Daverio was born on October 19, 1954, in Sharon, Pennsylvania, the
son of John D. Daverio and Margaret Elise Sparano Daverio. John
was a 1971 alumnus of Sharon High School, where he graduated with
honors in his junior year. He received the National Merit Scholarship
and was subsequently pursued by many universities and colleges for
his academic achievements.
He first entered
Boston University at the end of his junior year of high school at
the age of 16, and from then on was an integral member of its academic
community. From 1971 to 1973 he was a violin student at the Boston
University Tanglewood Institute, where he was recognized for his
high-caliber performances with the Silverstein Award. At Boston
University, John earned a Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude)
in 1975 and a Master’s degree in 1976, both in violin performance.
He continued his studies in the Musicology Department with Murray
Lefkowitz and Joel Sheveloff, and in 1983 he graduated with a Ph.D.
in Musicology. His first area of scholarly specialization, instrumental
music of the Baroque period, is reflected in his dissertation on
“Formal Design and Terminology in the Pre-Corellian Sonata,”
a topic that revolutionized an area of research that had remained
unexplored for years.
John spent his entire
teaching career at Boston University, where he held various positions,
including: teaching associate in music history (1979–83);
assistant professor of music history (1983–89); associate
professor (1989-1998); professor of music (1998-2003). For more
than fifteen years (1987-2003), John served as Chair of both the
Department of Musicology at the College of Fine Arts, and the Department
of Music at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He was also
Chair of the Department of Music at the College of Liberal Arts
(1992–2003), and during the academic year 2001-02 he was Director
ad interim of the School of Music at the College of Fine Arts.
himself as one of the leading scholars in the field of nineteenth-century
music. In 1987 he won the prestigious Alfred Einstein Award of the
American Musicological Society for his article “Schumann’s
‘Im Legendenton’ and Friedrich Schlegel’s Arabeske”
published in 19th-Century Music. Several papers and publications
followed, ranging in concentration from the music and aesthetics
of Wagner’s operas to the literary influences in the music
of Schumann and Brahms, culminating in his first monograph, Nineteenth-Century
Music and the German Romantic Ideology (1993). With a focus
on researching the life and music of Robert Schumann, John produced
his second major publication, the biography Robert Schumann:
Herald of a ‘New Poetic Age (1997), a work that will
remain standard reference in the field for years to come. His third
book, Crossing Paths: Schubert, Schumann and Brahms (2002),
probes “various kinds of intersections among the three composers,”
and is “filled with original and suggestive insights that
will undoubtedly stimulate continuing inquiry into the questions
that they raise,” according to Margaret Notley (MLA Notes
60/1 [August 15, 2003]).
articles, reviews and essays have appeared in Acta Musicologica,
Journal of the American Musicological Society, 19th-Century
Music, Journal of Musicology, Opera Quarterly,
19th-Century Contexts, Journal of Musicological Research,
College Music Symposium, Current Musicology, Beethoven
Forum, Brahms Studies, Schumann and His World,
and the Cambridge Companions to Beethoven and Mozart—to
name a few. He was a contributor of many entries in the second edition
of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001),
including the entry on Robert Schumann.
A member of various
professional societies, John served as President of the New England
Chapter of the American Musicological Society (1990-92), Council
member to the Society (1997-99), co-chair of the Local Arrangements
Committee for the 1998 annual meeting of the American Musicological
Society in Boston, and most recently as director-at-large on the
Board of the Society (2000-02). He was also member of the Board
of Directors of the American Brahms Society (1993-2003), and he
served as President of the American Brahms Society from 1999 to
John was a brilliant
teacher. His students remember him preparing each class with the
same care and attention to detail that characterized his scholarly
work, and delivering each lecture with a quiet passion that inspired
the hearts and minds of all his students. His devotion to teaching
and to his students was formally recognized in 1997 when he received
the Boston University Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching,
a student-nominated honor.
In addition to his
scholarly endeavors, John never stopped being active as a performer.
An accomplished violinist, he was equally comfortable playing solo
and ensemble literature of any period. He was especially active
in the greater Boston area, where he often gave concerts to benefit
music therapy programs in local hospitals. Among John’s many
talents was a facility for languages; he spoke German, French, Italian,
Latin, and some modern Greek.
John brought qualities
of grace, dignity, and compassion to the lives of all who knew him.
His unfailing humor, energy, kindness, intellectual breadth, and
leadership inspired—and will continue to inspire—students
and colleagues alike.
funeral Mass was celebrated at the Church of the Sacred Heart in
Sharon, Pennsylvania on April 22, 2003; he is buried in St. Mary’s
Cemetery in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.