Steven Dennis Bodner (1975-2011) was Music Director of the Symphonic Winds and Opus Zero Band at Williams College, where he also taught classical saxophone, coached chamber music, and taught classes in music fundamentals and aural skills acquisition. He earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.M. in saxophone performance from Miami (OH) University in 1997, and a M.M. in wind ensemble conducting with academic honors and distinction in performance from New England Conservatory in 1999. At the time of his passing, he was a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he conducted the Youth Wind Ensemble for four years and was Interim Director of Bands, 2002-2003. He has taught at the Hartwick College (2002) and South Shore Conservatory (2003) Summer Music Festivals, as well as in the New England Conservatory Preparatory School (1999-2004); in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, Steven guest conducted ensembles in Massachusetts, Vermont, Ohio, New York, and Virginia, and he adjudicated the Maine High School Band and Vermont Music Educators Association Festivals. An advocate for the creation and performance of new music, he commissioned and premiered numerous works both for wind ensemble and for saxophone. His interpretations received praise from composers such as Louis Andriessen, Michel van der Aa, Andres Carrizo, Shih-Hui Chen, Stephen Dankner, John Frantzen, Nancy Galbraith, Kyle Gann, Michael Gandolfi, Michael Gordon, Judd Greenstein, David Maslanka, Andrea Mazzariello, Barton McLean, Michael Weinstein, and Pulitzer Prize winner Karel Husa. His primary conducting teachers included Frank Battisti, Malcolm W. Rowell, Jr., Gary Speck, and Gunther Schuller.
Also active as a saxophonist, Steven frequently performed with I/O New Music, which he co-directed with Matthew Gold. He also performed with the Williams Chamber Players, the Berkshire Symphony, the microtonal ensemble NotaRiotous and at the Manchester Music Festival. He recorded works by David Kechley and Curtis Hugues, released on CD in 2011. His primary saxophone teachers were Michèle Gingras and Kenneth Radnofsky.
Remembering Stephen Dennis Bodner
There aren’t words to express what we are all experiencing now, with the sudden, inexplicable, cruel death of Steve Bodner. He was a true force of nature, with a heart as big as the universe, and what has happened makes no sense at all. The hole this leaves in our lives, individually and collectively, is huge, and the loss to our department immeasurable.
Department faculty and staff will be here all day to offer what support we can; there will be an email from the Chaplain’s Office this afternoon about an opportunity later today for the entire college community to gather together to remember Steve. Jenny Dewar has created an online message board to share memories and pay tribute to a superb musician, teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend. I will keep you all informed, and please be in touch with any faculty or staff here in the department if there is anything we can do to help at this terrible time.
M. Jennifer Bloxam
Professor of Music and Chair
Department of Music
Bernhard Music Center
54 Chapin Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267
Our dear friend and colleague Ernest D. Brown Jr., Professor of Music at Williams College from 1988 until his retirement this past December 2011, passed away on April 3, 2012, after a long illness. As a teacher, performer, and scholar, he dedicated his life to the exploration and celebration of African and African-American musics, introducing countless members of our community to music and musicians little known in the Berkshires before his arrival here 24 years ago.
After earning his B.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1969, Professor Brown began his study of ethnomusicology at UCLA and then at the University of Washington, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1984 with a dissertation on the Zambian royal xylophone and drum bands. In 1987 he received a Fulbright Fellowship for research in Zimbabwe, and later conducted research projects in Trinidad, Cuba, and Ghana. He published on such diverse topics as music in Trinidad, Black children’s game songs, and the impact of African performers, such as Miriam Makeba, on American music in the 1960s. As a performer, he studied Zimbabwean marimba and mbira music from Dumisani Maraire and Ephat Mujuru, and Ghanaian drumming with master drummer Obo Addy.
In 1989 Professor Brown and Director of Dance Sandra Burton co-founded Kusika, the Williams College African Dance and Drumming Ensemble, dedicated to the performance of traditional African music, dance, and storytelling from Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Senegal. Three years later Professor Brown founded the Zambezi Marimba Band, for which he designed and built a set of marimbas to play marimba music from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Generations of Williams students have experienced the thrill of learning and performing in these ensembles under his tutelage. He also opened the door to the college’s cultural interaction with Africa itself – bringing performers here for residencies and often traveling there himself, sometimes for research and other times as a cultural emissary sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
Professor Brown likewise brought a new dimension to the curriculum at Williams, offering such courses as “Nothin’ but the Blues,” “African Rhythm, African Sensibility,” and “The History of African American Music.” He also taught courses at Harvard University, Mt. Holyoke College, and Northeastern University.
Words cannot express our gratitude for the wonderful legacy Professor Brown leaves to our department, the college, and the community, a legacy that expanded our musical horizons and experiences tremendously. We’re a different and even better place thanks to his time with us, and we will miss his warm smile and indomitable good humor even in the face of great challenges. We honor his memory and celebrate his life with the inauguration in 2012-13 of “The Ernest Brown World Music Concert Series,” dedicated to bringing musicians from across the globe to share their musical talents with the Williams College community.
On April 4, 2012, Williams College President Adam Falk announced the passing of Ernest Brown:
“I am sad to report the death of Ernest Brown, professor of music.
Since joining the faculty in 1988, Ernest broadened culturally the college's engagement with music. As an ethnomusicologist he taught such courses as "Music Cultures of the World," "History of African American Music," and "Black Music and Postmodernism." He was an accomplished player of the marimba and mbira as well as a drummer. And, of course, he was so deeply involved for many years with both Kusika and the Zambezi Marimba Band. Nothing was more aurally and visually joyful than experiencing Ernest on stage surrounded by students as they made delightful music together.
Ernest also greatly increased the college's interaction with Africa itself--bringing performers here and traveling there himself, sometimes for research and other times as a cultural emissary sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
Our thoughts are with his family.”
Photo by Marcela Villada Peacock
Cellist Douglas Moore, a native of Iowa, is the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Music at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and a cellist with the Williams Chamber Players. He was cellist with The Williams Trio for 29 years. He has been at Williams since 1970, and served as department chairman from 1979 to 1986, 1995 to 1997 and in 2001-2002. He is keeper of the Willem Willeke Collection of Music and the Arthur Foote Collection. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University where he studied cello with Fritz Magg and chamber music with Janos Starker. His Master of Music (1970) and Doctor of Musical Arts (1977) degrees are both from Catholic University in Washington, DC.
Douglas Moore has appeared with orchestras and in recitals throughout the United States. He has played at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and at the Great Music West (Utah), Saratoga Baroque, Music Mountain, and Newport music festivals. Moore is an artist/teacher at the Manchester (VT) Music Festival. Concerti by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Schumann, Lalo, Shostakovich, Saint-Saëns, Arthur Foote, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Bloch and Hindemith are in his repertoire. He has been principal cellist with the Great Music West Festival, Albany (NY) Symphony, Berkshire Symphony and Lake George Opera Festival orchestra. He served the national College Music Society as Vice-President from 1987 through 1990 and as Special Projects Committee chair from 1991 through 1993.
In 1976 Douglas Moore played the world premiere of Cello Sonata by the American composer Arthur Foote. His edition of the complete music for cello and piano by Foote was published by A-R Editions on the Recent Researches in American Music series in 1982. The first modern-day performance of Foote's Cello Concerto took place in 1981 with Douglas Moore as soloist; since then he has performed the work with orchestras in Connecticut, Minnesota, Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois and Iowa. He has performed and/or read papers at regional and national meetings of the College Music Society and Sonneck Society for American Music.
Douglas Moore has made five recordings. The first was a 1979 Musical Heritage Society release of the complete cello/piano music of Arthur Foote. Another, with music by Arthur Farwell and Charles Wakefield Cadman, was issued in 1981 and was selected Best of the Month by Stereo Review magazine. Both discs were world premiere recordings of the repertoire. The Williams Trio's recording of the two piano trios of Arthur Foote was issued by MHS in 1983; their disc of trios by Rachmaninoff and Arensky (including the premier recording of the Trio No. 2 by Arensky) appeared in 1985 on Grand Prix Records. His recording of Winter Branches: Sonata for Cello and Piano by David Kechley appears on a Liscio Records compact disc.
Douglas Moore's four-cello arrangement of Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever is published by Theodore Presser. He self-publishes over two dozen other arrangements for from three to eight cellos. They are available at http://www.playmoorecello.com/
The Passing of Irwin Shainman
To the Williams Community,
The earth beneath the college tilted yesterday with the death of Irwin Shainman, Class of 1955 Professor of Music, Emeritus, and a fixture here almost continuously since his arrival in 1948. Irwin Shainman
A bugler for his Boy Scout troop in the Bronx, he went on to earn the Premier Prix in trumpet at the Paris Conservatory. He played professionally in and around New York City, but, as he told it, while crouching in a fox hole in eastern France during World War II, where he earned two Purple Hearts, he said to a buddy in the next hole, “If I ever get out of this alive, I’m going to find myself a small college in New England with a small music department.”
That he did, to the great enrichment of that college and of generations of its students, so many of whom credit him with their appreciation of and passion for music.
He eventually chaired that no longer small department and served as acting dean of the faculty. He conducted the Berkshire Symphony and led what evolved into the Moo Cow Marching Band. For his many contributions to music at Williams, the large rehearsal hall in Bernhard is named after him.
He also left his mark on the cultural scene by co-founding the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which he later served as president.
At the same time, Irwin was the best company you could have—at the dinner table or on the golf course. He was naturally personable, was erudite without pretension, and could be hilariously and devastatingly funny. You smiled just seeing him approach you on the street.
A public celebration of Irwin’s life will be held at a later date. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with his family, including his wife Bernice, daughter Joan ’76, and son Jack.
To the Williams Community,
I am saddened to report the death of Robert Suderburg, Class of 1924 Professor of Music, Emeritus.
Bob was already a well known pianist, composer, teacher, and administrator before joining our music department in 1985. He had most recently served as president of the Cornish Institute in Seattle and before that as chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts.
He was perhaps best known as a composer, whose works were performed by top soloists, chamber groups, and orchestras around the world. He won multiple ASCAP Awards based upon "the unique prestige value of each writer's catalog of original compositions as well as recent performances of those works." The classical music station in Chicago marked Bob's sixtieth birthday with a special program that combined an interview with him and the playing of his works.
He was supported by fellowships, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
At Williams, he also served as composer-in-residence and chair of the department, and he was among those who advanced here the performance of new music. He retired in 2001.
At Bob's request no memorial service is planned, but our thoughts are certainly with his family at this time.
April 23, 2013