Dent, Edward J. (Edward Joseph), 1876-1957

Alternative names
Birth 1876-07-16
Death 1957-08-22

Biographical notes:

Epithet: musicologist and translator

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001296.0x00021f

Edward Joseph Dent (1876-1957), musicologist, was born at Ribston Hall, Wetherby, Yorkshire, on 26 July 1876. He attended Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he was a Fellow, 1902-1908 and from 1926 until his death. Dent was Professor of Music at the university, 1926-1941. He published pioneering studies in English on Alessandro Scarlatti, Ferruccio Busoni, the Mozart operas, and the development of English opera. He was also a founder of the International Society for Contemporary Music and, from 1938, its Honorary Life President. Dent died in London on 22 August 1957.

From the guide to the Edward Dent: Letters to him, 20th century, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)

English musicologist, teacher, translator, and critic.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : Cambridge, 18 April 1915, to [Ronald] Firbank, 1915 Apr. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270565748

Edward Dent was born in Ribston, Yorkshire on 16 July 1876. Educated at Eton, he was admitted to King's College in 1895 and studied under Charles Wood and Stanford. He was elected a Fellow in 1902, and during this time made substantial changes to the curriculum for the MusB degree. From 1918 to 1926 he worked in London as a music critic, then returned to Cambridge as Professor of Music. He was elected to a fellowship at King's again, and held the Cambridge chair for 15 years. After retirement he moved back to London, where he remained until his death on 22 August 1957.

Dent was influential in bringing opera to a wider audience. He was involved in an early production of Mozart's 'Die Zauberflte', which led to a long series of translations of librettos. He also worked on Italian Baroque opera and published books on Scarlatti, Busoni and on Mozart's operas. Dent was a director (later governor) of Sadlers Wells Opera, and a director of Covent Garden Opera Trust.

After World War I, Dent worked at bringing together the artistic communities of the warring countries. He was President of the International Society for Contemporary Music from 1923 to 1938, and President of the International Music Society between 1931 and 1949. He was a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded honorary degrees from Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard Universities. After his death the Royal Musical Association instituted the Dent medal for work in musicology.

From the guide to the The Papers of Edward Joseph Dent, 1882-1968, (King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge)


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  • Opera
  • Music
  • World war


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  • Bournemouth, Hampshire (as recorded)
  • Royaumont, Seine-et-Oise (as recorded)
  • Italy (as recorded)