Mason, Luther Whiting
- Sondra Wieland Howe
(b Turner, nr Lewiston, ME, April 3, 1818; d Buckfield, nr Auburn, ME, July 14, 1896). American music educator and editor of school songbooks. He studied at the Gardiner Lyceum and Gorham Academy in Maine, the Boston Academy of Music, and Delaware College. In Baltimore (1844–52) he directed church choirs and taught music classes. He taught in the public schools of Louisville, Kentucky (1852–55) and Cincinnati, Ohio (1856–64) and served in the Civil War as a “Hundred Days’ Man.” In Boston (1864–78) he organized music in the primary schools, trained classroom teachers and students in the Boston Normal School, and directed children’s choirs.
Mason was invited by the Ministry of Education (Monbushō) to spend two years in Japan (March 1880 to July 1882), where he imported Western instruments and taught the gagaku court musicians. He taught Western music in the Tokyo Normal School and the Music Institute, which is now part of the Tokyo University of the Arts. Mason worked on the Music Study Committee (Ongaku torishirbe gakari) with Isawa Sh×ji to develop the first Japanese music textbook series: ...