Sargeant, Winthrop, prominent American music critic; b. San Francisco, Dec. 10, 1903; d. Salisbury, Conn., Aug. 15, 1986. He studied violin in San Francisco with Arthur Argiewicz and with Lucien Capet in Paris; took composition lessons with Albert Elkus in San Francisco and with Carl Prohaska in Vienna. He played the violin in the San Francisco Sym. Orch. (1922–24), the N.Y. Sym. Orch. (1926–28), and the N.Y. Phil. (1928–30). He then devoted himself to musical journalism. He was on the editorial staff of Musical America (1931–34), music critic of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1934–36), and served as music ed. of Time magazine (1937–39). He also wrote essays on various subjects for Time (1939–45), and subsequently was roving correspondent for Life magazine (1945–49) and music critic for the New Yorker (1947–72), continuing as a contributor to the latter until his death. He evolved a highly distinctive manner of writing: professionally solid, stylistically brilliant, and ideologically opinionated; he especially inveighed against the extreme practices of the cosmopolitan avantgarde. He publ. Jazz: Hot and Hybrid (N.Y, 1938; third ed., N.Y., 1975), Geniuses, Goddesses, and People (N.Y, 1949), Listening to Music (N.Y, 1958), In Spite of Myself: A Personal Memoir (N.Y, 1970), and Divas: Impressions of Today’s Sopranos (N.Y, 1973).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire