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Biography of

Randall Thompson

21 apr 1899 (New York) - 9 jul 1984 (Boston)
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Randall Thompson
Born April 21, 1899(1899-04-21)
New York, New York
Died July 9, 1984 (aged 85)
Boston, Massachusetts
Resting place Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
42°22′12″N 71°08′40″W / 42.3701°N 71.1445°W / 42.3701; -71.1445
Nationality American
Known for choral composition
Spouse Margaret Quayle Whitney
Children 4 Randall Jr., Rosie, Whitney, Varney
Parents Dr. Daniel Varney Thompson & Grace B. Randall
Relatives Daniel Varney Thompson, Jr., brother
For the Canadian boxer see Randall Thompson (boxer)

Randall Thompson (April 21, 1899 – July 9, 1984) was an American composer, particularly noted for his choral works.



He attended Harvard University, became assistant professor of music and choir director at Wellesley College, and received a doctorate in music from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. He went on to teach at the Curtis Institute of Music, at the University of Virginia, and at Harvard University. He is particularly noted for his choral works. He was an honorary member of the Rho Tau chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity at Appalachian State University.

Thompson composed three symphonies and numerous vocal works including The Testament of Freedom, Frostiana, and The Peaceable Kingdom, inspired by Edward Hicks's painting. His most popular and recognizable choral work is his anthem, Alleluia, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He also wrote the operas Solomon and Balkis and The Nativity According to St. Luke.

Leonard Bernstein was one of Thompson's students at Harvard. His other notable students include Samuel Adler, Leo Kraft, Juan Orrego-Salas, John Davison, Thomas Beveridge, Charles Edward Hamm, George Lynn, William P. Perry, Christopher King, Frederic Rzewski, and David Borden.

In honor of Thompson's vast influence on male choral music, on May 2, 1964 he became the first recipient of the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit[1]. Established in 1964, this award sought "to bring a declaration of appreciation to an individual each year that has made a significant contribution to the world of music and helped to create a climate in which our talents may find valid expression." He was also a recipient of Yale University's Sanford Medal.[2]


Choral works



  • Symphony No. 1 - 1931
  • Symphony No. 2 - 1931
  • Symphony No. 3 - 1947-49

String Quartets

  • Quartet no. 1 in D minor
  • Quartet no. 2 in G major (1967)


  1. ^ "The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit Recipients". 
  2. ^ Leading clarinetist to receive Sanford Medal

External links

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Randall Thompson. Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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