Sachs, Joel , American pianist, conductor, and musicologist; b. New Haven, Conn., Dec. 19, 1939. He studied piano with Ray Lev and theory with Sam DiBonaventura and David Kraehenbuehl. In 1957 he entered Harvard Coll., majoring in chemistry and physics, but eventually turned to music, studying with Piston, Thompson, Pirotta, and Ward; also took piano lessons with Miklos Schwalb in Boston and with Rosina Lhévinne in N.Y. In 1961 he received a fellowship for travel in Europe; after appearances as a pianist in London in 1963, he returned to the U.S. to study musicology at Columbia Univ., completing his Ph.D. in composition in 1968. He joined similarly inclined musicians and scholars to form Continuum, a group devoted to the exploration of new music; gave concerts with it in the U.S. and Europe, attaining a considerable reputation for excellence. He also taught and was active as coordinator of contemporary music (from 1985) at the Juilliard School in N.Y. Through the years he gave several hundred concerts and lectures dealing with 2Oth-century music; also directed radio performances in Europe dedicated to the works of Ives and Webern. In purely musicological pursuits, particularly valuable are his detailed Writings on the works of J.N. Hummel, for which he had the cooperation of Hummel’s descendants.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire