Leon Kirchner
Leon Kirchner dies at 90; Pulitzer-winning composer

Leon Kirchner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of expressive, rigorous, atonal yet romantic music, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home in New York. He was 90. A pianist and conductor as well as a composer, Kirchner stood somewhat outside the main musical currents of the late 20th century, forging his own way without being confrontational. A superb craftsman, he wrote music that was emotionally supercharged but also structurally rigorous, very much in the tradition of the Second Viennese School (Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, in particular). Yet Kirchner did not turn to the organizational principles so prevalent in his day: Serialism and the dodecaphonic (or 12-tone)...