B0858. Winthrop Sargeant. In Spite of Myself, A Personal Memoir. New York, Doubleday, 1970. 264pp. DJ.
“Winthrop Sargeant was an articulate and independent conservative in his critical tastes. He was a champion of such consonant, directly emotive composers as Gian Carlo Menotti, Carlisle Floyd and Vittorio Giannini. He also published one of the first serious studies of jazz in his book JAZZ: HOT AND HYBRID, which appeared in 1938.
During his 37-year tenure at THE NEW YORKER, Mr. Sargeant not only served as the magazine's music critic for nearly a quarter century, but also published a number of profiles, including ones on the film maker Vittorio de Sica, the photographer Richard Avedon, the anthropologist Margaret Mead and the Zen philosopher D. T. Suzuki. Mr. Sargeant had a pronounced interest in Eastern philosophies and, in 1979, translated the BHAGAVAD-GITA from the original Sanskrit into English.
Mr. Sargeant studied violin with Albert Elkus in San Francisco and Felix Prohaska and Lucien Capet in Europe. In 1922, he joined the violin section of the San Francisco Symphony; at 18, he was the orchestra's youngest member. A few years later he was playing with the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York under Willem Mengelberg and Arturo Toscanini.
He wrote for MUSICAL AMERICA, THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE, THE NEW YORK AMERICAN and TIME magazine, which he served as music editor from 1937 to 1945. He then became a general correspondent for LIFE magazine and, in 1949, joined the staff of THE NEW YORKER. There, he wrote the column 'Musical Events' from 1949 through 1972, and continued as a staff writer until his death.
In addition to JAZZ: HOT AND HYBRID and GENIUSES, GODDESSES AND PEOPLE, Mr. Sargeant published LISTENING TO MUSIC (1958) and DIVAS: IMPRESSIONS OF TODAY'S SOPRANOS (1973). In 1970, he published an unusually candid autobiography entitled IN SPITE OF MYSELF: A PERSONAL MEMOIR."
- Tim Page, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 Aug., 1986