Stevens, Denis William 1922-2004

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STEVENS, Denis William 1922-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born March 2, 1922, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England; died April 1, 2004, in London, England. Musician, educator, and author. Stevens was an accomplished violinist, conductor, and author/editor who was also credited with helping to bring the works of eighteenth-century Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi to the attention of scholars and music audiences. After studying languages for two years at Jesus College, Oxford, he enlisted in the Intelligence division of the Royal Air Force, serving in India and Burma, where he decoded Japanese transmissions. After the war, he returned to university, completing a master's degree in music in 1947 while also playing violin for the Philharmonia Orchestra. Not long after graduation, he was hired by the British Broadcasting Corp. as a music producer, in which capacity he had the opportunity to produce music programs featuring works by Antonio Vivaldi and the then little-known Monteverdi. Around this time, in 1952, he also founded the Ambrosian Singers and served as the group's conductor until 1969; and he established the Accademia Monteverdiana chorus and orchestra in 1961. The 1960s saw Stevens entering academia; he was especially sought after by American universities, where he was a visiting professor at such institutions as Columbia University, Cornell University, and the University of California at Berkeley. Heavily involved in publishing, he was editorial chair of the Dictionary of Music and Musicians, published by Grove, from 1959 to 1963. In addition to producing a number of recordings as a conductor, Stevens edited musical pieces ranging from early Tudor organ music to operas to the works of modern composers. He was the author of such books as The Mulliner Book: A Commentary (1952), Claudio Monteverdi (1978), Musicology in Practice (1987), The Joy of Ornamentation (1989; second edition, 1993), and Early Music (1997), in addition to translating such works as The Letters of Claudio Monteverdi (1980; second edition, 1995) and editing titles such as the three-volume The Pelican History of Music (1960-68). For his contributions to music, Stevens was named a commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1984.



Guardian (London, England), April 14, 2004, p. 23.

Independent (London, England), April 5, 2004, p. 34.

Times (London, England), April 15, 2004, p. 34.

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Stevens, Denis William 1922-2004

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