89-year-old musicologist and conductor Professor Emeritus Alfred Mann died peacefully in his home in Fort Wayne, Ind. on Sept. 21.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Mann spent a number of years studying in both Milan and Berlin. In 1937 he taught at the Berlin Hochschule, and a year later at Milan’s Scuola Musicale. Soon after, Mann began a three-year stint teaching at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia before receiving M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

For over thirty years after that Mann taught at Rutgers University, until he came to Eastman in 1980 and in 1987 was given the honor of Professor Emeritus of Musicology. Mann stayed and remained active at Eastman until he made his way to Indiana.

“Professor Emeritus is given to someone who has retired,” Professor of Conducting and Ensembles at Eastman Bill Weinert said. “It is always given as a special recognition to a prominent member of Eastman. Alfred Mann was just that.”

Mann was highly respected as a scholar and was a beloved teacher to both his colleagues and his students.

“Mann and I overlapped at Eastman for four years,” Weinert said. “When I came here and saw him, it was like seeing someone famous. He was an unbelievable guy to be around.”

Besides his success as Professor Emeritus of Musicology, Mann was also known for his choral conducting. Among his accomplishments were his recordings of Baroque composer George Frideric Handel’s six “Chandos Anthems,” which were highly acclaimed by critics. Mann conducted in both America and Germany and became the director of publications for the American Choral Foundation, where he edited “American Choral Review” for 35 years.

“Alfred sometimes seemed like a remnant of an earlier age – of Old Europe,” Professor of Musicology Ralph Locke said. “He never seemed to be in a rush, though his mind was quick and agile. He expressed himself with such seemingly natural grace and articulateness. I now wish I had copied down some of those insights.”

Upon leaving the Choral, Mann handed over the responsibility of editor to Professor Weinert.

“It was such an honor to be asked to take over, but it was scary as well,” Weinert said. “This guy was a lot to live up to. He was a wonderful writer who not only cared a lot about the Choral, but who really wanted all of his students to learn a lot. He was extremely meticulous with their work and they could always expect to get their writing back from him with a number of comments.”

Something that Mann was greatly respected and admired for was his research as well as his writing on the history of music theory, with the teaching of counterpoint in particular. He wrote a number of counterpoint-related works and other books including “Theory and Practice: The Great Composers as Teachers and Students” as well as “Bach and Handel: Choral Performance Practice.”

It was not uncommon for Mann to choose to write about both Bach and Handel as he tended to work with some of classical music’s more “meaty” pieces. He edited a number of choral works and was made an honorary member of the International Bach Society in 1997. Mann was only the third American to ever be recognized with such an honor.

After hearing of the death of Professor Mann, a recent message from Professor Weinert concluded by saying, “Choral music has benefited greatly from the life and work of Alfred Mann. With his passing we have lost an important voice and an inspiring friend.”



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