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Leo Sowerby

1895-1968. American composer. While his output of music has included orchestral and organ works, his name is inevitably connected with music for the church. He served much of his life as an Episcopal church organist and choirmaster, particularly at St. James' Church, Chicago. He might well be considered the leading figure in American church music at midcentury. In 1946 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Canticle of the Sun. His Passiontide cantata, “Forsaken of Man” (1940), is one of the finest works of its kind in recent years. Many of his anthems are on an ambitious scale, but he has also written a number of pieces of moderate difficulty and less pronounced modernity, such as “Love came down at Christmas.” He served prominently on the Hymnal Commission of the Episcopal Church and on the Joint Commission on Church Music. At the end of his life he was active in the school of church music associated with the cathedral in Washington, D.C.