Thompson, Oscar, American music critic and editor; b. Crawfordsville, Ind., Oct. 10, 1887; d. N.Y, July 3, 1945. He was educated at the Univ. of Wash., Seattle, and also studied music with G. Campanari and others. He took up journalism and in 1919 joined the staff of Musical America, later becoming assoc. ed. and finally ed. (1936-t3). He was music critic for the N.Y. Evening Post (1928-34); from 1937 to his death he was music critic for the N.Y. Sun. In 1928 he established the first class in music criticism in the U.S. at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia; he also gave courses at Columbia Univ. and the N.Y. Coll. of Music. In 1939 he brought out The International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians in one vol. of more than 2,000 pages, with feature articles by eminent authorities; it went through 11 eds. and reprints. He wrote the books Practical Musical Criticism (1934), How to Understand Music (1935; 2nd ed., enl., 1958), Tabulated Biographical History of Music (1936), The American Singer (1937), and Debussy, Man and Artist (1937). He also ed. Plots of the Operas (1940) and Great Modern Composers (1941), both vols, being extracts from the Cyclopedia.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire