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The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
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Chapter XIV - Return of a Favored Son: Harvard University (Fall 1948-Spring (1957)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2020

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Summary

Welcome home say I with all my heart!

(Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe)

HARVARD BECKONS THOMPSON HOME

Harvard's invitation for Thompson to join its faculty was made with due consideration of the Music Department's needs and a careful look at a candidate pool winnowed over months to three finalists. Having met regularly during fall 1947 to discuss issues regarding an appointment, senior members of the Department authorized A. Tillman Merritt to forward their recommendation to Provost Paul H. Buck on January 15, 1948.

After many meetings in the fall months, at which the problem[s] of the future development of the Department of Music were discussed and carefully weighed, a final meeting was held on Monday, January 12, 1948 by the senior members of the Department for the purpose of selecting for recommendation to the Administration of Harvard College a candidate for the permanent post of Professor of Music. The meeting was attended by Professors Davison, Piston, Woodworth and Merritt.

At this meeting it was voted unanimously and enthusiastically to rec¬ommend Professor Randall Thompson of Princeton University for the new post.

In view of the fact that the Music Department at Harvard have en¬deavored increasingly to stress the vital importance of the combination of knowing and doing, of scholarship and practical musicianship, it has been surprisingly difficult, even after prolonged investigation and inquiry, to find more than a very few men who measure up to the standards that we have set ourselves in connection with this recommendation. We have found it easy to name excellent scholars; but most of them are lacking in practical musicianship. There are great numbers of practical musicians; but they are mostly lacking in musical knowledge, not to mention their lack of apprecia¬ tion and understanding of the place among the humanities and arts which music occupies in a liberal arts college such as Harvard.

The Music Department consider that the candidate for this permanent post should have the following qualifications: wide cultural background, practical musicianship, scholarly knowledge, the regular production of cre¬ative work, extended experience in successful teaching and intellectual in¬dependence and curiosity. We believe that Randall Thompson has all these qualifications in a combination singularly suited to the needs of this Depart¬ment.

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The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
, pp. 573 - 672
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

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