Virgil Thomson


Born: November 25, 1896; Kansas City, MO   Died: September 30, 1989; New York, NY  
Perhaps best known for his collaborations with author Gertrude Stein, American composer and music critic Virgil Thomson was born in Kansas City. He began playing piano at the age of five and began taking lessons with local teachers at age 12. He studied organ from 1909 until 1917, and again in 1919. As a young man, Thomson worked as an organist in his family's church of Calvary Baptist, as well as in other churches throughout Kansas City. After Read more attending Central High School from 1908 to 1913, Thomson enrolled at a local junior college, where he studied from 1915 to 1917, and again in 1919. During World War I, Thomson enrolled in the Army, where he served in a field artillery unit. He also received training in radio telephony at Columbia University and in aviation in Texas. The war ended shortly before Thomson was to leave for France.

In the fall of 1919, Thomson enrolled at Harvard University, where he met three individuals who would come to have a profound influence on the young musician. The first of these was Edward Burlingame Hill, with whom Thomson studied orchestration and modern French music. Archibald T. Davison was the conductor of the Harvard Glee Club, a group with which Thomson spent three years as assistant and accompanist. Thomson also came into contact with S. Foster Damon, a Blake Scholar who introduced him to the music of Satie and the writings of Gertrude Stein. Thomson began to compose in 1920, while still a student at Harvard.

Thomson spent the summer of 1921 touring Europe with the Glee Club. As the tour wound down, Thomson decided to remain, and under a John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship, he studied organ with Nadia Boulanger and counterpoint privately. During this time, he continued to compose and had his first critical writings published by the Boston Transcript. Upon his return the U.S., Thomson returned to Harvard and became organist/choirmaster at King's Chapel in Boston. After his graduation from Harvard in 1923, a grant from the Juilliard School allowed him to go to New York, where he studied conducting with Chalmers Clifton and counterpoint with Rosario Scalero.

From 1925 to 1940, aside from occasional visits to the U.S., Thomson resided in Paris. It was there, in 1926, that he met Stein. The two began to plan an opera, the result of which is Four Saints in Three Acts, perhaps Thomson's most famous work. For a period of approximately seven years after the composition of Four Saints in Three Acts, Thomson explored the problems of "pure" music as he worked on expanding his technical facility as a composer, especially in regards to writing for string instruments. During the late 1930s, Thomson returned to a more nationalistic vein with the scores to two films, The Plow That Broke the Plain and The River, and a ballet, Filling Station.

In October of 1940, Thomson became music critic for The New York Herald Tribune. Although he continued to compose during his 14 years at the post, Thomson established himself as one of the foremost critical writers of the era. His writings, which are characterized by a brilliant and at times deeply provocative, but always highly opinionated whit, furnished material for three anthologies; The Musical Scene, The Art of Judging Music and Music, and Right and Left. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Thomson traveled extensively as a guest lecturer, or a conference participant, all the while continuing to conduct, write articles, and compose. Read less
Thomson: The Plow That Broke The Plains, The River / Gil-Ordóńez, Post-Classical Ensemble
Release Date: 10/30/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559291   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $12.99
CD: $11.49
In Stock
On sale!   $12.99   CD:  $11.49 Add CD to Cart

American Classics - Thomson: A Continuum Portrait
Release Date: 09/20/2005   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8559198   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $12.99
CD: $9.99
In Stock
On sale!   $12.99   CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

Release Date: 02/01/1994   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: CRC 2180   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $16.99
CD: $15.49
In Stock
On sale!   $16.99   CD:  $15.49 Add CD to Cart

Browse 1-25 of 76 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4
  • 1.
    Composer-Critics of the New York Herald Tribune
    Label: Other Minds Records   Catalog: 1024 Release Date: 05/19/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Bowles,  Lou Harrison,  Virgil Thomson,  Peggy Glanville-Hicks  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert C. Mueller,  David Glazer,  William Masselos,  Elden Bailey  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Surinach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Percussion Group,  New Music String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
    Back Order
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 2.
    Thomson: Four Saints in Three Acts / Rose, Boston Modern Orchestra Project
    Label: Bmop/Sound   Catalog: 1049 Release Date: 12/13/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    Performer:  Sarah [Soprano Vocal] Kornfeld,  Graham [Bass Baritone Vocal] Wright,  Kelli [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Geoghegan,  Mauri [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Tetreault  ... 
    Conductor:  Gil Rose
    On sale! $52.98
    SuperAudio CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $52.98   SuperAudio CD:  $39.99 Add to Cart

  • 3.
    American Psalmody of the 20th Century / Gloriae Dei Cantores
    Label: Paraclete Recordings   Catalog: 8299 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Samuel Adler,  Charles Ives,  Alan Hovhaness,  Daniel Pinkham  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gloria Dei Cantores Schola Choir
    CD: $39.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $39.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 4.
    Frederica von Stade: The Complete Columbia Recital Albums
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518341 Release Date: 06/03/2016   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Ernest Chausson,  Franz Schubert,  Alessandro Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Frederica Von Stade,  Charles Wadsworth,  Judith Blegen,  Joel del Maria  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Antonio de Almeida,  Raymond Leppard,  Mario Bernardi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wynton Marsalis Septet,  Perspectives Ensemble
    On sale!
    CD: $44.49
    In Stock
    On sale!   $46.98   CD:  $44.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 5.
    Songs to Fill the Void / Barefield, Hague
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1625 Release Date: 05/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson,  Charles Ives,  Scott Wheeler,  Theodore Chanler  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Barefield,  Carolyn Hague
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 6.
    Bowles: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 / Invencia Piano Duo
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8559786 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Bowles,  Virgil Thomson,  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Andrey Kasparov,  Oksana Lutsyshyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Invencia Piano Duo
    On sale! $12.99
    CD: $9.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $12.99   CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 7.
    The Complete Songs of Virgil Thomson for Voice and Piano / Pelletier, Osborn
    Label: New World Records   Catalog: 80775 Release Date: 02/09/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    On sale! $61.98
    CD: $48.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $61.98   CD:  $48.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 8.
    The Piano in America / Dubal, Waldoff
    Label: Arkiv   Catalog: 70002 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Brown,  James Hewitt,  Louis Moreau Gottschalk,  Richard Hoffman  ... 
    Performer:  David Dubal,  Stanley Waldoff
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 9.
    Virgil Thomson: The Mother of Us All / Osgood, Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1486 Release Date: 04/08/2014  
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    Performer:  Scott Russell,  Alexander Frankel,  Noragh Devlin,  Addison Hamilton  ... 
    Conductor:  Steven Osgood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Manhattan Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $41.98
    CD: $35.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $41.98   CD:  $35.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 10.
    Panorama Of American Piano Music / Yvar Mikhashoff
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 262 Release Date: 12/03/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Leo Ornstein,  Charles Tomlinson Griffes,  Percy Aldridge Grainger,  Aaron Copland  ... 
    Performer:  Yvar Mikhashoff
    On sale! $59.98
    CD: $52.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $59.98   CD:  $52.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 11.
    Leonard Slatkin Conducts American Portraits - Copland
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 60983 Release Date: 10/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  William Schuman,  Dudley Buck,  Edwin Eugene Bagley  ... 
    Performer:  H. Norman Schwarzkopf
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 12.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $181.49
    Low Stock
    CD:  $181.49 Add CD to Cart

  • 13.
    Remembering The Beach
    Label: Mark Custom Recording Service,   Catalog: 50279 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson,  Michael Colgrass,  David Maslanka
    Performer:  Kevin Cobb
    Conductor:  William Berz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rutgers Wind Ensemble
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 14.
    American Spirit: Roots & Transformations
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8505233 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Vincent Persichetti,  Roy Harris,  Ernst Bacon  ... 
    Performer:  Barry Scott,  Sharon Mabry,  Roger Wiesmeyer,  Anthony LaMarchina  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Angel Gil-Ordóńez,  Thomas Wilkins,  Peter Boyer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra,  Nashville Symphony Chorus,  Post-Classical Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $48.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $48.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 15.
    Quadrants: Modern String Quartets
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5883 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marie Incontrera,  Michael G. Cunningham,  Alan Beeler,  Ulf Grahn  ... 
    Conductor:  Vit Muzik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston String Quartet,  New England String Quartet,  Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Players  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 16.
    American Song / Meriel Dickinson, Peter Dickinson
    Label: Heritage   Catalog: 231 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Gershwin,  Elliott Carter,  Virgil Thomson,  John Cage  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Dickinson,  Meriel Dickinson
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 17.
    The Legacy Of Nadia Boulanger / United States Army Field Band Soldiers' Chorus
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 61382 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Adolphus Hailstork,  Daniel Pinkham,  David Diamond,  David Conte  ... 
    Performer:  Mark Dwyer,  Rose Ryon,  William Gabbard
    Conductor:  Daniel Toven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Army Field Band Soldiers' Chorus
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 18.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 411 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson,  Robert Helps
    Conductor:  James Bolle,  Zoltán Rozsnyai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 19.
    Louisiana: A Pianist's Journey / Kenneth Boulton
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1171 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Walter Niemann,  Roy Spaulding Stoughton,  John Parsons Beach,  Ferde Grofé  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Boulton
    CD: $24.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $24.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 20.
    Thomson: Three Pictures / Gil Rose, Boston Modern Orchestra Project
    Label: Bmop/Sound   Catalog: 1018 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    Conductor:  Gil Rose
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Modern Orchestra Project
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 21.
    Label: Composers Recordings, Inc. (Cri)   Catalog: 207 Release Date: 07/01/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    Performer:  Paul Ingraham,  Peter Simenauer,  Lillian Fuchs,  Frederic Mills  ... 
    Conductor:  Virgil Thomson
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 22.
    Heaven Is Music - Choral And Vocal Music Of Virgil Thomson / Gregg Smith Singers
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 1166 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Virgil Thomson
    Performer:  Rosalind Rees
    Conductor:  Gregg Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gregg Smith Singers
    On sale! $19.98
    CD: $16.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $19.98   CD:  $16.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 23.
    Greatest Hits Of The 1900s / Kapp, Philharmonia Virtuosi
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 42125 Release Date: 06/25/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Jacques Ibert,  Gabriel Fauré,  Virgil Thomson  ... 
    Performer:  Maureen McGovern,  David Burgess,  Bob James
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Virtuosi
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 24.
    Simple Gifts / Fullington, The Tudor Choir
    Label: Gothic Records   Catalog: 49265 Release Date: 04/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Brackett,  Hammond, Thomas, Jr.,  Susanna Brady,  Traditional  ... 
    Conductor:  Doug Fullington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tudor Choir
    CD: $17.99
    Low Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 25.
    Aliyah! Israel / Gloriae Dei Cantores
    Label: Paraclete Recordings   Catalog: 3417 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Samuel Adler,  Alan Hovhaness,  Darius Milhaud  ... 
    Performer:  Emily Lewis,  Fred Fried,  Siobhan Kelleher,  Linda Houle
    Conductor:  Elizabeth C. Patterson
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

1 2 3 4