Dorothy Dushkin Papers
Dorothy Brewster Smith was born in Chicago in 1903. She attended public schools in Glencoe and Winnetka, Illinois, and Bradford Academy in Massachusetts. She was graduated from Smith College with honors in music in 1925. A year later she went to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger, where she met her future husband, David Dushkin, another Boulanger student.
David Dushkin was born in 1898 in a part of Russia that is now part of Poland. He emigrated to New York City with his family as a young child and grew up helping his father to run a kosher butcher shop. He spent one year at City College of New York and served in the army medical corps.
After returning to the United States from Paris, Dorothy Smith and David Dushkin both taught music in the Chicago area. They married in 1930.
In 1931 the Dushkins founded the School of Musical Arts and Crafts in Winnetka with the intention of using experimental teaching methods to stimulate creativity. Students made instruments in a shop, played in ensembles, and did ear training through games and puzzles. The Dushkins built a school/residence in 1934. During their tenure, the school was renamed the Dushkin School of Music, and finally, the Winnetka School of Music. After their departure, the school was taken over by the parents and operated as the Music Center of the North Shore.
In 1952, the Dushkin family, which by then included four children (Lelah, Nadia, David Alex, and Amanda), moved to Weston, Vermont. There Dorothy and David began the Kinhaven School of Music, a summer school devoted to chamber, orchestral, and choral music for musically gifted young people. At Kinhaven, the Dushkins continued to experiment with and adapt the basics of music education, shaping an intensive seven-week musical experience. In 1962 the school became a non-profit corporation with an elected board of trustees.
Dorothy Dushkin composed intermittently throughout her adult life. Her musical drama, "Poltarnees," was performed at her Smith College commencement. While teaching and helping to run the music schools in Illinois and Vermont, she composed many works for a wide variety of ensembles, instrumental and vocal, often tailoring her compositions to the needs of young novices. These works have been performed regularly at Kinhaven and all over the United States.
David Dushkin died in 1986. Dorothy Dushkin moved to Manchester, Vermont, in 1987 and later to Amherst, Massachusetts. Dorothy Dushkin died on March 3, 1992.