In Memoriam: Frank D’Accone (1931-2022)

Frank Anthony D’Accone, an American musicologist who made foundational contributions to our understanding of musical culture in Renaissance Florence and Siena, died at his home in Laguna Beach, CA on Sunday, 26 June 2022.

Frank was born on 13 June 1931 in Somerville, Massachusetts. After receiving his B.Mus and M.Mus degrees from Boston University (1952-53), he went on to the Ph.D. program at Harvard. As the recipient of the John Knowles Paine Fellowship (1957-59), he traveled to Florence and produced his groundbreaking dissertation in 1960, which documents music at the city’s Baptistry and Cathedral in the fifteenth century. Frank then began a distinguished teaching career that took him first to the State University of New York at Buffalo (1960-67). With the exception of a one-year position as a visiting professor at Yale University (1972-73), he spent the rest of his career (1967 to 1994) as professor of music at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he chaired both the Department of Music (1973-76) and the Department of Musicology (1989-92).

Frank was a prolific scholar: his many articles incorporating original archival research explored a wide range of topics, including sacred and secular musical repertories, the lives and works of individual Renaissance composers, and important cultural institutions in Florence and Siena. He also published two books, one on Alessandro Scarlatti’s first opera (New York, 1985),
and his magnum opus, The Civic Muse: Music and Musicians in Siena During the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Chicago, 1996). With Howard Mayer Brown and Jesse Ann Owens, Frank also served as editor of the series Renaissance Music in Facsimile; in addition, he co-edited the journal Music Disciplina for many years with Gilbert Reaney. He served as general editor of the series Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, to which he contributed by transcribing and publishing twelve volumes in the series Music of the Florentine Renaissance, to make available for scholars and performers music that had been previously unknown. In the last weeks of his life, Frank corrected and returned the proofs of his lifelong project, based on decades of work in the archives of Florence Cathedral: a richly annotated, monumental catalogue of the musical manuscripts preserved there, dating from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries.

Frank is survived by his nephew David F. Shaw, Jr., his grandniece Maribeth Shaw, and friends too numerous to count.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the fund that Frank established in honor of Bill Holmes to support young scholars studying opera: American Musicological Society—Holmes/D’Accone Fund, 20 Cooper Square-Floor 2, New York, NY 10003 or by following this link.