Nunc dimittis

May 31, 2020

Edward Brewer, 82, died April 3 in Leonia, New Jersey. Born in 1938 in Erie, Pennsylvania, his talent for music was revealed at an early age.

Brewer majored in organ at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio. As a graduate student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Brewer received a Fulbright Fellowship to continue his studies with organist Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt, Germany. His harpsichord studies continued with Maria Jaeger.

Edward Brewer’s school days ended in New York City in 1963 where he served in the Domestic Peace Corps until 1964, when he became organist and choir director at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. As a continuo player he served Amor Artis, Oratorio Society of New York, and New York Choral Society, as well as New York Philharmonic, New York Collegium, Orpheus, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Philharmonia Virtuosi. He participated in the Madeira Bach Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, and North Country Chamber Players summer festival. He was founding director of the Soclair Music Festival, a role he filled for 30 years. As founder and director of the Brewer Chamber Orchestra, he participated in a series of first-time recordings of operas by George Frederick Handel for MMG, Nonesuch, Delos, and ESS.A.Y.

Edward Brewer also provided portable pipe organs and harpsichords in European styles of the 18th century for New York musical organizations involved in the performance of Baroque music. This service continues as Baroque Keyboards, LLC, under the management of his son and daughter.

Edward Brewer is survived by his wife of 51 years, oboist Virginia Brewer; his son Barry and wife Tomoko and their daughters Miako and Emiko; and daughter Hazzan Diana Brewer and wife Sara Brewer and their daughter Camilla.


Kenneth Gilbert, 88, harpsichordist, organist, musicologist, and teacher, died April 16. He was born December 16, 1931, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He studied organ with Conrad Letendre, piano with Yvonne Hubert, and harmony and counterpoint with Gabriel Cusson. Gilbert won the Prix d’Europe for organ in 1953 and studied for two years with Nadia Boulanger (composition), Gaston Litaize and Maurice Duruflé (organ), and Sylvie Spicket and Ruggero Gerlin (harpsichord). While he was on leave for these studies, he remained the organist and music director at Queen Mary Road United Church, Montreal, between 1952 and 1967. In 1959, he designed and oversaw the installation at Queen Mary Road Church of the first major modern mechanical-action organ in Canada, an instrument built by Rudolf von Beckerath of Hamburg, Germany. Gilbert was a leader in the formation of the Ars Organi society, which influenced organ performance standards in eastern Canada. He received an honorary doctorate degree in music from McGill University in 1981.

While in Paris in 1965 on a Quebec government grant doing research on Couperin in preparation for a CBC series of performances of the composer’s complete works for harpsichord, Gilbert undertook work for a new edition for the Couperin tercentenary in 1968. (He subsequently recorded the Couperin works for RCI, released on Harmonia Mundi in France, RCA in England, Musical Heritage Society in the United States, and other labels in Italy and Japan.) Heugel would publish Gilbert’s four volumes of Couperin works as part of its early-music series, Le Pupitre, between 1969 and 1972. Gilbert prepared a new edition from existing editions of the 555 sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti; eleven volumes were published by Heugel between 1971 and 1984. He prepared a facsimile edition of the complete harpsichord works of Couperin, published by Broude in 1973, and edited the complete harpsichord works of d’Anglebert, printed by Heugel in 1975. He also prepared new editions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for Salabert in 1979, Frescobaldi’s first and second books of toccatas for Zanibon in 1979 and 1980, and Rameau’s complete harpsichord works for Heugel 1979. In 1980, he began to prepare a reissue of Couperin’s complete works for L’Oiseau-Lyre of Monaco. With Élizabeth Gallat-Morin, he produced an annotated edition of Livre d’orgue de Montréal, published in three volumes by Éditions Jacques Ostiguy in 1985, 1987, and 1988.

Gilbert’s performances were devoted primarily to the harpsichord. In 1968, he gave his first recital in London and commenced an international career of concerts, broadcasts, and recordings. He was a soloist with several Canadian and American orchestras.

Gilbert taught at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal 1957–1974, at McGill University 1964–1972, at Laval University 1969–1976, and at the Royal Flemish Conservatory, Antwerp, Belgium, 1971–1974. In 1988, he began to teach at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and he became professor of harpsichord at the Conservatoire de Paris. For some years, he taught at Accademia Chigiana, Siena, Italy. Furthermore, he presented masterclasses throughout North America and Europe.

In 1978, the Canadian Music Council named Gilbert Artist of the Year. He was honored with the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée in 1981. In 1986, he was named an officer of the Order of Canada and in 1988 was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. He was an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music and Officier de l’Ordre des arts et lettres de France.


John Benjamin Hadley, 92, died January 5 in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Born July 1, 1927, in Iowa Falls, Iowa, he began playing organ in local churches at age 13 and received a Bachelor of Music degree from Iowa Falls Conservatory of Music in 1946.

After additional study in boy choir training and organ under John Dexter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he entered the London School of Church Music, London, Ontario, where he spent three years under the tutelage of Ernest White and Raymond Wicher. While in London, he met and married Dorothy Helen Gallop with whom he would spend 52 years, while raising two daughters, Vicki and Kim.

The Hadleys moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1951 where they would remain until the late 1980s. His first position was at St. Clement’s Catholic Church, Chicago, as organist and choirmaster, followed by Grace Episcopal Church, Hinsdale, and then Church of the Ascension, Episcopal, Chicago. In 1955, Hadley began assisting S. E. Gruenstein in his duties as editorial director and publisher of The Diapason. Upon the death of Gruenstein in December 1958, Hadley and Frank Cunkle were named associate editors of the journal. Hadley became publisher in August 1958 and left the staff of The Diapason September 1, 1959, for his duties at the Church of the Ascension. During his time in Chicago, he was a sales representative for the Schlicker Organ Company and held several positions with the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America.

Hadley became an editor at Encyclopaedia Britannica. He made several trips to China in the 1980s as the editorial liaison for the Chinese edition of the encyclopaedia. Additionally, he was a senior editor of Compton’s Encyclopedia and executive editor for The Britannica Book of Music as well as The Britannica Book of English Usage. It was during this time that he became an entrepreneur, and along with the vision of wife Dorothy, they opened a British import store in Door County, Wisconsin, where they had a second home.

In 1993 the Hadleys moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina, to be closer to the Brevard Music Festival. He became passionate about the program, choosing to bequeath the majority of his estate for the continuing funding of its work. In his retirement he served as organist of Hendersonville’s First United Methodist Church and finally St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Asheville, North Carolina.

John Benjamin Hadley was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, his partner Phyllis Hansen, and daughter Vicki Anderson. He is survived by son-in-law John Anderson, grandson Matt Anderson, and daughter Kim Parr.


Edmund Shay died April 21 in Woodbury, New Jersey. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, and attended the High School for Music and Art in Manhattan, followed by The Juilliard School, New York City, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 1962 he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship allowing him to study in Germany with Helmut Walcha. He later earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in performance and music theory from the University of Cincinnati.

Shay’s career as concert organist, teacher, and composer included teaching at the University of the Pacific, Beloit College, Pembroke State University, Madison College (now known as James Madison University), and Columbia College, Columbia, South Carolina. He maintained an active recital schedule while teaching and wrote articles for The American Organist and The Diapason. From 1986 through 1991 he wrote organ music reviews for The Diapason. For fourteen years, Shay directed a summer seminar for organists called “Bach Week,” sponsored by Columbia College. Upon his retirement in 2003, Shay relocated to a winter home in Washington, D.C., with a summer home in Vermont. In 2014 he began to battle dementia, and in 2017, he moved to Friends Village in Woodstown, New Jersey, and subsequently to Merion Gardens Assisted Living in Carney’s Point, New Jersey.

Edmund Shay was predeceased by his life partner of over 35 years, Raymond Harris; he is survived by his adopted nephew and niece, Dale and DeeAnn Harris of Salem, New Jersey. Memorial gifts in Shay’s name may be given Alzheimer’s research or your local animal shelter.


Nicholas Temperley, professor emeritus of the School of Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, died April 8. Born and educated in England, Temperley came to the University of Illinois in 1959 as a postdoctoral fellow, and he joined the faculty in 1967. He taught classes in the School of Music, supervised over fifty dissertations and theses, and served on dozens of doctoral committees. His publications include The Music of the English Parish Church (1979), Hymn Tune Index (1998), editions of music (including volumes for the Musica Britannica series and an edition of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique), and Bound for America: Three British Composers (2003), as well as several edited essay collections and scores of book chapters and journal articles.

After retiring in 1996, Temperley continued to be a researcher, writer, and editor. He also went on to guide the establishment of the North American British Music Studies Association [NABMSA] (2003) and serve as its first president, and he endowed prizes for student research: the Nicholas Temperley Dissertation Prize (later the Nicholas Temperley Musicology Research Scholarship, University of Illinois) and the Nicholas Temperley Student Paper Prize (NABMSA). In 1977, he was one of the co-founders of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association [MSVA], a group that sought to promote the interdisciplinary study of Victorian culture.

In 2012, a festschrift in his honor (Music and Performance Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain, ed. Bennett Zon) was published. In April 2019, MVSA presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in bringing music into the purview of Victorianists.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Evelyn Burnett Underwood fund at the Urbana School District, which provides musical instruments to students who cannot afford them (contact Stacey Peterik at [email protected]).


James Merle Weaver, 82, died April 16 in Rochester, New York. Born in Danville, Illinois, he began piano and organ studies there. He attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, during which time he gave piano and organ demonstrations and private lessons at a local music store and played Sunday church services. While on a high school field trip to Washington, D.C., Weaver saw his first harpsichords, displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. During his sophomore year at the U of I, he went to Amsterdam to study harpsichord and historical performance practice with Gustav Leonhardt.

Returning to Illinois, Weaver completed his bachelor’s (1961) and master’s (1963) degrees. Weaver and his young family then moved to Boston’s North End. His facility as a continuo player developed, both as a concert artist and for recordings. While in Boston, he befriended the music director of Old North Church, John T. Fesperman, who had been Leonhardt’s first American student (1955–1956). Fesperman left Boston in 1965 to take a position at the collection of musical instruments in the Smithsonian’s newly opened National Museum of History and Technology; Weaver followed him to the Smithsonian the next year, where he began a diverse career producing concert programs and exhibits, among other activities. In 1971, he worked to found the Friends of Music at the Smithsonian, which continues to support the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society.

Weaver pursued his exploration of newly restored harpsichords and forte-pianos in the Smithsonian’s collection, producing recordings. He established an ensemble in residence at the museum in 1976, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, which produced recordings through the Smithsonian Collection of Recordings, an arm of the institution’s Division of Performing Arts (DPA), which Weaver joined in the late 1970s.

In 1983, DPA’s functions were absorbed by other portions of the institution, and Weaver returned to the Division of Musical Instruments at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), as the National Museum of History and Technology had been renamed in 1980.

In addition to his Smithsonian activities, Weaver occasionally appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra and various professional choruses of the area. With the Smithsonian Chamber Players, he had a presence in the inaugural festivities for Jimmy Carter and later performed twice, including once as harpsichord soloist, at the Carter White House. He was subsequently invited to play at five inaugural luncheons, from Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural to George W. Bush’s first. Weaver taught at various times at American University, the University of Maryland, Cornell University, the Aston Magna Academy, and the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Following his move to Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, Weaver served as organist or organist/choirmaster at several churches, including Baltimore’s Mount Calvary Church, Washington’s St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and All Souls Episcopal Church, and finally at All Hallows Episcopal Church, Davidsonville, Maryland.

Following retirement from the Smithsonian, Weaver was appointed executive director (later chief executive officer) of the Organ Historical Society. During the last years of his tenure at the OHS, he supervised the relocation of its headquarters and archives to “Stoneleigh” in Villanova, Pennsylvania. He also expanded the E. Power Biggs Fellowship program.

James Merle Weaver is survived by husband/partner Samuel Baker; son Evan (Jill), three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by wife Patricia Estell and long-time former partner Eugene Behlen. Memorial gifts may be given to the Biggs Fellowship Program of the Organ Historical Society, 330 N. Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA 19085; or the Friends of Music at the Smithsonian, P. O.
Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012 (