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Henry Dixon Cowell


Henry Dixon Cowell, musician. Recipient Henry Hadley medal for distinguished Service to American music National Association American Composers and Condrs., 1962.


Cowell, Henry Dixon was born on March 11, 1897 in Menlo Park, California, United States. Son of Harry Clayton Blackwood and Clarissa (Dixon) Cowell.


Self-educated; Doctor of Music (honorary), Wilmington College, 1953, Monmouth (Illinois) College, 1963.


Made professional debut with own secundal piano compositions, San Francisco, 1912, preceding first formal western music studies, University of California, Berkeley. Student Eastern music systems, New York, 1927, Berlin, 1931. Guggenheim fellow to study non-European music under von Hornbostel, U. Berlin, 1931-1932.

Rockefeller grant to survey music in Asia, 1956-1957. European debut, Leipzig, 1923, New York City, 1924. 1st major orchestra performance, Philadelphia Orchestra, 1932.

Major orchestral compositions commnd. and or performed, Europe, Asia, Latin-American, United States. 5 European tours, 1923-1933. Concert and lecturer tours, annually, United States, 1920-1936, 40-56, Asia, 1956-1957, 61.

Lecturer series Stanford, U. Berlin, Sorbonne, Moscow Conservatory, Bennington College, Bauhaus (Dessau), University of Southern California, many others. Lecturer New School, 1928-1962. Adjunct professor Columbia, 1951-1965.


  • Other Work

    • Author New Musical Resources, 1919, 30. American Composers on American Music, 1933. Nature of Melody, 1938.Charles Ives and His Music (with Sidney Cowell), 1954. Founder, editor: New Music Editions, 1927. Music critic Americana Annual, 1928-1934, Music Quarterly, 1948-1951.Mus. reviews, articles, since 1920. First published music, 22 piano pieces, Breitkopf & Hartel, 1922. Over 180 published compositions of which 32 works for orchestra: 19 symphonies.9 quartets, 7 concerti. 25 works developed American folk hymnody.


Married Sidney Hawkins Robertson, September 27, 1941.

Harry Clayton Blackwood Cowell

Clarissa (Dixon) Cowell

Sidney Hawkins Robertson