDER AND PIANO (1998)
Recorder, piano

61 SUMMUM BONUM (1948)
Voice, piano

62 SUN AND THE WIND, THE; A MUSICAL FABLE (1976)
Oboe (2), bassoon, horn (2), percussion (2), piano, harpsichord, string quartet (x2 if possible)

64 THEME, VARIATIONS, AND CODA (1997)
cl, vln, vla, vc, pf

68 THREE MADRIGALS FOR WOMEN'S VOICES (1951)
Soprano, alto (2)

69 TRILOGY (1989)
Baritone, horn, piano

70 TRIO FOR TENOR SAXOPHONE, PIANO, AND PERCUSSION (1982)
Tenor saxophone, piano, percussion

71 TRIO FOR VIOLIN, CELLO, AND PIANO (1983)
Violin, cello, piano

72 TRIO FOR VIOLIN, VIOLA, AND CELLO (1943)
Violin, viola, cello

73 TRUTH (1973)
Medium voice, piano

74 TWO 2-PART MADRIGALS (1953)
SA

75 TWO PIECES FROM THE OLD RAG BAG (1989)
Saxophone quartet: AATB (or SATB)

76 TWO RAGS
Piano

77 TWO two-part MADRIGALS (1953)
2 voices

78 VARIATIONS FOR BAND (1968)
band: pic-2-2-eh-Ebcl-3-acl-bcl-cbcl-2-2asax-tsax-barsax-bs sax; 4-2-3cor-2fhn-3-euph-tba; hp; timp, xyl, perc; cb

79 VARIATIONS ON A TRILL (1985)
Piano

82 VORSPIEL UBER DAS THEMA 'IN DULCI JUBILO'
Flute (2), horn (2), piano

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