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Seymour Shifrin Edit Profile


Seymour Shifrin, American composer. Member faculty University of California at Berkeley, 1952-1966, associate professor, 1960-1964, professor music, 1964-1966.


Shifrin, Seymour was born on February 28, 1926 in Brooklyn. Son of Abraham and Yetta (Schultz) Shifrin.


Shifrin studied with William Schuman, Otto Luening, and Darius Milhaud.


Member faculty University of California at Berkeley, 1952-1966, associate professor, 1960-1964, professor music, 1964-1966. Professor music Brandeis U., since 1966. Director Koussevitzky Found, Inc.

Advisory board Koussevitzky Found, Library of Congress. Commissioned for composition Julliard School Music, 1953, Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1958, Composers Forum, 1958-1959, C. F. Peters, New York City, 1958-1959, Fromm Foundation, 1961, Rosemary Harbison, 1968, Temple Emmanuel, San Francisco, 1969, Stanley Quartet University of Michigan, 1970, Robert Helps, 1971, San Francisco Chamber Music Society, 1973, Naumburg Foundation, National Foundation for Arts, 1976. Compositions include: Sonata for Cello and Piano, 1948, Music for Orchestra, 1948, String Quartet, Four Cantos for Piano, Cat and the Moon, 1949, Composition for Piano, 1950, No Second Troy, 1952, Chamber Symphony, Spring and Fall, 1953, Medieval Latin Lyric, Serenade for Five Instruments, 1954, Trauermusik, 1956, Cantata, 1957, Three Pieces for Orchestra, 1958, Modern Temper, Hear O Ye Heavens, 1959, Concert Piece for Solo Violin, 1959.

String Quartet Northern 2. Odes of Shang, for chorus, piano and percussion, 1962. Satires of Circumstance, soprano and 6 instruments, 1964.

String Quartet Northern 3, 1966. String Quartet Northern 4, 1967. In Eius Memoriam for Mixed Quintet, 1968.

Duo for violin and piano, 1969. Chronicles for chorus, orchestra, soloists, 1970. String Quartet Northern 5, 1972.

Responses for Piano Solo, 1973. Piano Trio, 1974; A Renaissance Garland for Soprano, Tenor, Recorder and Lute, Viol, 1975. The Nick of Time, 1977.

Five Last Songs, 1979.


  • Shifrin's Satires of Circumstance (1964, text by Thomas Hardy) received the Koussevitzky International Recording Award for 1970. He received the Naumburg Award, Columbia University's Bearns Prize (1949), the Copley Award, the Horblit Prize (1963), and two Guggenheim Fellowships, in 1956 and 1960.


A graduate of Columbia University (MA, 1947), he was a member of the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley (1952–66) and at Brandeis University from 1966 until his death in 1979.


Married Miriam Levine, June 6, 1947. Children: Theodore, Susan.

Abraham Shifrin

Yetta (Schultz) Shifrin

Miriam Levine

Susan Shifrin

Theodore Shifrin