Charles Naginski

1909 - 1940

Charles Naginski was born in Cairo in 1909 and raised in Egypt. He came to the United States at age 18 to study composition at Juilliard. His promising career was cut short when he accidentally drowned in 1940, in Lenox, Massacusetts, while studying with Paul Hindemith at Tanglewood. Other teachers included Rubin Goldmark and Roger Sessions.


The audio recording of "Look Down, Fair Moon," provided in the audio player to the right, features Thomas Hampson, baritone, and Craig Rutenberg, piano. This song was recorded for Instant Encore as part of American Public Media's Performance Today series, presented by Classical Minnesota Public Radio. To listen, please click on the track name itself. You can download a recording of this entire recital for free through the Instant Encore website with the download code: THSOA2009.


Charles Naginski was born in Cairo, Egypt on May 29, 1909. His premature death by drowning in Lenox, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1940, cut short a remarkably promising career as a composer. The marked talent for composition that Naginski evidenced at a very early age was recognized by his father, his first piano teacher. From 1928 to 1933 Naginski held a fellowship at the Juilliard Graduate School as a pupil of Rubin Goldmark. Later he studied at the American Academy in Rome, winning the American Prix de Rome in 1938.

The catalogue of his works includes an orchestra suite (1931); two string quartets (1933); an orchestra poem (1936); Sinfonietta (1937); Three Movements for chamber orchestra (1937); The Minotaur, ballet for orchestra (1938); Nocturne and Pantomime (1938); Five Pieces from a Children’s Suite (Boston, 1940); and songs.

The songs, although limited in number, are of high quality and deserve a wide public.

--Class Voice and the American Art Song: A Source Book and Anthology by Helen Lightner

Songs & Song Collections BY Naginski (entered to date)

Audio PLaylist

CD / DVD / MP3