Nunc dimittis

April 30, 2019

Nunc Dimittis

William A. Crowle (Bill), 62, died March 16 in Vernon Hills, Illinois. He began piano study at the age of four and violin at six. He attended Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, where he studied composition with Joseph Schwantner, Samuel Adler, and Warren Benson and piano with Maria Luisa Faini. He pursued graduate studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied composition with Frederick Fox and Bernhard Heiden and piano with Enrica Cavallo-Gulli and received both master’s and doctoral degrees in composition with highest distinction. He studied organ with Richard Enright and Leon Nelson.

For the last 25 years Crowle served as organist/accompanist at First Presbyterian Church, Deerfield, Illinois. He also served in parallel years as accompanist to Lakeside Congregation for Reformed Judaism in Highland Park, Illinois. He was the staff accompanist for the music department at Vernon High School until this past year and was accompanist for the Beverly-Morgan Park Community Choir, Chicago, Illinois.

His many musical collaborations included the Waukegan Concert Chorus, the New Classic Singers, Buffalo Grove Symphonic Band, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and he was heard on WFMT radio and WGN-TV. As a composer, he wrote works for a variety of media, including treble choir, piano, recorder, Orff instruments, guitar, bass guitar, and percussion. His versatility as a musician spanned musical genres that stretched from classical, to jazz, to baroque, rock and roll, spiritual, and beyond.


Joseph Ross Flummerfelt, 82, died March 1 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was born February 24, 1937, in Vincennes, Indiana, and he began music studies with his mother, who was organist of First Baptist Church of Vincennes. He studied organ and church music at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, and choral conducting at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and University of Illinois, Champaign. Early in his career, he taught at the University of Illinois, DePauw University (1964–1968), and Florida State University, Tallahassee (1968–1971); later he taught for 33 years at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, retiring in 2004. There he conducted the Westminster Choir and Westminster Symphonic Choir.

Flummerfelt was named director of choral activities for Spoleto Festival USA at its inception in 1977 and also served as chorus master of the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, from 1971 until 1993. Upon his retirement from Spoleto Festival USA in 2013, he was named director emeritus. In 1979, Flummerfelt founded New York Choral Artists and became chorus master for the New York Philharmonic and music director of Singing City, Philadelphia. He made his New York Philharmonic conducting debut in 1988 with a performance of Haydn’s Creation. He collaborated with dozens of orchestral conductors in preparing their choruses for concerts and recordings. Three of his recordings received Grammy awards.

In 2004, Flummerfelt was named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year, and in his retirement, he held numerous visiting professorships. His honors included Le Prix du President de la Republique from L’Académie du Disque Français and four honorary doctoral degrees.

Joseph Ross Flummerfelt is survived by a brother, Kent, and two sisters, Pam Flummerfelt Rappaport and Carol Flummerfelt Helmling.


Peter John Hurford, 88, organist, church musician, performer, recording artist, teacher, composer, and author, died March 3 in St. Albans, UK. He was born November 22, 1930, in Minehead, Somerset, UK, and was educated at Blundell’s School. After brief studies at the Royal College of Music in London, he earned dual degrees in music and law at Jesus College, Cambridge, studying with Harold Darke, later studying organ in Paris, France, with André Marchal.

He served as organist for Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa, from 1956 until 1957, while also music master at Bablake School, Coventry, and for Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir. From 1958 until 1978, he was organist and choirmaster of St. Albans Cathedral Choir, St. Albans. In 1963, Hurford was founder of what became the St. Albans International Organ Festival, as a new Harrison & Harrison organ had been installed at the cathedral, designed by Ralph Downes and Hurford.

In 1956, Hurford performed at Royal Festival Hall, which launched what would become an international performance career. A recording artist as well, he recorded more than fifty discs. His largest recording project included the complete organ works of Bach in the 1970s for Decca (1975–1981) and BBC Radio 3 (1980–1982); he would also record the complete organ works of Mendelssohn, Franck, and Hindemith. He taught at Oxford and Cambridge universities and was an honorary fellow in organ studies at the University of Bristol. He held several international artist residencies and was a consultant for design of the organ of the Sydney Opera House. He was named an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College in 2006, served as a president of the Incorporated Association of Organists and the Royal College of Organists, receiving the latter’s medal in 2013, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1984. He served on international competition juries, including Haarlem, Bruges, Prague, Linz, Nürenberg, Berlin, Dublin, and Chartres. Hurford was an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music and honorary fellow both of the Royal College of Music and of the Royal School of Church Music, and held honorary doctorates in music from the University of Bristol and from Baldwin-Wallace College, Ohio (home of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute).

A composer, his works were mostly published by Oxford University Press and Novello. His book, Making Music on the Organ (Oxford University Press, 1998), was widely distributed. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, retiring from performing in 2009.

In 1955, Hurford married Patricia Matthews, who died in 2017. Peter John Hurford is survived by a daughter Heather, sons Michael and Richard, nine grandchildren, and sister Maureen. A private funeral was held March 18. A memorial service is to be held June 15 at St. Albans Cathedral.

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