June 23, 1877|
Belmont, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||April 23, 1933
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Spouse(s)||Edith Howard Cushing|
|Relatives||Lucia Fairchild Fuller (brother)
Jairus Fairchild (grandfather)
Lucius Fairchild (uncle)
J. Blair Fairchild (June 23, 1877 – April 23, 1933) was an American composer and diplomat. Along with Charles Wakefield Cadman, Charles Sanford Skilton, Arthur Nevin, and Arthur Farwell, among others, he is sometimes grouped among the Indianists, although he had only a marginal association with their work.
Fairchild was a native of Massachusetts, the son of Boston investor Charles Fairchild. Fairchild was the brother of miniaturist Lucia Fairchild Fuller; their grandfather, Jairus C. Fairchild, was the first mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, while their uncle Lucius served three terms as the governor of the state.
He studied at Harvard College and in Florence before embarking, after a stint in business, on a career in the diplomatic corps. He first saw service in Constantinople before being transferred to Tehran; in 1903 he settled in Paris, where he pursued further studies in music before becoming a composer. He died in 1933.
Fairchild had studied music while at Harvard, attending classes taught by both John Knowles Paine and Walter Spalding. Upon his arrival in Paris he sought further study with Charles-Marie Widor. His musical style was based on music he had heard during his diplomatic travels, and among his early works were two tone poems upon Persian legends, Zal and Shah Feridoun. He also wrote much in smaller forms, including many pieces for chamber groups. He also wrote songs and choruses. Fairchild's music has been described as derived from the same influences as the work of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky.
In 1903, he was married to Edith Howard Cushing (1871–1920), the daughter of Thomas Forbes Cushing and the granddaughter of John Perkins Cushing, a wealthy Boston sea merchant, opium smuggler, and philanthropist.
Notes and references
- Villamil, Victoria Etnier (1993). A Singer's Guide to the American Art Song. Scarecrow Press. p. 156. ISBN 0-8108-5217-9.
- Howard, John Tasker (1939). Our American Music: Three Hundred Years of It. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
- "Digital Collection - Lucia Fairchild Fuller (1870-1924)". American Centuries. Memorial Hall Museum Online. 2008-08-03.
- "Lucia Fuller". Lucia Fuller. Artnet.com. 2008-08-03.
- "Blair Fairchild". Naxos composer biographies. Naxos Records. 2008-08-03.
- "American Indianists, vol. 1". American Indianists, vol. 1. Naxos Records. 2008-08-02.
- "WEDDINGS OF A DAY.; Fairchild--Cushing". The New York Times. January 2, 1903. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Obituary Notes | Mrs. Blair Fairchild". The New York Times. 24 November 1920. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Cushing, John Perkins, 1787-1862.John Perkins Cushing business records, 1832-1882 (inclusive): A Finding Aid". oasis.lib.harvard.edu. Harvard University Library. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
- "Forbes Family Papers, 1732-1931". www.masshist.org. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "BLAIR FAIRCHILD IS DEAD IN PARIS; American Composer Who Had Written in Many Forms Succumbs at 56. LEFT DIPLOMATIC SERVICE *o Was Author of First American Opera Produced at the Paris i Opera House". The New York Times. 24 April 1933. Retrieved 26 October 2017.