Perkins, Henry Southwick



American teacher, writer, composer and conductor; born in Stockbridge, Vermont. His father was a singingmaster, and his mother a soprano singer of merit. He entered the Boston Music School in 1857. There he studied voice with B. F. Baker, J. Q. Wetherbee and Dr. Chas. A. Guilmette; piano, harmony and composition with John W. Lufts and J. D. C. Parker; violin with Wm. Schultze; and was graduated with the highest honors in his class in 1861. He began his career as a teacher of voice, piano and composition. For five years, from 1867, he was professor of music in the Iowa State University and director of the Normal Academy of Music at the same place. From 1870 to 1874 he held the position of director of the Kansas Normal Academy of Music at Leavenworth. For twenty-five years much of his time was devoted to conducting musical festivals and conventions in all parts of the country. He also conducted normal music schools. In 1875 he went to Europe to observe teaching methods, and studied voice with Wartel in Paris and Vannuccini in Florence.


In 1876 he was one of the organizers and a charter member of the Music Teachers' National Association, of which he has been secretary-treasurer since 1887. His history of this Association is a work of authority. In 1887 the Western College of Iowa conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music. In 1886 he was the leading organizer of the Illinois Music Teachers* Association, and served as its president for the first ten consecutive years. Dr. Perkins has delivered many lectures upon musical subjects before the National and State Music Teachers' Associations and other educational bodies. His musical works include thirty books and considerable music in sheet form. Among the books are The Church Bell; College Hymn and Tune Book; The Song Echo; The Advance; The Headlight; Convention Choruses; The New Century Glee and Chorus Book; Graded Music Readers; Perkins* Graded Anthems; The Song Wave; Festival Choruses; and The Song Indicator. In 1891 Dr. Perkins organized the Chicago National College of Music, since which time he has been its president and director.