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Virgil Thomson

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Virgil Thomson (November 25, 1896 - September 30, 1989) was an American composer from Kansas City, Missouri who was instrumental in the develoment of the “American Sound” in classical music so often associated with the patriotic compositions of Aaron Copland. Thomson displayed an extraordinary intelligence at an early age. As a child, he befriended Alice Smith, granddaughter of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith. He attended Harvard University, and his tours of Europe with the Harvard Glee Club helped nurture his desire to return there. Upon his move there, he eventually studied with Nadia Boulanger and became a fixture of “Paris in the twenties.” His most important friend from this period was Gertrude Stein, who was an artistic collaborator and mentor to him. Following the publication of his book The State of Music he established himself in New York City, as a peer of Aaron Copland and was also a music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1940 through 1954. His writings on music, and his reviews of performances in particular, are noted for their wit and their independent judgments. His definition of music was famously “that which musicians do,” and his views on music are radical in their insistence on reducing the rarefied aesthetics of music to market activity. He even went so far as to claim that the style a piece was written in could be most effectively understood as a consequence of its income source.

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  • IAmDillin

    uggggh it's impossible to find this guy's stuff :(

    21 Feb 2013 Reply

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