Ruth Crawford Seeger

American composer and folk musicologist Ruth Crawford Seeger was born Ruth Crawford in East Liverpool, Ohio on 3 July 1901. She studied the piano from the age of six. In 1921 she began to study piano at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago with Heniot Levy and Louise Robyn but her focus moved to composition  quite quickly, which she studied with Adolf Weidig, and she produced various early works during this period. A new piano teacher, Djane Lavoie-Herz, became very influential, pointing her in the direction of the music of Alexander Scriabin, and of the theosophy religious movement, and introducing her to composers Henry Cowell and Dane Rudhyar.

She moved to New York in 1929 and began studying composition with Charles Seeger, who she later married in 1932. She went to Berlin and Paris in 1930 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, and later visited Berg in Vienna and Bartók in Budapest. She wrote her string quartet, for which she's best known, in 1931.

Charles Seeger and his wife moved to Washington DC in 1936 and Ruth Crawford Seeger worked to preserve and teach American folk music at the Library of Congress' Archive of American Folk Song, producing many respected arrangements and interpretations.

Ruth Crawford Seeger died from intestinal cancer in Chevy Chase, Maryland on 18 November 1953, aged fifty-two.


A selection of articles about Ruth Crawford Seeger

Resounding Echoes by Robert McCarney - Imaginary Concert No 1

Ensemble. Wonderfully Airborne - Christina McMaster plays Debussy, McKenzie, Crawford Seeger, Ives and Beethoven, and impresses Mike Wheeler