Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hellos and Goodbyes

Yesterday I got to have lunch with Bryan Alexander, of NITLE. I had met him a year ago, and it was great to touch base again. He has my friend Carlos all excited about using online games to teach opera. This is basically using Second Life or Worlds of Warcraft to stage a performance, like in this Jonathan Coulton song.
Granted, it isn't perfect in any sense, but might help students to better understand the interaction of music and drama. We also spent time talking about blogging, Allen Ginsberg, and film music. It was a nice break after the bad news from the weekend.

The whole campus is mourning the loss of our friend and colleage, Stan Irwin. He died on Saturday after suffering a heart attack while driving to Indianapolis. Here is the impressive bio provided by DePauw's website:

Over the course of his long and distinguished musical career, Irwin performed at the Zürich Opera, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Barbican Centre, and with major orchestras in the U.S. and Great Britain. As a 1987 winner of the World Wide Voice Competition in New York he was awarded contracts to perform Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Lincoln Center and, in his 1988 British debut, the Brahms Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London. Irwin performed five times at Carnegie Hall, twice as a recitalist and three times as a conductor.

The New York Times called Irwin, "A performer who can project a wide range of subtle, shifting emotions." Hans Hotter, with whom Irwin studied in Munich, described him as possessing "a bass-baritone voice of high quality in timbre, which he is in good command of," noting a "fine artistic sensitiveness, together with a gift for interpretation ... especially evident in his singing of the German classical Lied."

Irwin joined the DePauw School of Music faculty in 1975. "As a professor, a mentor and a friend, he has impacted many lives at the University," notes DePauw President Robert G. Bottoms. "Our hearts go out to Stan's wife, Jane, and his family, and I express the feelings of a great many in the DePauw community who interacted with Stan over the years. He brought much respect to our School of Music, one of the oldest in the United States, and his warm presence and many contributions will be greatly missed."

Irwin performed more than two dozen roles in opera, most of the major works in oratorio, and an extensive song repertoire, including roles such as Boris and Germont, the Bach Passions, Elijah, the Verdi Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Berlioz’s dramatic symphony Romeo et Juliette, and Schubert‘s "Winterreise“ and "Müllerin" song cycles. He has also appeared in world premiere performances of John Eaton’s Peabody Award-winning opera Myshkin (Keller) for PBS and Italian television, Schibler’s The Late Expiation (Marquis) at the Zürich Opera, and David Ott’s song cycle "Renascence" (Millay) commissioned for Irwin and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded for the Gothic and Four Winds labels and has been artist-producer of two compact discs of American popular classics, Irwin Sings Gershwin (1999) and Night & Day: Cole Porter Songs of Romance (2003).

As a conductor, Professor Irwin made numerous high profile appearances at world-renowned sites such as Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphonic Ensemble and Chorus, the White House and the Vatican. He also prepared choirs for performances under such eminent conductors as John Nelson and Sir David Willcocks and orchestras including the Philharmonia of London and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Former voice students of Stanley Irwin, the longtime director of the DePauw University Choirs, have appeared with many orchestras and opera companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Quebec, Minnesota Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and the Glimmerglass Opera.
Stan had a wonderful sense of humor, a very generous spirit, and a big heart to match his football-player physique. His voice was both powerful and rich, and he used it with incredible sensitivity. Now he can spend eternity teaching God how to really project with resonance and clarity. Good bye, Stan.

1 comment:

Bryan's workshop blog said...

It was grand seeing you two. Thanks for the conversation, garlic burger (mmmm), and cheer.

But I'm very sorry for your loss, too.