William H. Sherwood

1854 – 1911

William hall Sherwood died January 1911, which occurred n Chicago on the eighth of January. It is difficult at this time for us to find fitting words to express the deep sense of personal loss which this sad communication brings to us. “Death! the great proprietor of all”, has claimed our most distinguished native virtuoso for its own. We know that the many, many readers, who joined with us in the admiration of Mr. Sherwood’s priceless services to the art of music in America, will feel a similar sense of loss. His friendship with the founder of The Etude covered a lifetime. Like Dr. William Mason, B.J. Lang, Carl Reinecke, Carl Merz, and other great educators, he honored this journal by making it the mouthpiece for some of his best thoughts. Our last communication from he reported that, although upon a sick bed, he was engaged in an article for The Etude. The musicians of our country may well mourn such an irreplaceable loss.

William Hall Sherwood was born January 31, 1854, at Lyons, N.Y. His father, the Rev. L. H. Sherwood, was an accomplished musician and teacher, who founded the Lyons Musical Academy. The son studied with his father and also with Heimburger, Pychowski and Dr. William Mason in America. He then went to Europe where he studied for five years. Among his many teachers were Kullak, Weitzmann, Wuerst, Deppe, Richter, Karl Doppler, Scotson Clark and Franz Liszt. His experience with Liszt and with Kullak are recounted in the issues of The Etude for May and July 1908, and form two of the ablest articles ever contributed to this journal. Before returning to the United States, Mr. Sherwood played several concerts in Europe, and won the enthusiastic praise of many great musicians, including Grieg. His reappearance in the United States was made in 1876, and since then he has made innumerable concert tours in this country and Canada. He taught various times in New York, Boston (New England Conservatory), and finally in Chicago (Chicago Conservatory). Later (1897) he founded the Chicago Piano School.

Mr. Sherwood was one of the staunchest champions of the rights of Americans in music. He realized that American teachers were exceptionally successful in Europe, and that many of our native teachers in America have had educational advantages in this country and on the other side which could not be excelled. Yet he was forced to witness the procession of American pupils with their votive dollars wandering toward European musical shrines and neglecting our American teachers. His protests against this system were emphatic, and logical. He took full cognizance of the value of travel and residence abroad. He also never disparaged the abilities of the able teachers of Europe, but he left no word unsaid to condemn those pupils who deserted fine teachers in America to enter the classes of mediocre and unknown teachers in European capitals. In all this The Etude endorsed Mr. Sherwood to the fullest extent.

As a pianist Mr. Sherwood was one of the limited class of pianists who succeed in playing with authority and taste, and at the same time with the brilliancy demanded by the large concert room. His compositions were for the most part pianistic. He was a very forceful and individual teacher. Mr. Sherwood was one of the leading workers in the higher musical development of America. His labors can not be measured in words, nor can the results of his untiring efforts be comprehensively foreseen by the present generation.