See his Letters (1922) and Intimate Letters (1924).
He studied music in Europe under Alfredo Barili and others. He returned to New York City in 1885 and remained there until his death. His level at the piano was such that Liszt's student, Rafael Joseffy, had Huneker serve as an assistant teacher to his piano students.
Huneker wrote the analysis and commentary on the complete works of Chopin for Schirmer's music publishing company. His analysis of all the piano solo works of Brahms, written shortly after that composer's complete works were published after his death, is highly regarded.
He was the music editor of the New York Sun, and a frequent contributor to the leading magazines and reviews. His books include:
Huneker is mostly remembered now for his music criticism. He was a music critic who familiarized Americans with then modern European artistic movements and wrote in a highly subjective style, full of metaphorical descriptions.
See Huneker's early contributions to M'lle New York, a magazine of American Decadence founded jointly with Vance Thompson. While this was a remarkable magazine in many ways, its written content and its illustrations occasionally express the casual anti-Semitism of the period. See American Decadence, an arts project at the University of Alberta, for facsimile pages from this early publication, especially page 13. "Rubinstein was a man of talent ... but, like every Jew, without genius or originality.
Following Huneker's comment in reference to Chopin's Études that "Small souled men, no matter how agile their fingers, should avoid [them], Douglas Hofstadter, in his book I Am a Strange Loop, named the unit by which "soul size" is measured the huneker (lower case).
A man with 'buzz': in the July 1964 issue Denys Sutton looked back on the life and writings of the American critic James Gibbons Huneker.(From the APOLLO archives)(Critical Essay)
Dec 01, 2004; The lover of old New York who seeks a whiff of the Bohemian world of the pre-1914 period should go downstairs to Luchow's on East...