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Daniel Pinkham, one of America's most active and well-known composers of music for the church, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA on 5 June 1923. He studied at Harvard University and Tanglewood with Walter Piston, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Arthur Honneger and Nadia Boulanger. As an organist and harpsichordist he studied with Wanda Landowska and E Power Biggs.
For over forty years, Pinkham was music director at Boston's historic King's Chapel, where he led one of the première church music programs in America. Until his death, he served as senior professor of musicology at the New England Conservatory where he founded the program on early music in the 1950s.
His catalogue as composer included four symphonies and other works for large ensembles, cantatas and oratorios, concertos and other works for solo instrument and orchestra for piano, piccolo, trumpet, violin, harp and three organ concertos, theatre works and chamber operas, chamber music, electronic music, and twenty documentary television film scores.
His work has been performed by ensembles ranging from the New York Philharmonic to small parish choirs. He was named Composer of the Year in 1990 by the American Guild of Organists and had been awarded six honorary doctorates.
His final completed composition, A Cradle Hymn for mixed choir and string quartet was premièred on 17 and 18 December 2006 by the Harvard University Choir in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA for the 97th Annual Harvard Carol Services. Daniel Pinkham passed away on 18 December 2006 in Natick, Massachusetts, USA after a brief illness, aged eighty-three.