Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Philip T. Bezanson Papers
A native of Athol, Massachusetts, Philip T. Bezanson (1916-1975) graduated from Yale University School of Music in 1940. Following war work and military service during World War II, he enrolled in the graduate program in musical composition at the State University of Iowa, Iowa City. He joined its faculty in 1948 and received his Ph.D. there in 1951. In 1954 he was appointed head of the program in musical composition, and in 1961 he was made full professor. In 1964, Dr. Bezanson was appointed to the faculty and named head of the Music Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He held the latter post until 1973 when he returned to full-time teaching at the University for the last two years of his life.
Dr. Bezanson was active as a composer, particularly from 1946 through 1975, and he received several awards, including the prestigious Fromm Foundation award for his piano sonata in 1953. He also received a number of commissions, notably in 1953 from Dimitri Mitropoulos for a piano concerto, and in 1960 for the score to the opera "Golden Child", which was performed on national television on the Hallmark Theatre. In addition to his activities as a composer and teacher of music, Dr. Bezanson was active in the Music Teacher's National Association.
Dr. Bezanson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Yale in 1974. The Bezanson Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center of the University of Massachusetts Campus is named in his honor.