Vincent, John, American composer and teacher; b. Birmingham, Ala., May 17,1902; d. Santa Monica, Calif., Jan. 21, 1977. He studied flute with Georges Laurent at the New England Cons, of Music in Boston (1922-26), and composition there with Converse and Chadwick (1926-27), then took courses at the George Peabody Coll. in Nashville, Term. (M.A., 1933) and at Harvard Univ., where his principal teacher was Piston (1933-35). He then went to Paris, where he studied at the École Normale de Musique (1935-37), and took private lessons with Boulanger; received his Ph.D. from Cornell Univ. in 1942. He was in charge of music in the El Paso (Tex.) public schools (1927-30); taught at George Peabody Coll. in Nashville (1930-33), at Western Ky. Teachers Coll. (1937-46), and at the Univ. of Calif., Los Angeles (1946-69). After his death, the John Vincent Archive was established at UCLA. In his music, he evolved a tonal idiom which he termed “paratonality”; fugai elements are particularly strong in his instrumental compositions. He publ. the books Music for Sight Reading (N.Y., 1940); More Music for Sight Reading (N.Y., 1941); The Diatonic Modes in Modern Music (N.Y., 1951; 2nded., rev., 1974).
dramatic: 3 Jacks,ballet (1942; rev. 1954; rev. as an orch. suite, 1954; rev. as The House That Jack Builtfor Narrator and Orch., 1957); The Hallow’d Time,incidental music (1954); Primeval Void,opera (1969). ORCH.: Suite (1929); A Folk Symphony (1931; not extant); Nude Descending a Staircasefor Strings (1948; also for Xylophone and Piano or Strings, 1974); Symphonic Poem after Descartes,with the motto of Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum,” suggested by the thematic rhythm on the kettledrums (1958; Philadelphia, March 20, 1959); La Jolla Concertofor Chamber Orch. (La Jolla, Calif., July 19,1959; rev. 1966 and 1973); Overture to Lord Arling (1959); Benjamin Franklin Suitefor Glass Harmonica and Orch. (Philadelphia, March 24,1963); Rondo Rhapsody (Washington, D.C., May 9, 1965); The Phoenix, Fabulous Bird,symphonic poem (Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 21, 1966). CHAMBER: Nacre, Mother of Pearlfor Flute and Piano (1925; rev. 1973; also for Band, 1973); Suite: Prelude, Canon, and Fuguefor Flute, Oboe, and Bassoon (1936); 2 string quartets (1936, rev. as Recitative and Dancefor Cello Obbligato and Strings, 1948; 1967, rev. 1969); Consortfor Piano and String Quartet (1960; also for Piano and String Orch.; also as Sym. No. 2 for Strings, 1976); Victory Salutefor 12 Brass (1968); Suite for 6 Percussion (1973); piano pieces. VOCAL: 3 Grecian Songsfor Chorus (1935); How Shall we Singfor Voices and Piano (1944; rev. 1951); Sing Hollyloofor Mezzo-soprano or Baritone and Piano (1951; also for Men’s Voices and Piano); Stabat Materfor Soprano, Men’s Voices, and Piano or Organ (1969; also for Soprano, Men’s Voices, and Orch., 1970); A Christmas Psalmfor Voice and Piano (1969; rev. as Prayer for Peacefor Soprano, Alto, Chorus, and Organ or Piano, 1971).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire