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Rhodes, Willard

Rhodes, Willard

Rhodes, Willard , distinguished American music educator and ethnomusicologist; b. Dashler, Ohio, May 12, 1901; d. Sun City, Ariz., May 15, 1992. He earned his A.B. and B.Mus, degrees from Heidelberg Coll. in Tiffin, Ohio, both in 1922, and then studied at the Mannes School of Music in N.Y. (1923–25) and at Columbia Univ. (M.A., 1925); went to Paris, where he took lessons in piano with Cortot and in composition with Boulanger (1925–27). From 1927 to 1935 he served as conductor with the American Opera Co., the Cincinnati Summer Opera Co., and with his own Rhodes Chamber Opera Co. He was director of music in the public schools of Bronxville, N.Y. (1935–37). In 1937 he was appointed to the faculty at Columbia Univ.; became prof. emeritus in 1969. He held the post of music consultant to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs beginning in 1937, and was a founding member (1953) and first president (1956–58) of the Soc. for Ethnomusicology. It was in this connection that he accumulated a most valuable collection of Amerindian folk music, both notated and recorded (many pressings released by the Library of Congress). In 1961 he was elected president of the Soc. for Asian Music, and in 1968 of the International Folk Music Council; also was a Fellow of the African Studies Assn. and numerous other ethnomusicological organizations. He conducted field work in Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1957–58) and in South India (1965–66); was visiting prof. at various institutions.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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