Deems Taylor: A Biography

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Composer, critic, author, and radio personality, (Joseph) Deems Taylor (1885-1966) was one of the most influential figures in American culture from the 1920s through the 1940s. A self-taught composer, the New York City native wrote such pieces as the orchestral suite Through the Looking Glass and the acclaimed operas The King's Henchman and Peter Ibbetson, the first commissions ever offered by the Metropolitan Opera. Taylor's operatic works were among the most popular and widely performed of his day, yet he achieved greatest fame and recognition as the golden-voiced intermission commentator for the New York Philharmonic radio broadcasts and as the on-screen host of Walt Disney's classic film Fantasia. With his witty, clever, charming, and informative but unpatronizing manner, he almost single-handedly introduced classical music to millions of Americans across the nation.

In this first biography of Taylor, James A. Pegolotti brings to life the remarkably multi-talented man within the context of his times. The captivating portrait recounts his formative years in the Bronx, his college years at New York University, where he composed four successive varsity musicals, his journalistic career first as a writer for the New York Tribune Sunday Magazine and then as the powerful music critic for the New York World, and his musical triumphs. Pegolotti also details Taylor's stints as editor of Musical America, president of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), best-selling author of Of Men and Music and other books, collaborator with Disney and Leopold Stokowski on Fantasia, and even judge for the Miss America pageant. He describes how Taylor used his critic's pulpit to champion American music, opera, and musicians, and also chronicles his colorful personal life, including his third marriage at age sixty to a twenty-year-old costume designer.

Enlivened with such figures as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ayn Rand, and Taylor's fellow Algonquin Round Table tastemakers, this in-depth, well-balanced, and objective biography will stand as the definitive work on the great American composer-critic.

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Deems Taylor: a biography

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Pegolotti (librarian emeritus, Western Connecticut State Univ.) rescues American composer, music critic, and radio commentator Deems Taylor (1885-1966) from obscurity through this well-researched ... Read full review


The Early Years of Joseph Deems Taylor 18851906
The Emergence of Taylor as Composer and Writer
The War Years 19161919
The Theater Beckons Again 19201921
The World Years 19221923
The World Years 1923 1924
The World Years 19241925
The Kings Henchman 19251927
Rough Times after Peter Ibbetson 1931 1934
Hollywood Colette dArville and Ramuntcho
The Fantasia Years 19381940
Taylor as Author Father and Composer
A Life with Friends the 1 950s
Selected Bibliography

The Road to Peter Ibbetson 19271931

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Հեղինակի մասին (2003)

James A. Pegolotti is Librarian Emeritus at Western Connecticut State University. He lives in Danbury, Connecticut. Gerard Schwarz is music director of both the Seattle Symphony and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

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