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Daniel Gregory Mason (November 20, 1873 – December 4, 1953) was an American composer and music critic.


Mason was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He came from a long line of notable American musicians, including his father Henry Mason, and his grandfather Lowell Mason. His cousin, John B. Mason, was a popular actor on the American and British stage. Daniel Mason studied under John Knowles Paine at Harvard University from 1891 to 1895, continuing his studies with George Chadwick and Percy Goetschius. He also studied with Arthur Whiting and later wrote a biographical journal article about him.[1] In 1894 he published his Opus 1, a set of keyboard waltzes, but soon after began writing about music as his primary career. He became a lecturer at Columbia University in 1905, where he would remain until his retirement in 1942, successively being awarded the positions of assistant professor (1910), MacDowell professor (1929) and head of the music department (1929-1940). He was elected a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity, the national fraternity for men in music, in 1914 by the Fraternity's Alpha chapter at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

After 1907, Mason began devoting significant time to composition, studying with Vincent D'Indy in Paris in 1913, garnering numerous honorary doctorates and winning prizes from the Society for the Publication of American Music and the Juilliard Foundation.

He died in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Mason composed "Ode to Big Business", a song for men's voices, in 1930.

List of books[]

  • From Grieg to Brahms (New York, 1902, 2/1927/R)
  • Beethoven and his Forerunners (New York, 1904, 2/1930)
  • The Romantic Composers (New York, 1906)
  • with T.W. Surette : The Appreciation of Music (New York, 1907)
  • The Orchestral Instruments (New York, 1908)
  • A Child's Guide to Music (New York, 1909)
  • A Neglected Sense in Piano Playing (New York, 1912)
  • with M.L. Mason : Great Modern Composers (New York, 1916, 2/1968)
  • Contemporary Composers (New York, 1918)
  • Short Studies of Great Masterpieces (New York, 1918)
  • Music as a Humanity (New York, 1920)
  • From Song to Symphony (New York, 1924)
  • Artistic Ideals (New York, 1925)
  • The Chamber Music of Brahms (New York, 1928/R)
  • The Dilemma of American Music and Other Essays (New York, 1928)
  • Tune in, America (New York, 1928/R)
  • Music in my Time, and Other Reminiscences (New York, 1938)
  • The Quartets of Beethoven (New York, 1947)


  • Boris Schwartz and N.E. Tawa, "Daniel Gregory Mason (ii). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians online.
  1. Mason, D. G. "Arthur Whiting". The Musical Quarterly. 23 (January 1937), pp. 26-36.

Further reading[]

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