Winthrop Sargeant

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Winthrop Sargeant
Born(1903-12-10)December 10, 1903
DiedAugust 15, 1986(1986-08-15) (aged 82)
OccupationMusic critic, violinist
Spouse(s)Jane Smith Sargeant

Winthrop Sargeant (December 10, 1903 – August 15, 1986) was an American music critic, violinist, and writer.

Early life[edit]

Sargeant was born in San Francisco, California on December 10, 1903. He studied violin in his native city with Albert Elkus, and with Felix Prohaska and Lucien Capet in Europe.[1]


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 from 1926 to 1928 and later the New York Philharmonic from 1928 to 1930.[1]

He abandoned his performance career in favor 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.[1]

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. In 1940, William Saroyan lists him among "contributing editors" at Time in the play, Love's Old Sweet Song.[2]

From 1949–1972, he wrote the column Musical Events for The New Yorker. He continued to write music criticism for that publication 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).[3]

Other scholarship[edit]

Sargeant had a long-standing interest in the Bhagavad Gītā.[4] Sargeant published his own English translation of the Bhagavad Gītā (see article) in 1979.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Sargeant died at his home in Salisbury, Connecticut on August 15, 1986. He was survived by his wife, Jane Smith Sargeant, and his brother, Emmet Sargeant.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Page, Tim (19 August 1986). "Winthrop Sargeant, 82, Dies; Music Writer for New Yorker". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  2. ^ Saroyan, William (1940). Love's Old Sweet Song: A Play in Three Acts. Samuel French. p. 72. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  3. ^ Ellington, Duke (1995). The Duke Ellington Reader. Oxford University Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-19-509391-9. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  4. ^ Alden Whitman (March 1, 1972). "Music critic translates Bhagavad Gita for layman". The New York Times. p. 26.
  5. ^ "WINTHROP SARGEANT, 82, CRITIC OF MUSIC FOR 'THE NEW YORKER'". Sun-Sentinel. August 20, 1986. Retrieved 15 June 2020.

External links[edit]

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