Edward J. Dent

Edward Dent, by E. X. Kapp (courtesy of The Fitzwilliam Museum)

Edward J. Dent (1876-1957) studied music at Cambridge, becoming a fellow of King’s College in 1902 and professor of music in 1926. He made a marked impression with his first monograph on Alessandro Scarlatti (1905), and developed a distinguished career as a musicologist including studies of Mozart operas, English opera, and Ferruccio Busoni.

Dent’s activities extended beyond academia. Dent served as the founding chairman of the International Society for Contemporary Music (1922-1938), and as the president International Musicological Society (1932-1949). He was the driving force behind amateur productions of The Magic Flute (in 1911) and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (in 1920), and continued to be a passionate supporter of opera performances in English, many of which used his own translations.

He was remembered by friends and students as a generous, witty, and enthusiastic character. Dent continued to host meetings of the editorial board of the New Oxford History of Music and Musica Britannica in his London flat, despite badly declining hearing.


See Jack Allan Westrup, ‘Edward Joseph Dent; 16 July, 1876-22 August, 1957’, Acta Musicologica, 29(4) (Oct. – Dec., 1957), 109-110

Harold Rutland, ‘Edward J. Dent’, The Musical Times, 98(1376) (Oct. 1957), 571

Katharine Thomson, ‘Dent’ The Musical Times, 121(1651) (Sep.1980), 549