Monthly Archives: November 2011

UI mourns Himie Voxman, director of the UI School of Music for more than a quarter century

Himie Voxman, long-time director of the University of Iowa School of Music, died November 22, 2011, at the Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City, Iowa. He was 99. Himie was born September 17, 1912, in the coal mining community of Centerville, Iowa, the fourth of the five children of Morris and Mollie Tzipanuk Voxman, Russian Jewish immigrants. Himie’s distinguished musical career began at the age of 13 when he took up the clarinet under the guidance of William Gower, Sr., the Centerville band director. In later years he studied with Gustave Langenus, former principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.

In 1929, Himie enrolled in the University of Iowa chemical engineering program. During this time he continued his study of the clarinet, playing in the University band and symphony orchestra and giving private clarinet lessons to pay for his education. In 1933, he received a Bachelor of Science degree with High Distinction in Chemical Engineering and then began graduate work in the psychology of music under the direction of the renowned psychology professor, Carl E. Seashore. After completing the Master of Arts degree in this area, Himie taught music in the Iowa City public schools, where he met and married Lois Wilcox, an accomplished violinist and string instrument teacher. He also served as principal clarinetist in the Quad City Symphony. Lois preceded Himie in death in 1996.

In 1939, Himie joined the faculty of the University of Iowa School of Music and subsequently served as its Director from 1954 until his retirement in 1980. While at the University, he taught and mentored hundreds of students, including many who joined the ranks of the nation’s outstanding music performers, educators, and administrators. He served as advisor to more than 40 doctoral students. Himie remained a colleague and friend of his former students, many of whom have continued to express their deep appreciation for the positive impact he had on their lives, reaching far beyond the realm of music. Among these students is Eugene Rousseau, recognized as one the world’s great classical saxophonists.

Himie is undoubtedly best known throughout the United States and Europe for his innumerable music publications, selling millions of volumes in the past 60 years. For decades his compilations and editions have formed the standard texts for aspiring and advanced wind musicians. His long-term archival research in European libraries has brought to light an extensive, invaluable list of previously unpublished 18th and 19th century wind solo and chamber works, serving as the basis for many of his widely used publications.

One college president noted that no one had more influence on 20th century music pedagogy in this country than did Himie. In 2000, Himie became the first American to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Clarinet Association. It was observed at his induction into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2009 that it would be difficult to find a high-school music program in this country that did not use his method books or other publications. In his address at that Chicago ceremony famed high-school basketball coach, Bob Hurley, referred to Himie as the “John Wooden of the music world.” In fact, Himie continued mentoring students, performing as first clarinetist in the Iowa City Community Band, and playing duets, trios and quartets with his friends, former students, and sons until his late 90’s. His last published work was completed when he was 93.

In 1995, the University of Iowa School of Music building was renamed the Voxman Music Building in recognition of Himie’s vast influence in the field of music education.

In addition to various honorary doctorates Himie received a host of awards including the American Bandmasters Association’s Edwin Frank Goldman Memorial Citation, the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Achievement and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. He was given an Honorary Life Membership in the Iowa Bandmaster’s Association and the Distinguished Service Award by the Iowa Music Educators Association. In addition he has received commendations, awards, and citations from Phi Mu Epsilon, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Alpha Iota, and was a member of the Distinguished Engineering Academy.

During his career Himie served on and held offices in many national professional committees and associations, including the National Association of Schools of Music, the Music Educators National Conference, and the Music Teachers National Association. Himie was widely known throughout the country and Canada as an outstanding contest adjudicator. He also served as a member of the Academic Panel for cultural exchange projects for the United States Department of State

Himie is survived by his sons, Bill and wife Joanne of Moscow, Idaho, and Jim and wife Anne of Madison, Wisconsin, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A private family interment service will be held in Chicago.

An event to celebrate Himie’s unique contributions will take place in the near future in Iowa City. Those wishing to honor Himie’s legacy are invited to contribute to the Himie Voxman Scholarship Fund or the Lois R. Voxman Scholarship Fund in Music through the University of Iowa Foundation. Information is available from jane-van-yoorhis@uiowa.eduor the University of Iowa School of Music. Written condolences may be sent to Gay and Ciha Funeral Service in Iowa City, @www.gayandciha.com.

Read about Voxman in a 90th birthday tribute, published in 2002: http://www.uiowa.edu/~fyi/issues/issues2002_v40/09052002/voxman.html.

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Music therapy faculty win national awards

Current music therapy students joined program alumni for the annual ‘Iowa Lunch’ at the American Music Therapy Association conference in Atlanta November 16-20. Traditionally, the group uses the luncheon to catch up and network, but this year a celebration was added for professor Kate Gfeller, who won the AMTA Research and Publications Award; and for Clinical Professor Mary Adamek, winner of the AMTA Award of Merit. Congratulations!

 

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Swan song: UI’s Maia Quartet performs final concert Nov. 18

By Diana Nollen/ SourceMedia Group

Heartwarming comments simple and sweet or waxing nostalgic and bittersweet are pouring in to the Maia Quartet’s website.

The University of Iowa’s renowned faculty string-quartet-in-residence is bowing out Friday (11/18/11) in a Hancher concert that pairs them with one of their mentors, the American String Quartet.

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School of Music Mourns Passing of Professor Emeritus Tom Davis

Percussionist, composer, and educator Thomas L. Davis passed away on November 12, 2011, at the age of 80. Tom was Professor Emeritus of Music at The University of Iowa, where he founded Iowa Percussion.

In 1958 Tom was a founding member of Dick Schory’s Percussion Pops Orchestra and a recording artist for RCA. In demand as a musician in Chicago, he had just been offered a position with one of the city’s top radio orchestras, when influential musician and educator Himie Voxman asked him to become the University of Iowa’s first Professor of Percussion. At that time there were no more than a half-dozen university-level percussion jobs in the country. Tom and wife Pat moved to Iowa City “for a couple of years.” That couple of years turned into a 38-year tenure at the University of Iowa.

By 1959, Mr. Davis had enough percussion students to form the Concert Percussion Ensemble – then one of only a handful of university percussion groups. He formed the Iowa Percussion Octette in 1967, one of the first university percussion ensembles to release an LP record. In the early 1970s, Mr. Davis established the Iowa jazz area, which he headed until 1990. He also led the Hawkeye Marching Band.

Thomas L. Davis wrote many compositions and arrangements for an array of instruments, but most important are his works for percussion. In the mid-1960s, precious little repertoire existed for percussion ensemble. Mr. Davis penned dozens of original compositions and arrangements for percussion that became standard in the repertoire, influencing generations of young percussionists. A number of these works exhibit Tom’s well-known sense of humor.

That sense of humor became legendary during a memorable Iowa football halftime show. Knowing that the Purdue University Marching Band would be flaunting their infamous “world’s largest drum,” Mr. Davis worked with a local manufacturer so that the Hawkeye Marching Band could parade onto the field with the “world’s largest triangle,” a 4-foot steel behemoth. The triangle is still part of Iowa Percussion’s collection, kept in an undisclosed secure location.

Davis was born in Casper, Wyoming. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in percussion performance from Northwestern University. Students from his 38-year tenure at The University of Iowa include performers, educators, school of music deans and directors, and professionals in a variety of other fields. Notable among his many outstanding students are percussionist Steven Schick and jazz musician David Sanborn.

Professor Davis retired from teaching at The University of Iowa in 1996. To honor him, alumni, former students, and friends established an endowment through the UI Foundation that funds the Thomas L. Davis Percussion Award.

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Viola Student Wins Coveted Seat in Youth Orchestra of the Americas

Phillip Glass and Manuel Tábora at the First Annual Days and Nights Festival.

Manuel Tábora, a first-year viola MA candidate studying with Professor Christine Rutledge, will be traveling to China in December and January with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (www.yoa.org).  Tábora also serves as a research assistant for the School of Music’s Center for New Music Ensemble. Tábora will perform in the cities of Chongquing, Guanzhou, Shangai, Dalian, Xian, and Bejing.  As a member of the YOA String Quartet, Manuel was also in residence at the first Annual Days and Nights Festival in Carmel Valley and Big Sur, California, founded by Phillip Glass.  

 
Led by Artistic Advisor Plácido Domingo and Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto, Youth Orchestra of the Americas is a multicultural, world-class symphony orchestra of 100 gifted young musicians, ages 18 and 30, from more than 20 countries of the Western Hemisphere. YOA’S mission is to bring together energetic, talented musicians to pursue excellence and celebrate cultural diversity as a catalyst for social change. In ten years, YOA has become an international brand by bringing renowned artists— from Yo-Yo Ma to Paquito D’Rivera, from Plácido Domingo to Philip Glass— into the lives of young musicians and diverse audiences.

Free and open auditions are held annually in January via YouTube, removing the cost of international postage, to ensure that any deserving and eligible musician can apply. Following adjudication by a prestigious faculty, all musicians in the new orchestra participate on full-scholarship, to achieve the greatest equality and diversity possible. Congratulations Manuel!

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