Marion Bauer

Marion Bauer

Marion Eugénie Bauer (1882-1955) was an American composer, teacher, writer, and music critic. She is remembered in the clarinet community for her sonata for clarinet and piano, a duo for clarinet and oboe, and a concertino for oboe, clarinet, and string quartet.

Marion Bauer (1882-1955)

Marion Eugénie Bauer (15 August 1882 – 9 August 1955) was an American composer, teacher, writer, and music critic. She played an active role in shaping American musical identity in the early half of the twentieth century.

For clarinetists she is particularly well-known for her concertino for clarinet, oboe, and string quartet, and a duo suite for clarinet and oboe. However, she also composed a sonata for clarinet and piano. To date, the work has never been professionally recorded. The sonata is more commonly known to violists, for whom she also wrote an edition of the same sonata, and several known recordings with viola and piano do exist. To listen to excerpts of these works, click here or scroll to the bottom of the page.

As a composer, Bauer wrote for piano, chamber ensembles, symphonic orchestra, solo voice, and vocal ensembles. She gained prominence as a teacher, serving on the faculty of New York University (then Washington Square College) where she taught music history and composition from 1926–1951. In addition to her position at NYU, Bauer was affiliated with Juilliard as a guest lecturer from 1940 until her death in 1955. Bauer also wrote extensively about music: she was the editor for the Chicago-based Musical Leader and additionally authored and co-authored several books including her 1933 text Twentieth Century Music.

Throughout her life, Bauer promoted not only her own work but new music in general. Bauer helped found the American Music Guild, the American Music Center, and the American Composer’s Alliance, serving as a board member of the latter. Bauer additionally held leadership roles in both the League of Composers and the Society for the Publication of American Music as a board member and secretary, respectively. Very often, she was the only woman in a leadership position in these organizations.

Bauer’s music includes dissonance and extended tertian, quartal, and quintal harmonies, though it rarely goes outside the bounds of extended tonality, save for her brief experimentation with serialism in the 1940s. During her lifetime, she enjoyed many performances of her works, most notably the New York Philharmonic premiere of Sun Splendor in 1947 under the baton of Leopold Stokowski and a 1951 New York Town Hall concert devoted solely to her music.

View her complete biography, from which the above was excerpted, at

Clarinet Compositions

Sonata | 1932/1951 (possible composition date/first publication)
Clarinet and piano
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Purchase option 1:
Purchase option 2: Fick’s Music
Free download option 1:
To date, no professional clarinetist has ever recorded this sonata. However, recordings do exist of the version for viola and clarinet. The below recordings feature the viola.

Duo Suite, Op. 25 | 1932
Clarinet and oboe
Publisher: CF Peters
Purchase option 1: Groth Music
Purchase option 2: Trevco Music
Free download option 1:

Concertino | 1944
Clarinet, oboe, 2 violins, viola, cello
Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes (originally, Arrow Music Press)
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Rental option 1: Boosey and Hawkes
This work does not appear to be for sale.

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This page was last updated 3/27/2021

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