Otto Luening

Real Name:
Otto Clarence Luening
Profile:
Otto Luening (15 Jun 1900, Milwaukee, WI — 2 Sept 1996, New York, NY) was a German-American composer, conductor, flutist, and prolific music educator, notable as one of the early pioneers of electronic and tape music. In 1958, he co-founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, the first academic electronic music studio in America. Luening was also one of the co-founders of the American Composers Alliance in 1937 and the Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) label in 1954.

Luening was born in Milwaukee to German parents, and his family moved back to Europe when Otto was 12. He studied music at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München in Germany and later at the Municipal Conservatory and the University of Zurich in Switzerland, taking lessons with Ferruccio Busoni and Philipp Jarnach. In 1920, Otto Luening returned to the United States, settling in Chicago for a few years. In 1925, Howard Hanson and Vladimir Rosing invited him to join the Eastman School Of Music in Rochester, New York, as an assistant opera director. Luening spent three years teaching at Eastman, where he also met his wife, a Canadian-born opera singer Ethel Luening. They were married from 1927 to 1959 and often performed together. Otto Luening taught at the University Of Arizona (1932–34), Bennington College in Vermont, and Barnard College in New York City. In 1944, he began teaching at Columbia University. As a director of Columbia's Opera Theater, Luening conducted several important premieres, including Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All, The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti, and the composer's own Evangeline.

During his Columbia tenure, Otto began to seriously explore the realms of electronic music. He started collaborating with Russian composer Vladimir Ussachevsky, who joined Columbia faculty in 1947, as they both shared the interest in magnetic tape's potential. In October 1952, Luening and Ussachevsky presented a landmark performance at The Museum Of Modern Art, New York, often considered the first American electronic music concert. The program featured Otto Luening's Fantasy In Space, a composition for flute with tape accompaniment, which is one of the earliest examples of the "overdubbing" technique. Praised by critics nationwide, the MoMa concert almost instantly brought Luening and Ussachevsky into the spotlight as pioneers of a new, futuristic type of music. In December 1952, composers appeared on The Today Show hosted by Dave Garroway. The duo's partnership resulted in over twenty compositions for magnetic tape and synthesizers, or acoustic instruments combined with electronics. Some of the notable works include Rhapsodic Variations (1954) commissioned by The Louisville Orchestra, and Luening's In The Beginning from the 'Theater Piece No. 2' (1956) with microtonal sequences, composed on the Juilliard School's anniversary.

In 1958, with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ussachevsky and Luening opened the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center with four fully-equipped tape studios and the iconic RCA Mark II Synthesizer. Over the years, C-PEMC expanded and acquired other cutting-edge technology, including Buchlas and Serge Modular synthesizers. Luening continued working at C-PEMC until 1970.

Notable Otto Luening's students
Chou Wen-chung | Mario Davidovsky | Gloria Coates | John Heiss | Ben Johnston | Joseph Pehrson | Donald Keats | Leonard B. Meyer | Seymour Shifrin | Harvey Sollberger | Daniel Waitzman | Charles Wuorinen | Alice Shields | Dan Cooper (13) | Philip Corner | Charles Dodge | Roger Goeb | Malcolm Goldstein | Daniel Goode | Eric Salzman | Michiko Toyama | Wendy Carlos | Joan Tower | John Corigliano | Faye-Ellen Silverman | David Soldier | Sol Berkowitz | Elliott Schwartz | Bernard Garfield | Norma Wendelburg | Karl Korte
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Albums

ARS 8 The River / Prelude On A Hymn Tune By William Billings And Two Symphonic Interludes — Otto Luening Virgil Thomson, Otto Luening, American Recording Society Orchestra Virgil Thomson, Otto Luening, American Recording Society Orchestra - The River / Prelude On A Hymn Tune By William Billings And Two Symphonic Interludes(LP) American Recording Society ARS 8 US 1952 Sell This Version
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R-199-211 Sonata For Violoncello And Piano / Sonata For Violin And Piano  — Otto Luening Harrison Kerr / Otto Luening Harrison Kerr / Otto Luening - Sonata For Violoncello And Piano / Sonata For Violin And Piano (LP) Remington R-199-211 US 1953 Sell This Version
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GB 1 Tape Recorder Music — Otto Luening Otto Luening / Vladimir Ussachevsky Otto Luening / Vladimir Ussachevsky - Tape Recorder Music (Album) Gene Bruck Enterprises Inc. GB 1 US 1955 Sell This Version
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CRI-103 Symphonic Fantasia / Kentucky Rondo / Serenade No. 1 For Strings / Stars; Sand — Otto Luening Otto Luening / George Antheil / Mary Howe Otto Luening / George Antheil / Mary Howe - Symphonic Fantasia / Kentucky Rondo / Serenade No. 1 For Strings / Stars; Sand Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI-103 US 1957 Sell This Version
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CRI 112, CRI-112 A Poem In Cycles And Bells & Other Music For Tape Recorder — Otto Luening Luening* / Ussachevsky* Luening* / Ussachevsky* - A Poem In Cycles And Bells & Other Music For Tape Recorder (Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI 112, CRI-112 US 1957 Sell This Version
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CRI USD 219 Fantasy And Fugue / Nocturne / Synthesis For Orchestra And Electronic Sound / Fantasia For Organ — Otto Luening Wallingford Riegger / Colin McPhee / Otto Luening Wallingford Riegger / Colin McPhee / Otto Luening - Fantasy And Fugue / Nocturne / Synthesis For Orchestra And Electronic Sound / Fantasia For Organ (Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI USD 219 US 1966 Sell This Version
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CRI 227 USD Music For Electronic & Older Instruments — Otto Luening Mel Powell / Vladimir Ussachevsky / Otto Luening Mel Powell / Vladimir Ussachevsky / Otto Luening - Music For Electronic & Older Instruments Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI 227 USD US 1968 Sell This Version
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X46466, DESTO-X46466 Tape Music An Historic Concert — Otto Luening Vladimir Ussachevsky - Otto Luening Vladimir Ussachevsky - Otto Luening - Tape Music An Historic Concert (Album) Desto, Desto X46466, DESTO-X46466 US 1968 Sell This Version
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CRI SD 303 String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 / Trio / Solo Sonata No.3 — Otto Luening Otto Luening String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 / Trio / Solo Sonata No.3(LP, Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 303 US 1973 Sell This Version
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CRI SD 334 Music Of Otto Luening — Otto Luening Otto Luening Music Of Otto Luening(LP, Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 334 US 1975 Sell This Version
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CRI SD 400 Flute Possibilities — Otto Luening Luening* / Biscardi* / Lee* / Dick* Luening* / Biscardi* / Lee* / Dick* - Flute Possibilities(LP, Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 400 US 1979 Sell This Version
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S388 Sonata For Trombone And Piano / Hymn And Fuguing Tune No. 13 / Elegy For Mippy II / Sonata For Trombone And Piano / Annie Laurie (Air Varie) / Tres Psalmi Davidis (For Soprano And Trombone) — Otto Luening Ronald Borror With Lucy Shelton, Edmund Niemann - Halsey Stevens / Henry Cowell / Leonard Bernstein / Otto Luening / Arthur Pryor / Karl Kroeger Ronald Borror With Lucy Shelton, Edmund Niemann - Halsey Stevens / Henry Cowell / Leonard Bernstein / Otto Luening / Arthur Pryor / Karl Kroeger - Sonata For Trombone And Piano / Hymn And Fuguing Tune No. 13 / Elegy For Mippy II / Sonata For Trombone And Piano / Annie Laurie (Air Varie) / Tres Psalmi Davidis (For Soprano And Trombone)(LP, Album) Crystal Records (5) S388 US 1982 Sell This Version
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CRI SD 501 Epitaph / Sonata / Three Songs / Adagio Sostenuto / Legend — Otto Luening James Ostryniec - Witold Lutoslawski / Ralph Shapey / Ruth Crawford Seeger / Charles Ives / Otto Luening James Ostryniec - Witold Lutoslawski / Ralph Shapey / Ruth Crawford Seeger / Charles Ives / Otto Luening - Epitaph / Sonata / Three Songs / Adagio Sostenuto / Legend(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 501 US 1984 Sell This Version
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CRI SD 531 Sue Ann Kahn Plays Schickele, Rochberg, Riegger, Luening — Otto Luening Sue Ann Kahn Plays Schickele*, Rochberg*, Riegger*, Luening* Sue Ann Kahn Plays Schickele*, Rochberg*, Riegger*, Luening* - Sue Ann Kahn Plays Schickele, Rochberg, Riegger, Luening(LP) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CRI SD 531 US 1986 Sell This Version
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CD DCA 741 Sebastian, by Gian Carlo Menotti; Lyric Scene, Legend, by Otto Luening — Otto Luening Gian Carlo Menotti, Otto Luening / The London Symphony Orchestra, Jose Serebrier Gian Carlo Menotti, Otto Luening / The London Symphony Orchestra, Jose Serebrier - Sebastian, by Gian Carlo Menotti; Lyric Scene, Legend, by Otto Luening(CD, Mini, Album) ASV, ASV Digital CD DCA 741 UK 1990 Sell This Version
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LCD006 Island Rhythms / Kentucky Concerto / Pro Et Contra — Otto Luening The Louisville Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton-Smith - Joan Tower / Otto Luening / Sofia Gubaidulina The Louisville Orchestra, Lawrence Leighton-Smith - Joan Tower / Otto Luening / Sofia Gubaidulina - Island Rhythms / Kentucky Concerto / Pro Et Contra(CD, Album) First Edition Records LCD006 US 1991 Sell This Version
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CD 600 No Jerusalem But This. Divertimento. — Otto Luening Otto Luening No Jerusalem But This. Divertimento.(CD) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CD 600 US 1991 Sell This Version
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LS802 Invocation And Dance / Kentucky Concerto / Seattle Slew — Otto Luening The Louisville Orchestra / Paul Creston, Otto Luening and William Bolcom The Louisville Orchestra / Paul Creston, Otto Luening and William Bolcom - Invocation And Dance / Kentucky Concerto / Seattle Slew(LP, Album) First Edition Records LS802 US 1992 Sell This Version
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NPD 85543 Orchestral Works 1917 - 1992 — Otto Luening Otto Luening Orchestral Works 1917 - 1992(CD) Newport Classic NPD 85543 US 1994 Sell This Version
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CD 952 Trio America Vol. IV — Otto Luening The Mirecourt Trio, Otto Luening, Duke Ellington, Thomas Benjamin, Vladimir Dukelsky & Lloyd Rogers* The Mirecourt Trio, Otto Luening, Duke Ellington, Thomas Benjamin, Vladimir Dukelsky & Lloyd Rogers* - Trio America Vol. IV(CD) Music & Arts CD 952 US 1996 Sell This Version
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CD-934 Trio America Vol. III — Otto Luening Henry Cowell, The Mirecourt Trio, Otto Luening, Paul Chihara, Paul Creston Henry Cowell, The Mirecourt Trio, Otto Luening, Paul Chihara, Paul Creston - Trio America Vol. III(CD, Album) Music & Arts CD-934 US 1996 Sell This Version
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CD 716 Sonata For Piano In Memoriam Ferruccio Busoni / Trio For Flute, Cello & Piano / String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 / Sonata No. 3 For Solo Violin / Third Short Sonata For Flute & Piano — Otto Luening Otto Luening Sonata For Piano In Memoriam Ferruccio Busoni / Trio For Flute, Cello & Piano / String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 / Sonata No. 3 For Solo Violin / Third Short Sonata For Flute & Piano(CD) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CD 716 US 1996 Sell This Version
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CD 840 Songs of Otto Luening — Otto Luening Otto Luening, Judith Bettina, James Goldsworthy Otto Luening, Judith Bettina, James Goldsworthy - Songs of Otto Luening(CD, Album) Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI) CD 840 US 2000 Sell This Version
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DST-6429 From The Northland / Prelude On A Hymn Tune / Two Symphonic Preludes — Otto Luening Leo Sowerby / Otto Luening - Vienna Symphony Orchestra*, Dean Dixon (2) Leo Sowerby / Otto Luening - Vienna Symphony Orchestra*, Dean Dixon (2) - From The Northland / Prelude On A Hymn Tune / Two Symphonic Preludes (Album) Desto DST-6429 US Unknown Sell This Version
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XTV 109237 Highlights From Making Music Your Own — Otto Luening Otto Luening, Igor Stravinsky, Arcangelo Corelli, Juan Del Encina, Modest Mussorgsky, Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach Otto Luening, Igor Stravinsky, Arcangelo Corelli, Juan Del Encina, Modest Mussorgsky, Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach - Highlights From Making Music Your Own(LP) Silver Burdett Records XTV 109237 US Unknown Sell This Version