The Music of John La Montaine and Paul J. Sifler
Pulitzer Prize winning composer, John La Montaine, was a native of Chicago, Illinois. From the age of five, he was drawn to devote his life to composition—well before he had any formal training. Along the way toward that goal, he eventually became a superb pianist, and served with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini, who advised and encouraged the young composer.
One of La Montaine’s earliest works, the “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 9,” commissioned by the Ford Foundation, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1959. Two Guggenheim fellowships followed, and commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation, and the William Inglis Morse Trust for Music. Other honors include an award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, accompanied by a grant to record his Piano Concerto, an Eastman School Distinguished Alumni Award, and an appointment to serve in 1962 as Composer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome.
Paul J. Sifler (long 'i', rhymes with 'eye') was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which was then part of Austria. At age eleven he immigrated to the United States and subsequently became a citizen. His large body of compositions reflect this multi-cultural background. He initially lived in New York City, later moving to Hollywood, California with John La Montaine.
Sifter's organ and choral works in particular have brought him much international recognition. His tragic work for organ, "The Despair and Agony of Dachau" has been performed in most of the capitals of Europe and across the United States, from Notre Dame to the Washington Cathedral.
In 1975, La Montaine and Sifler founded Fredonia Press, for the purpose of exclusively publishing their works.