Henderson, W(illiam) J(ames)

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Henderson, W(illiam) J(ames)

Henderson, W(illiam) J(ames), noted American music critic; b. Newark, N.J., Dec. 4, 1855; d. (suicide) N.Y., June 5, 1937. He was a graduate of Princeton Univ. (B.A., 1876; M.A., 1886); also studied piano with Carl Langlotz (1868–73) and voice with Torriani (1876–77); was chiefly self-taught in theory. He was first a reporter (1883–87), then music critic of the N.Y. Times (1887–1902) and the N.Y. Sun (1902–37); lectured on music history at the N.Y. Coll. of Music (1889-95; 1899-1902); from 1904, lectured on the development of vocal art at the Inst. of Musical Art in N.Y. A brilliant writer, Henderson was an irreconcilable and often venomous critic of modern music; he loved Wagner, but savagely attacked Debussy and Richard Strauss. Henderson, in turn, was the butt of some of Charles Ives’s caustic wit.


(all publ, in N.Y): The Story of Music (1889; 2nd ed., erti., 1912); Preludes and Studies (1891); How Music Developed (1898); What Is Good Music? (1898; 6th ed., 1935); The Orchestra and Orchestral Music (1899); Richard Wagner, His Life and His Dramas (1901; 2nd ed., 1923); Modern Musical Drift (1904); The Art of the Singer (1906; 2nd ed., aug., 1938, as The Art of Singing); Some Forerunners of Italian Opera (1911); Early History of Singing (1921).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Henderson, W(illiam) J(ames)

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