chapter 6
QUINCY PORTER: COMPOSER-PROFESSOR

In the day-to-day sketches of my students I have been brought face to face with far more musical problems, of far more varieties, than I should have encountered in a lifetime of composition.

-- Halsey Stevens, "The Composer in Academia: Reflections on a Theme of Stravinsky"

When John Knowles Paine was hired by Harvard University to become university organist and to teach a noncredit course in music in 1862, an important aspect of American musical life began. During the 1875-1876 academic year, music was added to the Harvard curriculum as a course of study, and Paine became America's first professor of music.

The teaching of music in schools is a positive element in itself. Much of the growth of music in America, in fact, can be traced to what has taken place in the educational institutions. From the standpoint of the composer, however, there are some important questions concerning the viability of artistic creation in a scholarly context. One is the question of what the academic environment does to the composer's creativity. Not only is teaching a time-consuming activity, but the "academic" atmosphere, with its emphasis on continuous verbalization, may affect the composer-professor's creative life. There is also the problem of composing "academic" music, which composers who becomes teachers supposedly write. Finally, there is the question of whether or not a composer-professor can

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Essays on American Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in American History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Plates xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Prologue 3
  • Chapter 1 The Yankee Tunesmiths 17
  • Chapter 2 Louis Moreau Gottschalk 49
  • Chapter 3 The American-Europeans 73
  • Chapter4 Charles Tomlinson Griffes 87
  • Chapter 5 Charles Edward Ives 105
  • Chapter 6 Quincy Porter: Composer-Professor 133
  • Chapter 7 Virgil Thomson 161
  • Chapter 8 The New Eclecticism 179
  • Epilogue 211
  • Notes 215
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 247
  • About the Author 261
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