Born: June 12, 1885
Died: February 6, 1963
Period: 20th Century
Werner Josten was a German-born American composer who emigrated to the United States in the early 1920s. Josten studied initially with Rudolf Siegel in Germany and Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva. As a composer, after arriving in America, Josten embraced the stylistic trends of modern American and European symphonic music which included occasional folk-like melodic lyricism, jazz rhythms and harmonies, clear cut orchestration and an overallRead more serious demeanor that steered clear of the opulence of German late Romanticism. Josten also had an impact on higher music education in America when he worked as a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts from 1923 to 1949. He is one of those composers whose best known works are nevertheless rarely heard and are more often represented in music history books, articles and footnotes rather than in the concert hall. Among these are the symphonic poem "Jungle" which was premiered by Serge Koussevitzky in 1928 and later recorded by Leopold Stokowski and a very impressive, compact "Symphony in F" that deserves to be better known. Josten's "Concerto Sacro" Nos. I and II are lyrical pieces scored for piano and richly divided string orchestra.
As a scholar, Werner Josten prepared and conducted the first U.S. performance of Monteverdi's "Orfeo" in 1929. The Werner Josten Performing Arts Library at Smith College is named after him. Read less
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