William Ashbrook

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William Ashbrook (January 28, 1922 – March 31, 2009) was an American musicologist, writer, journalist, and academic. He was perhaps best noted as a historian, researcher and popularizer of the works of Italian opera composer Gaetano Donizetti.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Gaetano Donizetti 19th-century Italian opera composer

Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.

Contents

Biography

Ashbrook was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, and a Master's degree in musicology from Harvard University in 1947. [1]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

Ashbrook began an academic career by teaching humanities and then, for nearly twenty years, was a member of the English Department at Indiana State University at Terre Haute. He retired in 1974 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus. From 1974 to 1984 he was professor of opera at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (now the University of the Arts).

Indiana State University Public university in Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

Indiana State University (ISU) is a public university in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was founded in 1865 and offers over 100 undergraduate majors and more than 75 graduate and professional programs. Indiana State is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral/Research University.

University of the Arts (Philadelphia) university in Philadelphia, USA

The University of the Arts (UArts) is a university of visual and performing arts based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its campus makes up part of the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, Philadelphia. Dating back to the 1870s, it is one of the oldest schools of art or music in the United States.

Ashbrook died in Denver, Colorado at the age of 87. [2]

Ashbrook as opera scholar

Although Ashbrook trained to be an English professor, he had a lifelong interest in Italian opera. In reference to his pioneering work in opera scholarship, musicologist Philip Gossett described him as "the father of us all" [1] and his scholarly publications in the field of music far overshadowed his contributions in other areas.

Philip Gossett American musicologist

Philip Gossett was an American musicologist and historian, and Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago. His lifelong interest in 19th-century Italian opera began with listening to Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in his youth. Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera, a major work on the subject, won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society as best book on music of 2006.

Opera studies were his lifelong passions, especially the life and operas of 19th-century Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. One result was that "the town of Bergamo, inspired by the local Donizetti Foundation, did itself proud by proclaiming him an honorary citizen of Donizetti's birthplace." [1] He is best remembered for his 1965 biographical work on Donizetti and for the books The Operas of Puccini (1968; rev. 1985) and Donizetti and His Operas (1982), the latter described by Gossett as "for any serious study of a Donizetti opera today, it is with (this book) that one must begin". [1]

Bergamo Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Bergamo is a city in the alpine Lombardy region of northern Italy, approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Milan, and about 30 km (19 mi) from Switzerland, the alpine lakes Como and Iseo and 70 km (43 mi) from Garda and Maggiore. The Bergamo Alps begin immediately north of the city.

Ashbrook was also a regular contributor to several classical music journals, magazines, and other publications, including Opera News , Opera , Donizetti Society Journal and the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians . He was editor of Opera Quarterly from 1993 to 1997.

Publications

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Gossett, Philip, "In Memory of William Ashbrook", Opera Quarterly, November 18, 2009
  2. "Obituaries: Composer Nicholas Maw dies at seventy-three; voice teacher Richard Miller; scholar William Ashbrook; veteran singers Eric Garrett and Robert Nagy". Opera News . 74 (2). August 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.