Thomson, Virgil

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1896-11-25
Death 1989-09-30
Americans
French, English

Biographical notes:

The hymn is How Firm a Foundation, words and music commonly ascribed to Robert Keene. The melody is also called Geard. Also quoted Yes, Jesus Loves Me and For He's A Jolly Good Fellow. Composed 1926-28. First performance New York, 22 February 1945, New York Philharmonic, the composer conducting.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Symphony on a hymn tune / Virgil Thomson. [19--] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 56078995

Composer.

From the description of Reminiscences of Virgil Thomson : oral history, 1973. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122513235

American composer and critic.

From the description of "Miss Agnes Rindge / by / Virgil Thomson / Dear Agnes / love Virgil / 10 March 1936" : autograph manuscript, 1935 Sept. 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270570010

From the description of The Virgil Thomson papers, 1804-1990 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 122501154

From the description of Autograph postcard signed, dated : [New York], 29 November 1978, to Spencer and Leslie Mason, 1978 Nov. 29. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270677699

From the description of The Virgil Thomson papers, 1804-1990 (inclusive). (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 702189058

From the description of "Virgil Thomson / Portrait of Minna Curtiss / for piano / D. M, l., V., 8-I-[19]42, N.Y" : autograph manuscript, 1941 June 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270570014

From the description of Virgil Thomson / Portrait of Miss Louise Crane / for piano. 25 December 1941. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270570011

From the description of O, My Deir Hert / A Christmas Carol / from the Oxford / Book of English Verse / Virgil Thomson. [1921?] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270570007

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : New York, 20 April 1971, to Spencer [Mason], 1971 Apr. 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270677695

From the description of Typewritten letter signed, dated : New York, 4 December 1981, to Joe Chouinard, 1981 Dec. 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270964027

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : Paris, 3 October 1967, to [Doda Conrad], 1967 Oct. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270873827

The composer Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) was the chief music critic for the New York Herald Tribune from 1940 to 1954. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1949.

From the description of Correspondence to Alma Mahler, ca. 1949. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 155864610

American composer and music critic. Involved in famous collaboration with Gertrude Stein.

From the description of The Virgil Thomson collection, 1916-1960. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 42437584

Commissioned by the United States Farm Security Administration for the documentary film about the Mississippi written and directed by Pare Lorents. Composed 1937.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of The river / Virgil Thomson. [1985] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 56078984

Commissioned by the Ballet Caravan, 1937. Composed 1937. First performance Hartford, Conn., 6 January 1938, Ballet Caravan at the Avery Memorial Theatre.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of Filling station ballet / by Virgil Thomson. [19--] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 56078960

Composer, music critic.

From the description of Remininscences of Virgil Thomson : oral history, 1977. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309734817

From the description of Papers, [ca. 1920]-1971. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122530067

Commissioned by the U.S. Farm Security Administration for Pare Lorenz's documentary film. Composed 1936.--Cf. Fleisher Collection.

From the description of The plough that broke the plains / Virgil Thomson. [1942?] (Franklin & Marshall College). WorldCat record id: 56078974

Virgil Thomson was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1896. He began studying music as a child. He served in the National Guard during World War I, entering Harvard University in 1919 after the War's end. Thomson studied music at the University, where he became a member of the Harvard Glee Club. In 1921, Thomson toured Europe with the Club. He remained in Paris for an additional year with the aid of a travel fellowship. Thomson retuned to finish his degree at Harvard in 1922.

In 1925, Thomson returned to Paris where he lived for the next fifteen years. There he met Gertrude Stein with whom he composed one of his best know works, the opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" (1934). While in Paris, Thomson also began his long career in journalism, reporting on the Parisian music scene.

In 1940, Thomson returned to the United States, settling in New York City. There he worked as chief music critic for the New York Herald Tribune from 1940-1957. During this time he also composed the opera "The Mother of Us All" (1947).

Thomson wrote several books and won many prestigious awards. His published work includes, his autobiography Virgil Thomson (1966), American Music Since 1910 (1971), and the Virgil Thomson Reader, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981. Thomson won the Pulitzer Prize for his film score of "Louisiana Story" (1948). He is also the recipient of the French Legion of Honor, and the Kennedy Center Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Virgil Thomson died in 1989.

From the guide to the Thomson, Virgil. Papers, 1962-1967, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

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Subjects:

  • Critics--Biography--Sources
  • Orchestral music--Scores and parts
  • Choruses, Secular (Equal voices, 4 parts), Unaccompanied
  • Critics--Correspondence
  • Piano--Studies and exercises
  • Choruses, Secular (Mixed voices, 4 parts) unaccompanied
  • Suites (Orchestra)--Scores
  • Electronic music
  • Motion picture music
  • Composition (Music)
  • Choruses, Sacred (Women's voices, 3 parts), Unaccompanied
  • Composers--Interviews
  • Piano music
  • Ballets--Scores
  • Cornet with band, Arranged--Scores
  • Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
  • Canons, fugues, etc. (Orchestra), Arranged--Scores
  • Canons, fugues, etc. (Vocal)
  • Nonets (Piano, clarinets (3), flute, percussion, violin, viola, violoncello), Arranged--Scores
  • Motion picture music--Scores and parts
  • Symphonies--Scores
  • Operas--Excerpts--Scores
  • Music critics--Interviews
  • Violin and piano music--Scores
  • Musicians--Correspondence, reminiscences, etc
  • Music--Performance
  • String quartets--Scores
  • Suites (Chamber orchestra)--Scores
  • Choruses, Sacred (Mixed voices), Unaccompanied
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Songs (medium voice) with piano
  • Hymns--Instrumental settings
  • Motion picture music--Excerpts--Scores and parts
  • Orchestral music, Arranged--Scores
  • Composers--Archives
  • Opera
  • Violoncello and piano music, Arranged--Parts
  • Music--Instruction and study
  • Radio programs
  • Composers--Biography--Sources
  • Composers--Correspondence
  • Violin music
  • Vocal quartets, Unaccompanied
  • Composers--United States--Archives
  • Motion picture music--Excerpts--2-piano scores
  • Symphonies--Scores and parts
  • Christmas music
  • Violoncello and piano music, Arranged--Score
  • Ballet--Scores and parts
  • Musical sketches
  • Music critics
  • Carols
  • Orchestral music--Scores
  • Hymns, English
  • Woodwind quartets (Clarinets (4))--Scores and parts
  • Sonatas (piano)
  • Vocal trios, Unaccompanied
  • Choruses, sacred (mixed voices)
  • Music--20th century
  • Fanfares
  • Dance music--Scores and parts
  • Suites (Orchestra)--Scores and parts
  • Motion picture music--Excerpts--Scores

Occupations:

  • Composers
  • Conductor
  • Arrangers
  • Music critics
  • Collector
  • Composers (Music)

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge (as recorded)
  • France--Paris (as recorded)
  • Australia (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)