Winthrop Sargeant

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Winthrop Sargeant (December 10, 1903, San Francisco, California – August 15, 1986, Salisbury, Connecticut) was an American music critic, violinist, and writer. He studied the violin in his native city with Albert Elkus and with Felix Prohaska and Lucien Capet in Europe. In 1922, at the age of 18, he became the youngest member of the San Francisco Symphony. He left there for New York City in 1926 where he became a violinist with the New York Symphony (1926–28) and later the New York Philharmonic (1928–30). He abandoned his performance career in favour of pursuing a career as a journalist, critic, and writer in 1930. He wrote music criticism for Musical America, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and The New York American. He was notably a music editor for Time magazine from 1937–1945, and he served as a senior writer for Life magazine from 1945–1949.[1]

From 1949-1972 he wrote the column Musical Events for The New Yorker. He continued to write music criticism for that publication up until his death in 1986 at the age of 82. His books included Jazz: Hot and Hybrid (1938), Geniuses, goddesses, and people (1949), Listening to music (1958), Jazz: a history (1964), In spite of myself: a personal memoir (1970), Divas (1973).

Sargeant also had a long-standing interest in the Bhagavad Gītā,[2] and published his own English translation (see article) in 1979.


Preceded by
Robert A. Simon
Music Critic of The New Yorker
Succeeded by
Andrew Porter