Nunc Dimittis

January 28, 2014
10_Diap0214_LR.pdf   11_Diap0214.pdf  

Clyde Holloway died December 18, 2013, in Houston, Texas. He was 77 years old. The Herbert S. Autrey Professor Emeritus of Organ at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, Holloway earned B.Mus. (1957) and M.Mus. (1959) degrees from the University of Oklahoma, studying with Mildred Andrews, and the S.M.D. degree in 1974 from Union Theological Seminary, studying with Robert Baker.

Holloway’s concert career began in 1964 when he won the National Young Artists Competition of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in Philadelphia. He performed under the auspices of Karen McFarlane Artists, and was a featured artist at numerous AGO conventions, also appearing in recital in Mexico City, the West Indies, and Europe.

His doctoral dissertation, The Organ Works of Olivier Messiaen and Their Importance in His Total Oeuvre, remains an important monograph concerning this music. Holloway worked with the composer on several occasions, examined his works at the organ of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris, and performed under his supervision. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Amsterdam Conservatory, he worked with Gustav Leonhardt in the study of organ, harpsichord, and chamber music.

Clyde Holloway began his teaching career in 1965 as the youngest member of the Indiana University School of Music faculty. In 1977, he joined the faculty of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he established the organ program and served as Chairman of the Keyboard Department and Director of Graduate Studies. The school’s widely acclaimed Fisk-Rosales organ embodies his unique understanding of how numerous organ-building traditions and tonal designs are manifested in organ literature and will be considered his most profound contribution to Rice University, Houston, and the larger musical world. He also served as organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston for many years; in 1993, he was named Honorary Lay Canon and Organist and Choirmaster Emeritus.

Renowned as a gifted pedagogue, Dr. Holloway served on the AGO’s Committee for Professional Education, addressed two conferences of the National Conference on Organ Pedagogy, led workshops and masterclasses, and served as a member of the jury for numerous competitions, including the Concours de Europe, the Fort Wayne Competition, the Music Teachers National Association Competition, the National Young Artists Competition of the American Guild of Organists, and the Grand Prix de Chartres. In 1994 he was invited to perform for the Bicentennial Festival of the celebrated Clicquot organ in the Cathedral of Poitiers, France, and served as a member of the jury for the international competition held at the end of the ten-day festival. 

Sylvie Poirier, 65 years old, passed away December 21, 2013 in Montréal of cancer. Born in Montréal on February 15, 1948 into a family of artists, her father was a goldsmith jeweller, and her mother, a painter and sculptor, was a pupil of the renowned painter Paul-Emile Borduas. Influenced by her parents, she began drawing and painting, and studied piano from an early age and later studied organ at l’Ecole de Musique Vincent d’Indy, Montréal. In 1970 she gained her baccalaureat in the class of Françoise Aubut and went on to study at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with Bernard Lagacé, with whom she obtained her Premier Prix in 1975. In 1976 Poirier studied at l’Université de Montréal with the blind French organist Antoine Reboulot. From 1977–1983 she was professeur affilié at l’Ecole de Musique Vincent d’Indy, presenting private music and drawing courses around Montréal.

In 1983 she became the Founding President of “Unimusica Inc.” whose objective was to bring together the art forms of music, painting, enamels, as well as poetry and photography. At the invitation of the oncologist founder of “Vie nouvelle” at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, Montréal, Poirier taught a course specifically designed for cancer patients entitled “Psychology of Life through Drawing” in the 1980s. 

She gave recitals in North America and Europe and broadcast many times for Radio Canada. Her organ duet career with her husband Philip Crozier spanned eighteen years, with eight commissioned and premièred works, numerous concerts in many countries, several broadcasts at home and abroad, and three CDs of original organ duets.

Sylvie Poirier also recorded Jean Langlais’ Première Symphonie, and Petr Eben’s Job and The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart; she gave the latter work’s North American première of the published version in Montréal in 2005. Poirier was also an accomplished painter and portraitist; examples of her work can be found at sylviepoirier.com.

She was predeceased by her only son Frédéric (30) in 2007. Sylvie Poirier is survived by her husband, Philip Crozier.

Phares L. Steiner died in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 14, 2013 at age 85. Born in Lima, Ohio, Steiner earned a bachelor’s degree in organ at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree in organ performance at the University of Michigan in 1952, where he studied with Robert Noehren and where he began his career as an organ builder, at first working with Noehren. In 1953 with Noehren as consultant, Steiner designed the prototype of an electric-action slider chest. After service in the Army he worked with Fouser Associates in Birmingham, Michigan from 1955 to 1957. He established Steiner Organs Inc. in 1959 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1962 relocated to Louisville, where he was joined in 1966 by Gottfried Reck from Kleuker in Germany. They incorporated in 1968 as Steiner Reck Inc.; Steiner was responsible for tonal matters of more than 90 organs, many of which were mechanical action. 

After retiring from Steiner Reck in 1988, he continued pipe organ work on a freelance basis, including working at Webber & Borne Organ Builders, and R.A. Daffer in the Washington, D.C. area while living in Columbia, Maryland. Phares Steiner returned to Louisville in 2003 with his family, where they became members of the Cathedral of the Assumption, home to one of his largest instruments.  

A charter member of the American Institute of Organbuilders, Steiner was also an active member of APOBA at Steiner Reck and a member of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity. He also served as organist at several churches, including St. Louis Catholic Church in Clarkesville, Maryland, and Trinity Catholic Church, Louisville. 

Phares L. Steiner is survived by his wife Ellen Heineman Steiner, daughter Adrienne, son Paul, and brother, Donald F. Steiner M.D.

Marianne Webb, 77, of Carbondale, Illinois, died December 7, 2013, at Parkway Manor in Marion, Illinois, from metastatic breast cancer, which she had for the past 20 years. She enjoyed a lengthy and distinguished career as a recitalist and professor of music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC).

Miss Webb was born on October 4, 1936, in Topeka, Kansas where she exhibited an early passion for organ music. While in Topeka, she began her studies with Richard M. Gayhart and continued with Jerald Hamilton at Washburn University, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, in 1958. She obtained the Master of Music degree, with highest distinction, from the University of Michigan (1959), as a scholarship student of Marilyn Mason. Further study was with Max Miller of Boston University and Robert Noehren at the University of Michigan.

After teaching organ and piano at Iowa State University for two years, she continued her studies in Paris as a Fulbright scholar with André Marchal. Further graduate study was with Arthur Poister at Syracuse University and Russell Saunders at the Eastman School of Music.

Marianne Webb taught organ and music theory and served as university organist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale from 1965 until her retirement in 2001 as professor emerita of music. She continued to serve as visiting professor and distinguished university organist for an additional 11 years. During her tenure, she built a thriving organ department and established, organized, and directed the nationally acclaimed SIUC Organ Festivals (1966–1980), the first of their kind in the country. The school’s 58-rank Reuter pipe organ she sought funding for and designed was named in her honor.

Miss Webb married David N. Bateman on October 3, 1970, in Carbondale. Together they gave the endowment that established in perpetuity the Marianne Webb and David N. Bateman Distinguished Organ Recital Series that presents each year outstanding, well-established concert organists in recital for the residents of southern Illinois.

As a concert artist, Marianne Webb toured extensively throughout the United States, performing for American Guild of Organists (AGO) chapters, churches, colleges and universities. In addition, she maintained an active schedule of workshops, master classes, and seminars for church music conferences. A member of the AGO, she served the guild as a member of the national committees on Educational Resources, Chapter Development, and Membership Development and Chapter Support. Locally, she re-established the Southern Illinois Chapter of the AGO in 1983 and served as its dean for six years. She performed recitals and presented workshops at numerous AGO national and regional conventions. For many years she concertized under the auspices of the Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists. She recorded on the ProOrgano and Pleiades labels and was featured on the nationally syndicated American Public Media program “Pipedreams.” 

Miss Webb maintained a balanced career as both performer and teacher. Her students have distinguished themselves by winning local, area, and national competitions. A sought-after adjudicator, Miss Webb was a member of the jury for many of the country’s most prestigious competitions. She also served as an organ consultant to numerous churches in the Midwest.

A special collection, which bears her name, is housed in the University Archives of Morris Library on the SIUC campus. Upon completion, this collection will include all of her professional books, music, recordings, and papers. Her “Collection of Sacred Music” has been appraised as “one of the largest private gatherings of sacred music in the world with a particular emphasis on the pipe organ.”

Among numerous honors during her long and distinguished career, Miss Webb has received the Distinguished Service Award from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, life membership in the Fulbright Association, the AGO’s Edward A. Hansen Leadership Award recognizing her outstanding leadership in the Guild, and the St. Louis AGO Chapter’s Avis Blewett Award, given for outstanding contributions to the field of organ and/or sacred music. From the Theta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota at Washburn University she received the Sword of Honor and the Honor Certificate.

Miss Webb is survived by her twin sister, Peggy Westlund; a niece, Allison Langford; a nephew, Todd Westlund; a godson, R. Kurt Barnhardt, PhD; and her former husband, Dr. David N. Bateman.

Throughout her lifetime Miss Webb was confronted with great adversities, which she overcame to become a nationally recognized organ teacher and recitalist. She leaves an impressive legacy of students holding positions of prominence in colleges and churches throughout the United States. She will be remembered not only for her musical artistry and excellence in teaching, but as a woman of quiet strength, courage, and abiding faith. In gratitude to God for her lifelong career, she established the St. Cecilia Recital Endowment in 2007 to present world-renowned concert organists in recital during the biennial national conventions of the American Guild of Organists.

At a later date, a memorial organ recital played by Paul Jacobs will take place in Shryock Auditorium, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Memorials may be sent to SIU Foundation to benefit the Distinguished Organ Recital Series Endowment. 

—Dennis C. Wendell