James Gibbons Huneker
James Huneker was born in Philadelphia, June 31, 1860, and died February 7, 1921.
He was a grandson of James Gibbons, the Irish poet and John Huneker, a well-known organist. He was related to Cardinal Gibbons.
He graduated from Roth’s Military Academy in 1873 and then studied lay and conveyancing.
He then decided to become a musician and devoted his attention to the piano, studying in Philadelphia with Michael Cross, and in Paris with the famous Chopin pupil, Georges Mathias.
Next he became attached to the National Conservatory in New York where he was associated with Rafael Joseffy for ten years.
Little by little he devoted his attention to musical criticism; and in 1902 he became the critic for the New York Sun, since which time he occupied similar positions on many leading papers.
His interest in literature, the stage and in painting led his remarkable mind into these fields and his opinions were eagerly read here and abroad.
Many of his journalistic writings were later collected and published in book form.
By many he has been ranked with the greatest English and continental critics.
His Chopin, The Man and His Music, 1900, Mezzotints in Modern Music, 1899, Overtones, 1904, Iconoclasts, 1905, Franz Liszt, 1911, and Steeplejack in 1921, are among his best known books.
Old Fogy, which originally appeared many years ago, was a nom de plume of Huneker in which he delighted. The Old Fogy sketches were collected and printed in a book form in 1913. They are especially brilliant and helpful criticisms to great use to piano students and piano teachers.
James Huneker was one of the most witty of all critics. He had the advantage over some others, owing to the fact that he actually knew music and could play. His style was always exceedingly interesting and “spicy.”