Donington, Robert, distinguished English musicologist; b. Leeds, May 4, 1907; d. Firle, Sussex, Jan. 20, 1990. He studied at Queen’s Coll., Oxford (B.A., 1930; B. Litt., 1946), and also took a course in composition with Wellesz at Oxford. He became associated with Arnold Dolmetsch in his workshop in Haslemere and studied the technique of early instruments; contributed to the revival of Elizabethan instruments and music. He was a member of the English Consort of Viols (1935–39); then played with the London Consort (1950–60); in 1956 he founded the Donington Consort, and led it until 1961. He lectured extensively in the U.S. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979.
The Work and Ideas of Arnold Dolmetsch (Hasle-mere, 1932); with E. Hunt, A Practical Method for the Recorder (2 vols., London, 1935); The Instruments of Music (London, 1949; 4th ed., rev., 1982, as Music and Its Instruments); Music for Fun (London, 1960); Tempo and Rhythm in Bach’s Organ Music (London, 1960); The Interpretation of Early Music (N.Y., 1963; 3rd ed., rev., 1974; corrected ed., 1989); Wagner’s “Ring” and Its Symbols (London, 1963; 3rd ed., rev. and enl., 1974); A Performer’s Guide to Baroque Music (London, 1973); String-playing in BaroqueMusic (London, 1977); The Opera (London, 1978); The Rise of Opera (London, 1981); Baroque Music: Style and Performance: A Handbook (London, 1982); Opera and Its Symbols: The Unity of Words, Music, and Singing (London, 1991).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire