Paul J. Sifler (1911 - 2001)
Paul J. Sifler (long 'i', rhymes with 'eye') was born on December 31, 1911, 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 where he founded Fredonia Press with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John La Montaine. He died on May 20, 2001.
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. One of Sifler's orchestral works, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" was scheduled for its premiere by the Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra the day after the bombing by the Serbs began. The orchestra postponed the premiere until the following month in Trieste, Italy.
Sifler's Music is rich harmonically, melodically, and is rhythmically vital. In all his works, the human element is uppermost. The gamut of his compositions includes such diverse works as "The Nine Suitors," a comic musical based on Slovenian folk tunes; the starkly serious "The Seven Last Words of Christ" for organ solo; and the "Mass for Voices and Marimba."
As an outstanding concert organist, Sifler has appeared extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He gave a year-long series of historical organ recitals in St. Paul's Chapel in New York City (George Washington's church). He has also appeared as a soloist, performing his own Piano Concerto many times. Paul Sifler's broad background, American, European, in church, in temple and in the theatre is reflected in the broad scope and universality of his music.