This first full biography of Edward J. Dent (1876-1957), Cambridge Professor of Music and foremost musicologist, tells the story of a remarkable man who played a crucial role in the formation of twentieth-century culture and cultural institutions. Operating at both personal and international levels, Dent knew and quietly influenced musicians, poets, artists, writers, politicians, theatrical producers and designers, including Busoni, E.M. Forster, Sassoon and Maynard Keynes. The book covers not only his pioneering music scholarship and cultural activities but also his personal crusades on behalf of music and opera, gays, refugees and the culturally destitute. Drawn from a wide variety of unpublished sources, from behind Dent's carefully constructed public persona of a cosmopolitan gentleman scholar the picture emerges of a more complex and fascinating human being: a lifelong pacifist and agnostic; a scion of the upper classes who voted Labour; 'the kindest heart and the wickedest tongue in Cambridge', who always helped friends in need; a natural rebel and iconoclast; an English internationalist. His seminal books and articles remain fresh and vital and his writing hugely entertaining, while his ideas on the importance of the arts in everyday life are as relevant as ever. Dent's fundamental belief in 'training the imagination' and in personal friendships, along with his lifelong quest to 'understand all music', kept music and the arts alive through the most dire periods in the last century and into our own.