Tawa, Nicholas E. 1923-

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TAWA, Nicholas E. 1923-

PERSONAL: Born October 22, 1923, in Boston, MA; son of Edward (a manufacturer) and Mary (Ahto) Tawa; married September 21, 1947; wife's name Michelina M.; children: Christopher, Nicholas E., Jr. Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1945, Ph.D.; Boston University, M.A., 1947.


ADDRESSES: Home—69 Undine Rd., Brighton, MA 02135-3811. Offıce—Harbor Campus, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA 02125. E-mail— [email protected]net.att.net.


CAREER: University of Massachusetts at Boston, assistant professor, 1965-70, associate professor, 1970-77, professor of music, beginning 1977, currently professor emeritus.


MEMBER: Society for American Music (formerly the Sonneck Society; cofounder, 1974; vice president, 1975-80).


AWARDS, HONORS: Distinguished School Award, University of Massachusetts, 1990.


WRITINGS:

Sweet Songs for Gentle Americans, Bowling Green University (Bowling Green, OH), 1980.

A Sound of Strangers: Musical Culture, Acculturation, and the Post-Civil War Ethic, Scarecrow (Metuchen, NJ), 1982.

A Music for the Millions: Antebellum Democratic Attitudes and the Birth of American Popular Music, Pendragon Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Serenading the Reluctant Eagle: American Musical Life during Crisis, 1925-1945, E. C. Schirmer (New York, NY), 1984.

A Most Wondrous Babble: American Art Composers, Their Music, and the American Scene, 1950-1985, Greenwood (New York, NY), 1987.

Art Music in the American Society: The Condition of Art Music in the Late Twentieth Century, Scarecrow (Metuchen, NJ), 1987.

(Editor) American Solo Songs, two volumes, G. K. Hall, 1989.

The Way to Tin Pan Alley: American Popular Song, 1886-1910, E. C. Schirmer (New York, NY), 1990.

The Coming-of-Age of American Art Music: New England's Classical Romantics, Greenwood (New York, NY), 1991.

Mainstream Music of Early Twentieth-Century America: The Composers, Their Words, and Their Times, Greenwood (Westport, CT), 1992.

American Composers and Their Public: A Critical Look, Scarecrow (Lanham, MD), 1995.

Arthur Foote: A Musician in the Frame of Time and Place, Scarecrow (Lanham, MD), 1997.

High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 2000.

From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 2001.


Newsletter editor, Sonneck Society, 1975-80.


SIDELIGHTS: Nicholas Tawa is, according to Teresa M. Neff in Library Journal, "a prolific author on American music." His historical surveys draw on contemporary documents such as newspaper accounts and personal diaries to chronicle the rise and develop of American popular music. Gordon Myers in American Music found that "Tawa seems to have a passion for going after primary sources that makes him something of a Goliath in his research and study. He is thorough, analytical, and stimulating in the way he presents the results of his work." Dale Cockrell, writing in Notes, believed that "perhaps no living scholar has read more primary source material on nineteenth-century American music than Nicholas Tawa." Among Tawa's books are High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861 and From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England.

In High-Minded and Low-Down, Tawa examines the development of American music in the first half of the nineteenth century. He traces the variety of nationalities who came to America and contributed to the creation of a distinctly national music. Few Americans had the opportunity to attend professional music concerts at that time. Instead they made their own instruments and sang songs at home, at dances, or in their churches. Neff wrote: "Written in a matter-of-fact tone, without apology or effusive explanations, this work is a solid introduction to, and exploration of, music in early 19th-century America." "Tawa captures the essence of American music remarkably well in an easily read, though somewhat dry, book that adds much to the understanding of pioneer life in America," according to Alan Hirsch in Booklist.


In From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England, Tawa surveys the contribution of the New England states to the growth of American music. His history focuses especially on classical music from Colonial times to the present. Neff found that "he deftly chronicles the interactions of composers, musical organizations, and patrons." Ann L. Silverberg in Notes called the book "rich in detail" and "a valuable addition to the growing library of works on American music history."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, October, 2001, Victor Greene, review of High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861, p. 1352.

American Music, spring, 1993, Gordon Myers, review of The Coming of Age of American Art Music, p. 114.

American Record Guide, July-August, 1998, Donald R. Vroon, review of Arthur Foote: A Musician in the Frame of Time and Place, p. 294.

Booklist, April 15, 2000, Alan Hirsch, review of High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of the Americans, 1800-1861, p. 1513.

Journal of American History, September, 1985, Alan H. Levy, review of Serenading the Reluctant Eagle: American Musical Life during Crisis, 1925-1945, p. 436; June, 1991, Jay Gitlin, review of The Way to Tin Pan Alley: American Popular Song, 1866-1910, p. 343.

Library Journal, April 15, 2000, Teresa M. Neff, review of High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861, p. 93; September 15, 2001, Teresa M. Neff, review of From Psalm to Symphony, p. 84.

Notes, March, 1989, Mark McKnight, reviews of Art Music in the American Society: The Condition of Art Music in the Late Twentieth Century and A Most Wondrous Babble: American Art Composers, Their Music, and the American Scene, 1950-1985, p. 496; March, 1992, Lawrence Gushee, review of The Way to Tin Pan Alley: American Popular Song, 1866-1910, p. 903; June, 1992, Victor Fell Yellin, review of The Coming-of-Age of American Art Music: New England's Classical Romanticists, p. 1237; September, 2001, Dale Cockrell, review of High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861, p. 77; September, 2002, Ann L. Silverberg, review of From Psalm to Symphony: A History of Music in New England, p. 85.*