Taylor, Deems, 1885-1966

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1885-12-22
Death 1966-07-03
Americans
English, French

Biographical notes:

American composer and writer.

From the description of Typewritten letter signed and autograph letter signed, dated : Stamford, Conn., 28 August 1927 and 1 March 1931, to Mr. [Harry Harkness] Flagler, 1927 Aug. 28 and 1927 Sept. 1. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270676607

From the description of Typewritten letter signed, dated : Stamford, Conn., 7 December 1931, to Mrs. [Melbert B.] Cary [Mary Flagler Cary], 1931 Dec. 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270676604

From the description of Signature : New York, [n.d.], [n.d., 1885-1966]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270676609

Deems Taylor was an American composer, author, and music critic.

Born in New York in 1885, Taylor studied music theory with Oscar Coon. After various jobs in publishing and journalism, he became music critic for the New York World (1921-1925), editor of Musical America (1927-1929), and music critic for the New York American (1931-1932). He served as director and then president (1942-1948) of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Taylor worked in radio as a musical advisor and commentator, and published collections of his radio talks in 1937, 1940, and 1949. He composed a number of works for large ensembles, including the opera The King's Henchman and Peter Ibbetson, both commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. He died in 1966.

From the description of Deems Taylor collection of broadcast recordings [sound recording], 1935-1954. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122378686

Deems Taylor was born on December 22, 1885 in New York City, and attended Ethical Culture for secondary school there. While a student at New York University he wrote four comic operas with William LeBaron, one of which received the attention of theatrical producer Charles Dillingham and was produced by him. Taking the advice of Victor Herbert, Taylor studied music theory with Oscar Coon. Meanwhile Taylor also began to publish music criticism, first for the New York Press, and later for the New York Tribune (1916-1917), Collier's Weekly (1917-1919).

Sometime during the mid 1910s Taylor formed a close friendship with Percy Rector Stephens, a vocal instructor and conductor of the Schumann Club. The purpose of the Schumann Club was to deliver programs for women's vocal ensemble that would follow as closely as possible the structure of the artist recital programs. Taylor approached the task with enthusiasm. In addition, Taylor published arrangements and translations of songs and choral music up through 1920.

Deems Taylor was music critic for the New York World from 1921 through 1925. He continued musical criticism by becoming editor of Musical America (1927-1929) and critic for the New York American 1931-1932). He was pressed into service for radio broadcasts and had a well-received series on music appreciation. He was also commentator for broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. As a result of his reputation as educator, he was selected by Walt Disney as commentator for the film Fantasia (1940). He published articles and several books, The Well Tempered Listener (1940), Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), Music to My Ears (1949), Some Enchanted Evenings: The Story of Rodgers and Hammerstein (1953).

After the 1920s Taylor composed large scale works. His orchestral suite Through the Looking Glass was well received. His reputation grew after the premiere of his first mature opera, The King's Henchman (1927), which had its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera. Excerpts from The King's Henchman were selected for the inaugural broadcast of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in September 1927. This was surpassed by his next opera, Peter Ibbetson which also premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1931 which stayed in the repertory for four seasons. Succeeding works were less well received. They include the operas Ramuntcho (1942) and The Dragon (1958), as well as orchestral works and cantatas.

Deems Taylor died in New York City on July 3, 1966.

From the guide to the [Arrangements of choral music by various composers] / Deems Taylor, 1917-1920?, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Deems Taylor was an American composer, author, and music critic.

Born in New York in 1885, Taylor studied music theory with Oscar Coon. After various jobs in publishing and journalism, he became music critic for the New York World (1921-1925), editor of Musical America (1927-1929), and music critic for the New York American (1931-1932). He served as director and then president (1942-1948) of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Taylor worked in radio as a musical advisor and commentator, and published collections of his radio talks in 1937, 1940, and 1949. He composed a number of works for large ensembles, including the opera, The King's Henchman and Peter Ibbetson, both commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.

He died in 1966.

From the guide to the Deems Taylor collection of broadcast recordings [sound recording], 1935-1954, (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

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http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65m66t3
Ark ID:
w65m66t3
SNAC ID:
18151611

Subjects:

  • Songs (medium voice) with piano
  • Radio programs, Musical--United States
  • Radio programs
  • Prompt-book
  • Musical sketches
  • Pantomimes with music--Piano scores
  • Radio programs--United States
  • Choruses, Secular (Women's voices) with piano
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Piano music
  • Radio programs--musical
  • Operas--Excerpts--Vocal scores with piano
  • Operas--Excerpts--Scores
  • Songs (Low voice) with orchestra, Arranged
  • Opera--Scores
  • Cantatas, Secular--Vocal scores with piano

Occupations:

  • Composers
  • Arrangers

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)