Taylor, Deems

Taylor, Deems

(Joseph Deems Taylor), 1885–1966, American composer and music critic, b. New York City, grad. New York Univ., 1906. After other journalistic posts he was music critic (1921–25) of the New York World and editor (1927–29) of the magazine Musical America. In 1933 he was appointed music consultant for the Columbia Broadcasting System and later was a commentator (1936–43) for the radio broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic. His first widely recognized composition was the orchestral suite Through the Looking Glass (1919, rev. 1922). Two of his operas were commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera Company—The King's Henchman (1927), with libretto by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Peter Ibbetson (1931), based on George Du Maurier's novel. Taylor composed several other orchestral works and incidental music for a number of plays. He also appeared as the master of ceremonies in Walt Disney's motion picture Fantasia (1940). His books include Of Men and Music (1937), The Well-Tempered Listener (1940), and Some Enchanted Evenings (1953).


See biography by J. A. Pegolotti (2003)

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Taylor, (Joseph) Deems

(1885–1966) composer, writer/broadcaster on music; born in New York City. After graduating from New York University, he enjoyed some success with such compositions as Through the Looking Glass (1917). Continuing to compose, he also took up an active career as a music critic for various publications and later as a promoter of serious music on radio, becoming widely known as the intermission commentator for the New York Philharmonic broadcasts (1936–43); he even appeared in the Disney film Fantasia (1940). His music remained relatively conservative; several works, including the opera Peter Ibbetson (1931), were well-received in their time but have since fallen into neglect.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.