Theodore Chanler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Theodore Ward Chanler
BornApril 29, 1902
DiedJuly 27, 1961(1961-07-27) (aged 59)
EducationInstitute of Musical Art
Cleveland Institute of Music
Oxford University
Maria de Acosta Sargent
(m. 1931)
Parent(s)Winthrop Astor Chanler
Margaret Ward Terry
RelativesSee Astor family
AwardsGuggenheim fellowship

Theodore Ward Chanler (April 29, 1902 – July 27, 1961) was an American composer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Chanler was born on April 29, 1902, in Newport, Rhode Island.[2] He was a son of Major Winthrop Astor Chanler and Margaret Ward (née Terry) Chanler, an author and musician.[3] Theodore's godfather was President Theodore Roosevelt, who attended his christening in Newport in 1902.[4] Though born in Newport, his family shortly moved to Geneseo, New York, where he grew up at the family estate, Sweet Briar Farms.[5]

His paternal grandparents were Margaret Astor (née Ward) Chanler (1838–1875), a member of the Astor family, and John Winthrop Chanler (1826–1877), a U.S. Representative from New York.[6] His maternal grandparents were Louisa (née Ward) Crawford Terry and artist Luther Terry (d. 1900).[3][a] His grandmother was a half-sister of F. Marion Crawford and a niece of Julia Ward Howe.[7][8]

Chanler studied piano while a youngster in Boston, and then studied piano under Buhling and counterpoint under Goetschius at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City. From 1920 to 1923, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and between 1924 and 1927 in Europe (Oxford, then Paris under Nadia Boulanger).[5]


He became a music critic for the Boston Herald in 1934, and taught in Massachusetts in the 1940s and 1950s.[9] He was also a regular contributor to the American magazine Modern Music.[10]

Chanler's best-known works are his songs, which number about 50. He also composed a ballet, an opera (The Pot of Fat, 1955),[11] choral pieces, works for chamber ensemble, and piano solo pieces.[9][12] In 1940, he was awarded the League of Composers Town Hall Award for his song cycle, "Four Rhymes from Peacock Pie" and, in 1944, was the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship.[10]

Teaching career[edit]

From 1945 to 1947, he was on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He also taught at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In Paris in 1931,[5] Chanler was married to Maria Sargent (née de Acosta) (1880–1970),[13] the daughter of Ricardo de Acosta.[14] She was the sister of Aida de Acosta, Mercedes de Acosta, Rita de Acosta, and Mrs. Frederick Shaw of London.[15] Maria previously was married to Andrew Robeson Sargent, the son of Charles Sprague Sargent. Maria and Andrew had a child together, Ignatius Sargent (1914–1999),[16][17][14] who attended the Groton School and was a member of the class of 1937 at Harvard University. He married Frances Moffat in 1935.[18]

Chanler died at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on July 27, 1961.[10]


  1. ^ Her mother was the widow of sculptor Thomas Crawford, who died in 1857, and with whom she had four children including F. Marion Crawford and Mary Crawford Fraser.
  1. ^ Don Randel, The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Harvard, 1996, p. 152.
  2. ^ "Society at Home and Abroad". The New York Times. 24 August 1902. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Chanler, Margaret, 1862-1952. Margaret Chanler family papers, 1815-1939: Guide". Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ Morris Jr, Roy (2013). Declaring His Genius: Oscar Wilde in North America. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674067875. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Villamil, Victoria Etnier (2004). A Singer's Guide to the American Art Song: 1870-1980. Scarecrow Press. p. 94. ISBN 9781461655992. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  6. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. 1908. p. 473. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  7. ^ "MRS. W. A. CHANLER, AUTHOR, MUSICIAN; Niece of Julia Ward Howe and the Half-Sister of F. Marion Crawford Dies at 91". The New York Times. 20 December 1952. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ "F. Marion Crawford". The New York Times. 19 December 1897. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  9. ^ a b Greene, David Mason (1985). Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers. Reproducing Piano Roll Fnd. p. 321. ISBN 9780385142786. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d "Theodore Chanler Is Dead at 59; Composer, Critic and Teacher". The New York Times. 28 July 1961. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  11. ^ Berger, Arthur (15 May 1955). "Chanler Opera Receives Its Premiere --New Copland Work at M.I.T." The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  12. ^ Hoek, D. J. (2007). Analyses of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Music, 1940-2000. Scarecrow Press. p. 69. ISBN 9781461700791. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  13. ^ The American Catholic Who's who. NC News Service. 1947. p. 61. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  14. ^ a b "DIED. CHANLER --Maria de Acosta". The New York Times. 8 June 1970. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. ^ "DIED. DE ACOSTA--Mercedes". The New York Times. 11 May 1968. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Miss de Acosta a Bride" (PDF). The New York Times. November 7, 1909. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  17. ^ "Andrew R. Sargent Dies" (PDF). The New York Times. March 21, 1918. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "TROTH IS ANNOUNCED BY FRANCES MOFFAT; Graduate of Westover School Engaged to Ignatius Sargent, a Student at Harvard". The New York Times. 3 May 1935. Retrieved 22 February 2018.