Entity | Arrand Parsons

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Arrand Parsons was born on July 26, 1918, in Ellerbe, North Carolina. Parsons devoted his life to the study and teaching of music theory, joining the faculty of Northwestern University in 1946 and remaining until his retirement in 1984. He died on June 22, 2001.

Parsons was given the first name of Pleasants but dropped it early in life. Parsons obtained a B.S. degree in music education at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1939, and an M.Ed. from Graduate Teachers College in 1944. From Northwestern University he earned an M.Mus. in theory and composition in 1946 and a Ph.D. in 1953. His doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Dissonance in the Fantasies and Sonatas of Henry Purcell.”

From 1938 to 1943 and 1944 to 1945 Parsons served as director of music at the Pleasant Hill (Tennessee) Academy. He came to Northwestern University as an instructor in 1946 and was promoted to assistant professor (1954), associate professor (1958), and professor (1964). All his appointments were in the theory of music. Parsons served as assistant dean of the School of Music from 1964 to 1967. He retired from Northwestern University in 1984 with the rank of professor emeritus.

Parsons annotated the programs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for thirty years and of the Ravinia Festival for almost as long.

He and Margaret Hutchinson were married on June 10, 1944. They had two children: Mary Agnes Nichter and Martha Weiland. Arrand Parsons died on June 22, 2001.

From the guide to the Arrand Parsons (1918-2001) Papers, 1942-1988, (Northwestern University Archives)

Born: 1918, Ellerbe
Died: 2001

Alternate Names: Parsons, Arrand, Parsons, Pleasants Arrand
Occupation(s): music theorist, university teacher
Employer(s): Northwestern University