Samuel Simons Sanford (15 March 1849 – 6 January 1910) was an American pianist and educator.
He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He studied piano in New York with William Mason (son of Lowell Mason and student of Franz Liszt and Ignaz Moscheles). He went to Paris and studied with Alfred Jaëll, Louis Plaidy (teacher of Hans von Bülow and many others), Théodore Ritter (another student of Liszt), and Édouard Batiste. In 1869, he became acquainted with Anton Rubinstein, and later studied with him. He travelled with Rubinstein during his first American tour in 1872-73. Ignacy Jan Paderewski changed his execution of octave playing after hearing Sanford play, and once described Sanford as the most musically gifted person he ever knew.
Sanford brought Sir Edward Elgar's music to American attention through the brothers Walter and Frank Damrosch and Theodore Thomas. He was instrumental in having Elgar awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Yale University in 1905; at the conferral ceremony on 28 June, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 was played, instituting the tradition of playing noble processional music at graduation ceremonies. Later that year, Elgar returned the compliment by dedicating his Introduction and Allegro to Sanford.
Sanford joined the Yale Music Faculty as Professor of Applied Music in 1894, along with Horatio Parker as Professor of Theory. During the sixteen years he worked at Yale, he refused to be paid any salary as he was independently wealthy.
He died at home on 6 January 1910 after a long illness.
In 1972 Yale University instituted the Samuel Simons Sanford Medal (usually referred to as the Sanford Medal), to honour celebrated concert artists and distinguished members of the music profession. Recipients have included:
- 1975: Doriot Anthony Dwyer
- 1983: Louis Krasner
- 1983: Maureen Forrester
- 1991: Richard F. French
- 1997: Dorothy DeLay
- 1999: Keith Wilson
- 2000: H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
- 2002: Lili Chookasian
- 2003: Andrew Litton
- 2005: Robert Blocker
- 2005: Richard Stoltzman
- 2010: Vivian Perlis
- 2013: Willie Ruff
- Emanuel Ax, Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Richard Goode, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Eugene Ormandy, Mstislav Rostropovich, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti, Randall Thompson, and Virgil Thomson.
- "Samuel Simons Sanford". ancestry.com. Ancestry. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
- Whitehead, James Beswick (2 July 2001). "Elgar's English Twilight, an Idyll, or Dream Interludes of a Knightly Character: Esoteric strands in a Nationalist composer with some new light on the text of the Nazarene Oratorios". Archived from the original on 11 January 2009.
- "History of the Yale School of Music". Yale University. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008.
- "History". Yale School of Music, Yale University. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- "S. S. Sanford Dead: Yale Professor of Music Succumbs to Long Illness". New York Tribune. 7 January 1910. p. 7.
- "Doriot Anthony Dwyer: Flute Faculty". The Boston Conservatory. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Krasner, Louis, 1903-1995. Louis Krasner papers, 1917-1995: Guide". OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System. Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University. 11 February 2015.
- Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2001). The International Who's Who of Women 2002. Psychology Press. ISBN 1857431227.
- Lumley, Elizabeth, ed. (2003). Canadian Who’s Who 2003. University of Toronto Press.
- "Richard French, musicologist who supported music libraries". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. Yale University. 29 (32). June 15, 2001.
- "Richard F. French, Musicologist: 1915-2001". Newsletter. Harvard University Department of Music. 1 (2). Summer 2001.
- "Transitions: Dorothy DeLay, beloved violin teacher". FanFaire webzine. FanFaire LLC.
- "Dean honors music-loving Thai king". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. Yale University. 28 (22). February 25, 2000.
- "School of Music, 2002–2003" (PDF). Bulletin of Yale University. 98. Yale University. July 20, 2002. p. 61.
- "Litton to be awarded Sanford Medal during Walton Centenary Celebration" (Press release). AndrewLitton.com. October 11, 2003.
- "Robert Blocker, Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music & Professor of Piano". Yale School of Management, Yale University. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
- "Leading clarinetist to receive Sanford Medal: Richard Stoltzman will receive the award at a ceremony on September 1". TourDates.Co.UK. 31 August 2005.
- "VIVIAN PERLIS". Oral History of American Music (OHAM). Yale University. February 3, 2010.
- "Willie Ruff receives Sanford Medal". Yale School of Music, Yale University. May 24, 2013.
- "Tokyo Quartet, Peter Oundjian receive Sanford Medals". Yale School of Music, Yale University. January 23, 2013.
Previous recipients of the Sanford Medal include Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sherrill Milnes, Marilyn Horne, Emanuel Ax, and Richard Stoltzman.
- Brock, Wendell (January 26, 1999). "Passing of a musical giant: Robert Shaw’s genius created place for Atlanta on world stage". Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
- World-Renowned Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman was Presented Prestigious Sanford Medal by Yale School of Music on Thursday, September 1, 2005
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