top of page

Charles Ives
1874 – 1954


Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer, one of the first American composers of international renown. 


His music was largely ignored during his early life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Later in life, the quality of his music was publicly recognized, and he came to be regarded as an "American original". He was also among the first composers to engage in a systematic program of experimental music, with musical techniques including polytonalitypolyrhythmtone clustersaleatory elements, and quarter tones


His experimentation foreshadowed many musical innovations that were later more widely adopted during the 20th century. Hence, he is often regarded as the leading American composer of art music of the 20th century.

Sources of Ives' tonal imagery included hymn tunes and traditional songs; he also incorporated melodies of the town band at holiday parade, the fiddlers at Saturday night dances, patriotic songs, sentimental parlor ballads, and the melodies of Stephen Foster.

Ives, Universe Symphony excerpt 2
00:00 / 05:00
Ives, Universe Symphony excerpt 1
00:00 / 05:00
bottom of page