Davison, A(rchibald) T(hompson)

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Davison, A(rchibald) T(hompson)

Davison, A(rchibald) T(hompson) , eminent American music educator; b. Boston, Oct. 11, 1883; d. Brant Rock, Mass., Feb. 6, 1961. He studied at Harvard Univ. (B.A., 1906; M.A., 1907; Ph.D., 1908, with the diss. The Harmonic Contributions of Claude Debussy); then took lessons in organ with Widor in Paris (1908–09). Returning to America, he was organist and choirmaster at Harvard Univ. (1910–0); conducted the Harvard Glee Club (1912–33) and the Radcliffe Choral Soc. (1913–28); he began teaching at Harvard in 1917 as asst. prof.; subsequently he was assoc. prof. (1920–29), prof, of choral music (1929–40), and the James Edward Ditson Prof, of Music (1940–54). He held numerous honorary degrees, including those of D.Mus. at Williams Coll. and the Univ. of Oxford; Fellow of the Royal Coll. of Music, London; Litt.D. from Washington Univ. (1953); andL.H.D. from Temple Univ. (1955). He wrote 2 comic opéras, the musical comedy The Girl and the Chauffeur (Boston, April 16, 1906), the Tragic Overture, and the symphonic poem Hero and Leander. His greatest achievement, however, was as an educator and popularizer of musical subjects: his lectures on music appreciation were broadcast and enjoyed considerable success

among radio listeners. He was assoc. ed., with T. Surette, of a multi-vol. collection of vocal and instrumental pieces, the Concord Series of Educational Music, for which he made numerous arrangements.


(all publ. in Cambridge, Mass., unless other wise given):Protestant Church Music in America (Boston, 1920; 2nd ed., enl, 1933); Music Education in America (N.Y., 1926); Choral Conducting (1940); The Technique of Choral Composition (1946); ed. with W. Apel, Historical Anthology of Music (vol. I, 1946; 2nd ed., rev., 1950; vol. II, 1950); Bach and Handel: The Consummation of the Baroque in Music (1951); Church Music: Illusion and Reality (1952); Words and Music: A Lecture Delivered to the Whittal Pavilion of the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C., 1954).


Essays on Music in Honor of A. T. D. by his Associates (Cambridge, Mass., 1957); D. Tovey, A. T. D.: Harvard Musician and Scholar (diss., Univ. of Mich., 1979).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire