A study and performance guide to George Rochberg's "Summer, 1990" (Piano Trio No 3)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

Paul Posnak, Committee Chair


In 1989, George Rochberg visited Eastern Europe with the Pittsburgh Symphony for a series of performances of his Symphony No. 6. Impressions formed during this visit, along with those of the events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, provided the inspiration for his Summer, 1990 (Piano Trio No. 3). Rochberg wrote this work, which features a virtuoso piano part, for the Beaux Arts Trio. Since then, other ensembles have also performed it.One of the issues that this study takes up is the connection between Summer, 1990 and the postmodern aesthetic. The trio, for example, contains references to the musical styles of various composers. Almost a third of it also consists of musical material adapted from earlier works by Rochberg himself. A summary of postmodernism and its interface with The Aesthetics of Survival, a collection of essays by Rochberg, forms part of the study.Unlike other works by Rochberg, Summer, 1990 is in a single, through-composed movement and avoids traditional forms. One chapter of this paper discusses the formal structure of the trio and the development of its various themes and motives, while others deal with performance-related issues, one chapter discussing them from the perspective of the pianist, another from that of the ensemble.



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