Francis Thorne

Francis Thorne

Francis Thorne (b. Bay Shore, New York, June 23, 1922) is an American composer of contemporary classical music and grandson of the writer Gustav Kobbé.


His father was a ragtime pianist and his grandfather a Wagner critic. He was a student of Paul Hindemith at Yale University,[1] before entering the U.S. Navy in 1942 where he served during World War II. After the war, he pursued a career on Wall Street and later, as a jazz pianist, after Duke Ellington heard him play the piano, and arranged an engagement for him at a New York jazz club.

From 1959 to 1961, he studied composition in Florence with American Composers Orchestra with Dennis Russell Davies. The orchestra focuses on performing new compositions by American composers.[1]

Many of his over 100 compositions are characterized by a distinct jazz flavor. He is also one of the first classical composers to write for the electric guitar and electric bass guitar (Sonar plexus, 1968; Liebesrock, 1968–69). A discussion of his works appears in R. Tomaro: Contemporary Compositional Techniques for the Electric Guitar in United States Concert Music.[2]

Thorne lives in Manhattan. The Francis Thorne Papers (1956–2004) are held by the New York Public Library.[3]



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Tomaro 2001.
  3. ^ New York Public Library


  • Tomaro, Robert. 1992. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 4 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press; New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, Inc. ISBN 0-333-73432-7 and ISBN 1-56159-228-5
  • Tomaro, Robert. 2001. "Thorne, Francis". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, 29 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, 25:. London: Macmillan; New York: Grove's Dictionaries. ISBN 1-56159-239-0 and ISBN 0-333-60800-3

External links

  • Francis Thorne's page at Theodore Presser Company
  • Sigma Alpha Iota's Francis Thorne page at the Wayback Machine (archived October 14, 2007)
  • Francis Thorne Papers in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
  • Francis Thorne interview by Bruce Duffie, May 3, 1986