David Stephen Boe died April 28, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois. Since 2012, he and his wife, Sigrid North Boe, had lived at a Chicago retirement community, where they moved to be near family.
David Boe was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and spent most of his early years in Eau Claire and Menomonie, Wisconsin. His father was a Lutheran pastor, and his mother was a singer and choral conductor. Boe received his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, in 1958, and his Master of Music degree in organ performance from Syracuse University in 1960, studying under Arthur Poister. He received a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship for additional study with Helmut Walcha at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Frankfurt, Germany. It was while Boe was studying with Walcha at the Dreikönigskirche that he met one of the pastor’s daughters, Sigrid North, who became his wife. They were married by Sigrid’s father, Pastor Paulus North, on July 23, 1961; Walcha, a friend of the North family, served as organist. When the Boes returned to the United States, he taught organ for one year at the University of Georgia (1961–1962).
In 1962, David Boe joined the organ and harpsichord faculty of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio. He also became director of music at First Lutheran Church, Lorain, Ohio. He returned to Europe in 1968 while on sabbatical to study with Gustav Leonhardt and to conduct research on historical instruments in the Netherlands and northern Germany. Under Boe’s leadership, in 1970, First Lutheran Church, Lorain, awarded a contract to John Brombaugh for a new organ to be built according to historical principles. This landmark instrument and the church were destroyed by fire in 2014. Boe served the church until his retirement on Pentecost Sunday, 2002.
David Boe was appointed the ninth dean of Oberlin Conservatory in 1976 after having served as acting dean from 1974 to 1975. He later served as interim dean on several occasions. In the 1980s, he served as vice president of the American Organ Academy; completed a four-year term as national president of the American honor society in music, Pi Kappa Lambda; and was secretary of the National Association of Schools of Music, chairing music accreditation teams or serving as a consultant to music programs at over thirty-five institutions. He later served as trustee for the Westfield Center for many years.
As a performer, Boe was represented by WindWerk Artists and concertized in the United States and Europe. He recorded on the Gasparo and Veritas labels, and he appeared on the nationally televised program The Wind at One’s Fingertips. During his 1991 sabbatical, he served as visiting professor of organ for the spring semester at Florida State University, Tallahassee, and as visiting professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame during the fall semester.
David Boe played an important part in establishing the organ collection at Oberlin, including the installation of John Brombaugh Opus 25 (1981), a meantone organ in Fairchild Chapel, and C. B. Fisk, Inc., Opus 116 (2001) in Finney Chapel, built in the style of Cavaillé-Coll. Upon his retirement, he donated his residence organ, a one-manual, six-stop Brombaugh organ, to Oberlin, where it was installed in the front of Fairchild Chapel. He served as consultant for the 2004 organ built by Halbert Gober for First Church (UCC) in Oberlin and performed on the dedicatory recital.
As a 70th birthday gift in 2006, four of Boe’s former students commissioned a new two-manual and pedal clavichord built in Göteborg, Sweden, by Joel Speerstra, a former Boe student at Oberlin. For Boe’s 75th birthday in 2011, two alumni honored both David and Sigrid Boe with the purchase of the two-manual and pedal organ originally built for SUNY, Purchase, New York, by the Bozeman-Gibson Organ Company in the style of Gottfried Silbermann. In 2011, Boe’s undergraduate alma mater, St. Olaf College, awarded him its Alumni Achievement Award. At that time, St. Olaf recorded a video at the Boe residence in Oberlin that is available online: https://www.stolaf.edu/multimedia/play/?p=28 (the interview begins at 29:20).
David S. Boe is survived by his wife Sigrid; their son Stephen and his wife Joo; their son Eric and his wife Lisa; their four granddaughters Sydney, Haley, Alexis, and Olivia; and his two sisters, Judith Boe and Carol Brann.
Jane Parker-Smith, 70, died June 24 in London, UK. Born May 20, 1950, she studied at the Royal College of Music in London, soon earning a number of prizes and scholarships, including the Walford Davies Prize for organ performance. After a further period of work with Nicolas Kynaston, a French government scholarship enabled her to complete her studies in Paris with Jean Langlais.
She made her London debut at Westminster Cathedral at age twenty and two years later made her first solo appearance at the BBC Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall. She would proceed to concertize in concert halls, cathedrals, and churches throughout the world.
She recorded a wide range of solo repertoire for RCA, Classics for Pleasure, L’Oiseau Lyre, EMI, ASV, Collins Classics, Motette, and AVIE. In addition, she collaborated with Maurice André in a duo recording of music for trumpet and organ. She performed numerous times on radio and television with special feature programs on the BBC, German, and Swiss television.
Highlights in her concert career included performances in venues and international festivals such as Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, London (both solo and concerto performances); Three Choirs Festival, City of London Festival, Bath Festival, and Blenheim Palace (Winston Churchill Memorial Concert) in the UK; Jyväskylä Festival, Finland; Stockholm Concert Hall, Sweden; Hong Kong Arts Festival; Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Festival Paris Quartier D’Été, France; Festival Cicio El Organo en la Iglesia, Buenos Aires; Festival Internationale di Musica Organistica Magadino, Switzerland; Cube Concert Hall, Shiroishi, Japan; Athens Organ Festival; Severance Hall, Cleveland, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; Sejong Cultural Centre, Seoul, Korea; Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore; Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK; Mariinsky Concert Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia; and ZK Matthews Hall, University of South Africa, Pretoria. For the American Guild of Organists, she performed for the 1996 centennial convention in New York City, as well as national conventions in 2002 in Philadelphia and 2012 in Nashville. She was represented in the United States by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.
Jane Parker-Smith’s concerto repertoire brought her performances with many leading orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and BBC Concert Orchestras, London Symphony, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Athens State Orchestra, and Prague Chamber Orchestra.
Jane Parker-Smith was an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers and a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. She was listed in World Who’s Who and International Who’s Who in Music and in 2014 was chosen as one of “The 1000 Most Influential Londoners” by the London Evening Standard newspaper.
Hampson A. Sisler of New York, New York, died May 25. He was born in 1932 in Yonkers, New York, and began his musical education at age 12, studying with David McK. Williams and Norman Coke-Jephcott. He earned a licentiate in organ and related subjects from Trinity College of Music, London, at age 16 and achieved the fellowship certification in the American Guild of Organists at age 17, the youngest ever to receive this distinction. Sisler spent more than 50 years as an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon in New York City. He was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Sisler began playing organ in church when he was eleven. He was active as an organist and choir director serving various churches, most notably Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn and Central Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. As a composer, he had more than 100 works to his credit, including pieces for organ, chorus, concert band, chamber and symphony orchestra. His works have been performed and recorded worldwide with orchestras in the United States as well as in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Israel, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, and Ukraine. As an organ recitalist, he performed in and around New York City, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
He was recently named “one of the significant composers of contemporary America” by The Organ magazine, London. His first works were published at age nineteen starting with H. W. Gray Co. as well as Jos. Fischer & Co., Belwin Mills, E. P. Adams, Inc., World Library Publications, Laurendale, and MorningStar Music Publishers.
Hampson A. Sisler was predeceased by his spouse, Gene Iacovetta, in 2019. Survivors include a nephew, Thomas Sisler, two nieces, Carrie Kozikowski and Nancy Westphal, and a cousin, William Nodine.