Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Stalter, Timothy

First Committee Member

Getz, Christine

Second Committee Member

Muriello, John

Third Committee Member

Puderbaugh, David

Fourth Committee Member

Swanson, Stephen


Jean Berger (1909-2002) fled the rise of Nazi power in his native Germany to become one of the U.S.A.'s most popular choral composers of the second half of the twentieth century. Berger's unpublished memoirs and collected correspondence with composers, authors and political luminaries paint a fascinating picture of his life which, steered by a series of fateful coincidences, forced Berger to reinvent himself repeatedly, mastering a series of professions and foreign languages as well as changing his religious orientation, country of residence (from Germany to France to Brazil to the U.S.), and even his name. This thesis reveals the Jewish background of this self-described "house composer" of the Lutheran Church, and examines the intellectual, cultural and aesthetic influences which led Berger to develop a new genre of choral music, the staged chorus. These influences include Berger's participation in the German Jugendbeweung, the social philosophies of his mentor in music history, Heinrich Besseler, and the inspiration provided to Berger by the works of composer Carl Orff.


x, 193 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 188-193).


Copyright © 2017 Michael Schnack

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