Skip to main content

Schwann, William (Joseph)

Schwann, William (Joseph)

Schwann, William (Joseph), pioneering American discographer; b. Salem, III., May 13, 1913; d. Burlington, Vt., June 7, 1998. He began his career as an organist and choir director in Louisville (Ky.) churches (1930–35). He studied at the Univ. of Louisville (B.A., 1935), Boston Univ. (1935–37), and Harvard Univ. (1937–39), where his teachers included E.B. Hill, Hugo Leichtentritt, A.T. Merritt, Walter Piston, and G. Wallace Woodworth. He also received private organ instruction from E. Power Biggs. He was a music critic for the Boston Herald (1937–41), and also ran his own record shop in Cambridge (1939–53). In 1949 he launched his Schwann Record Catalog, the first monthly compilation of available recordings in the world. An invaluable source, it expanded over the years to include not only long-playing records but also tapes and compact discs; special compilations were also issued from time to time. In 1976 his firm, W. Schwann, Inc., was acquired by ABC Publishing Co. Among Schwann’s numerous accolades are honorary D.Mus. degrees from the Univ. of Louisville (1969) and the New England Cons. of Music in Boston (1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Schwann, William (Joseph)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . 20 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Schwann, William (Joseph)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . (August 20, 2019).

"Schwann, William (Joseph)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. . Retrieved August 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.