John J. Becker (1886-1961) is the least known of a group of composers who, by reputation, became known as "the American Five," analogous to the better-known "Russian Five" or "French Six." Becker's cohorts consisted of Carl Ruggles, Henry Cowell, Wallingford Riegger, and Charles Ives. Ives, born 1874, was the oldest of the group and Cowell, born 1897, was the youngest, and in the 1920s and '30s they were known as the most radical and dissonant of American composers.

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