The American baritone and music pedagogue, Edwin Crever Dunning, was born in Howard, Pennsylvania, but moved to Southern California at an early age. He is the son of the late Dr. James Edwin Dunning, and the great-grandson of the Reverend Benjamin H. Crever, the founder of Dickinson Seminary. He was graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California.
The son of a Methodist minister, Edwin Dunning has been continuously interested and active in the fields of church music and teaching. At the age of 19 he received his first appointment as a choir director. A year later (1934) he was engaged by the First Baptist Church in Los Angeles where he served for ten years as Minister of Music and baritone soloist. He was (as of 1959) Minister of Music at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco. He was also a regular member of the Cosmopolitan Opera Company of San Francisco.
He has taught in the Samoiloff Bel Canto Voice Studios of Los Angeles, in the Baker Conservatory of Music in Flint, Michigan, and was a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto under Hermann Geiger-Torel. After a year with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Dunning moved to San Jose, California, where he was a member of the faculty of the Music Department at San Jose State College, and a founder and Head of their Opera Department. As of 1972 he was director of the Opera Workshop at San Jose State University.
The greatest public recognition has come to Edwin Dunning through his opera singing. In a Hollywood Bowl production he took the principal role in the opera Martha. In New York he sang in La Boheme with Grace Moore - a performance which proved to be the last in this country for the noted soprano. The following year he was engaged for the Chicago Opera season. Engagements in New Orleans, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Washington, Cuba and Central America followed in quick succession. He also appeared at the Carmel Bach Festival (1966). During the war he traveled mere than fifty thousand miles singing with USO through the South Pacific, Europe and Asia.