Dr. Judith Tick, “Ruth Crawford Seeger: The Woman and the Artist”
Chevy Chase Village Hall, 5906 Connectiicut Ave.
Dr. Judith Tick, Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Music at Northeastern University, spoke at the Spring meeting of CCHS about one of Chevy Chase’s distinguished past residents, Ruth Crawford Seeger. Dr. Tick is an authority on American music, particularly women musicians. She has delighted audiences with her presentation regarding Seeger. Her lecture offered a unique opportunity to share her understanding of this remarkable artist!
Long time Chevy Chase residents may remember Seeger as a neighbor on West Kirke Street and a neighborhood piano teacher, as well as stepmother to Pete Seeger and mother to Peggy and Mike Seeger, all well known American folk singers. She is also one of the most significant American female composers of the 20th century. A force in the American modernist music movement, she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, an honor bestowed on her twice.
Introduced to folk music by poet Charles Sandburg, Seeger also became an American folk music collector and scholar. Her three books of folk songs for elementary school children have been in print since the early 1950s and are key texts in primary music education. Seeger’s life and contributions are the subjects of Dr. Tick’s book "Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Composer’s Search for American Music" (1997), winner of an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.
Dr. Tick also is co-editor with Jane Bowers of the anthology Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition 1150-1950 (1986), a pioneering work in its field, and author of American Women Composers Before 1870 (1983). The Seeger biography and her article on “Charles Ives and Gender Ideology” have won awards from the Society for American Music. She also wrote the entries on “Women and Music” for The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (1986) and the 2001 revised edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music. In collaboration with art historian Gail Levin she published Aaron Copland’s America: A Cultural Perspective (2000), and she is an Associate Editor of Musical Quarterly. In 2000, she received a Distinguished Alumna Medal from Smith College. In 2004, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as an “innovator in the field of musical biography.” Her most recent book, Music in the U.S.A.: A Documentary Companion, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008.