Death of US composers president

Death of US composers president


norman lebrecht

November 18, 2019

The California composer and neo-tonal activist Nancy Bloomer Deussen has died at 88.

A student of Vittorio Giannini, Lukas Foss, Ingolf Dahl and Wilson Coker, Nancy founded the San Francisco branch of the National Association of Composers, USA, and served as its president for many years.

UPDATE: Was she Gershwin’s daughter?


  • John Borstlap says:

    The video gives a Gebrauchsmusik piece for school orchestras, this does more justice to the lady:

  • John Borstlap says:

    Also this is a better recording:

  • PHF says:

    “Neo-tonal activist”… with this label she’s at least a hundred years older than noticed in this post.

    • John Borstlap says:

      In contrary, ‘neotonal’ new music is a very modern phenomenon. It is the dinosaurs (and Germans) who don’t notice it.

      • Metartmusiscien says:

        And now that the dinosaurs has lost their emperor and dictator Pierre Boulez, things might change in France and surrounding.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Things have already been changing for years: Nicolas Bacri, Richard Dubugnon, Thierry Escaich, Guillaume Connesson (all in France alone). The navelstaring Boulezbian universe is crumbling.

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    Her mother, Julia Van Norman, was a friend, fan and/or hanger-on of George Gershwin — and for years, it was rumored that he was Nancy’s father. She may have even believed it at one time (, p. 2), but I think the claim was disproved.

  • FStöver says:

    I don’t especially care for her work. For me, she’s too careful, predictable, cliche-ridden, etc. Sorry Nancy.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Yes, but that has nothing to do with her choice of style. And then, one better have decent music which gives pleasure, if of a simple kind, than pretentious nonsense clothed in ideologies. I also don’t find what I heard of her works very interesting, but she has my sympathy nonetheless.

  • Stephen Gill says:

    She was also an incredible accompaniest who played over 150 mini-concerts from the Great American Songbook for me over a ten year period. She could transpose within a matter of seconds.

  • Tavius says:

    I love you and miss you so. Thank you for leaving us your beautiful heart and soul.