Chanler, Theodore Ward

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Chanler, Theodore Ward

Chanler, Theodore Ward, American composer; b. Newport, R.I., April 29, 1902; d. Boston, July 27, 1961. He studied in Boston with Hans Ebell (piano) and with Arthur Shepherd (composition), then at the Cleveland Inst. of Music with Bloch. He later took courses at the Univ. of Oxford (1923–25), and also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He returned to America in 1933 and wrote music criticism. He taught at the Peabody Cons, of Music in Baltimore (1945–7) and then at the Longy School in Cambridge, Mass. In 1944 he held a Guggenheim fellowship. His music, mostly in smaller forms, is distinguished by a lyrical quality; his songs are particularly expressive; he employed the modern idiom of polytonal texture without overloading the harmonic possibilities; the melody is free, but usually within tonal bounds.


The Pot of Fat, chamber opera (Cambridge, Mass., May 8, 1955); Pas de Trois, ballet (1942); Violin Sonata (1927); violin pieces; piano music, including 5 Short Colloquies (1936), Toccata (1939), The Second Joyful Mystery for 2 Pianos (1942), and A Child in the House (1949); organ pieces; Mass for 2 Women’s Voices and Organ (1930) and other choral works; about 50 songs.


E. Nordgren, An Analytical Study of the Songs of T C. (1902–1961) (diss., N.Y.U., 1980).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire