Hugh Allen Wilson, professor of music emeritus and an internationally known organist, harpsichordist and conductor, died Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at his home, Allenhurst, on Lake George in Bolton Landing. He was 85.
Wilson taught at Union from 1962 to 1996. He began as a part-time associate professor of music and organist-in-residence, and later became a full professor, director of the Union College Choir and the Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, and Chairman of the Department of Arts.
On June 28, 1977, he conducted the Men’s Glee Club in a performance at the White House for Jimmy Carter’s first State Dinner, honoring Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez. Earlier that year, the group had toured Venezuela to much acclaim. He also brought the Union College Choir on a tour to Greece and Crete in 1989.
He received the Faculty Meritorious Service Award from the Alumni Council in 1974.
Throughout his career, he gave more than 1,000 public performances as organist, harpsichordist and conductor.
Besides his work at Union, he was music director emeritus of the First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls, conductor emeritus of the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, and past president of the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum in Bolton Landing.
He was founder and co-conductor of the Bolton Festival of Music in 1948, founder and first dean of the Adirondack chapter of the American Guild of Organists; co-founder of the Adirondack Studio of Song in 1951 (which later became the Lake George Opera Festival). He was a member of the Kraeuter Trio, the Festival Orchestra, the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Paschler-Wilson duo, and concertized with violinist/composer George Green. He performed as harpsichord soloist and continuo player with several principal chamber orchestras including the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra with Karl Munchinger, the Princeton Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Classical Orchestra and the Soviet Emigre Orchestra.
Other performances included the dedicatory recital of the Loening Organ at St. Thomas Church in New York City in 1971, and a recording for the Ford Foundation of 17th and 18th century music on the Loening Organ that same year; the inaugural Connoisseur Concerts series at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1972; Honneger’s King David Symphony at Alice Tully Hall in New York with narrator John Houseman in 1975, and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in 1983; the debut of an organ concerto written for him by Union Professor Edgar Curtis in 1966; a series of concerts with members of the National Symphony Orchestra and flautist David Barg in 1982; and the Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass with the Glens Falls Symphony in 1990.
Born on Feb. 17, 1925, he was the only son of Clarence Edway Wilson and Anna Allen Wilson. His mother was an accomplished pianist; Wilson said he grew up thinking everyone’s mother played all the Brandenburg concerti from memory. Through her, he became involved in the musical community of Bolton Landing and Lake George. His first professional position was as choir director-organist for the St. James’ Episcopal church in Lake George when he was just 14.
He attended Yale College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude in 1946. At Yale, he studied organ with H. Frank Boyzan, theory with Paul Hindemith and musicology with Leo Schrade. He attended Yale Graduate School, where he studied musicology from 1947 to 1949. He also studied organ with Marcel Dupre in France and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Holland.
Besides his musical pursuits, he enjoyed gardening at his lifelong home on Lake George.
He is survived by many loving friends, colleagues in the musical world, and his longtime companion Marshall Ford of Bolton Landing.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Hugh Allen Wilson Choral Music Endowment Fund at Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, N.Y. 12308.
Seventeen young and exceptionally talented string musicians, many Marlboro-trained, will take to the stage on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. This is the third Concert Series appearance for the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, better known as ECCO.
In a unique blend of orchestral ensemble power and chamber music intimacy, ECCO will perform selections by Ginastera, Shostakovich, Janacek and Corelli/Geminiani (arr. M. Wianko).
ECCO was founded in 2001 by soloists, principals in major orchestras and chamber musicians of the younger generation. All are graduates of top conservatories and music schools, including Curtis, Juilliard and the New England Conservatory, and many are Young Concert Artists and Concert Artists Guild winners.
Operating without a conductor, ECCO was built on democratic principles with a focus on pure music-making. The members’ novel approach, commitment and passion have created one of the most exciting orchestral ensembles in the world today. “These youthful players are helping form classical music's future,” according to the Washington Post.
The ensemble’s inaugural U.S. tour in 2006, including an appearance at the Kennedy Center, was received with standing ovations and high accolades. ECCO began touring internationally in 2007 with a performance at the Seoul Music Festival and Academy in Korea. This season will mark another milestone as the group makes their first commercial recording.
The show is open to the public and free to members of the Union community. General admission tickets are $20, though area students may attend for $8. For a complete list of this season’s concerts, click here.
Raymond Rappaport, professor of developmental biology emeritus, died on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 at his home in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was 88.
Rappaport, who mentored generations of Union students in his speciality, animal cell division, taught from 1952 until his retirement in 1987.
Throughout most of his time at Union and during retirement, he was an active researcher and administrator at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, which is devoted to the study of marine and non-marine organisms. Besides his scientific role, he served the laboratory as president, vice president, trustee and director. He designed a number of buildings on the research campus. A research laboratory there is named for him.
He wrote “Cytokenisis in Animal Cells,” published by Cambridge University Press in 1996, along with over 50 journal articles and several book chapters. His research work took his family to California, Hawaii, Japan and France. He mentored a number of Japanese scientists who wished to publish in English.
In January 2004, his work was recognized in the Journal of Experimental Zoology in the article “Ray Rappaport Chronology: Twenty five years of Seminal Papers on Cytokenisis,” describing his work as so important that his strategies and ideas strongly influence current research on cell division. (Read the article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jez.a.20000/pdf)
He had a number of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health.
He was noted for his creative experimental techniques, designed to reveal the basic mechanisms of mammalian cell division. He devised many hand-crafted surgical tools so that he could operate on single cells. One of his most effective was an extremely accurate cutting device fashioned from the hair saved from his son Peter’s first hair cut.
Rappaport arranged a number of student and class visits at the laboratory on Frenchman’s Bay near Bar Harbor, an area well known for its diversity of marine life including the sea urchin, which Rappaport studied.
“He did remarkable work in the manipulation of cells, particularly in the process of mitosis or cell division,” recalled colleague Carl George, professor emeritus of biology.
Rappaport was diversified in his interests, George recalled. With this wife, Barbara, he collected art from Japan, a favorite destination.
He hosted a number of students and colleagues, said George, who taught courses in marine biology that Rappaport had arranged for MDIBL. Rappaport also frequently lectured during the course, George said.
He was well respected as a teacher and lecturer, George recalls, and commanded large classes in embryology.
Born in North Bergen, N.J., he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bethany College, a master’s in zoology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Yale University.
He served in the Army medical corps during World War II.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Barbara; and three children, Peter, Jean and Ann.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Mount Desert Island YMCA, the Jesup Memorial Library or the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. A memorial concert is being planned for early summer.
To mark Jane Austen’s birthday, Schaffer Library will host a celebration Thursday, Dec. 16 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Phi Beta Kappa room on the second floor.
Rare books from the College’s Special Collections will be displayed, including a first edition of “Pride and Prejudice,” as well as other works by and about Austen, the beloved 19th century novelist. Also on display will be early editions of a variety of works read or cited by Austen in her books.
Birthday cake, coffee and tea will be served.
Each year on Austen’s birthday, members of the Jane Austen Society of North America (which numbers about 3,000) hold small gatherings around the world to celebrate her legacy, which includes the classics “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma.” Local Janeites have met in Delmar in recent years, but Annette LeClair, librarian and head of technical services, thought Union would be a perfect host for an Austen party.
“I thought, wow, some of these folks have never seen a first edition of “Pride and Prejudice,” said LeClair, who will give a brief overview of the books on display. She has presented her work on Austen at JASNA general meetings and at a variety of regional meetings and events. Her publications have appeared in “Persuasions” and the Modern Library Association’s “Approaches to Teaching Austen’s Emma.”
LeClair also thought the campus gathering would appeal to members of the library who formed the Jane Austen Book Club a couple of years ago, tackling all six of her novels together.