Daniels, Mabel Wheeler
- J. Michele Edwards
(b Swampscott, MA, Nov 27, 1877; d Cambridge, MA, March 10, 1971). American composer. She studied at Radcliffe College (BA 1900) and sang in the Glee Club, for which she wrote several operettas. She studied orchestration with Chadwick at the New England Conservatory and in 1902 became the first woman in Thuille’s score-reading class at the Munich Conservatory. From 1911 to 1913 she directed the Radcliffe Glee Club and the Bradford Academy music programme and was head of music at Simmons College, Boston (1913–18). Thereafter, with support from family money, she devoted herself to composition. After conducting her choral work The Desolate City at the MacDowell Colony, she returned there as a fellow for 24 summers, beginning in 1914.
Daniels’s musical language encompasses non-functional triadic harmony with occasional diatonic dissonance; the melodic lines are sometimes angular, due partly to modal shifts and unpredictable triads. Her compositions show the influence of vernacular music and music of the popular theatre as well as sharing elements with the work of Debussy and Lili Boulanger. ...