Nunc dimittis: Gordon Auchincloss, Hans Haselböck, David Miller, Rick Tripodi

November 30, 2021

Gordon Sibley Auchincloss

Gordon Sibley Auchincloss, 79, died June 11 in Norfolk, Virginia. Born July 28, 1941, in New York City, he was a graduate of the Lenox School, Lenox, Massachusetts. After serving in the United States Navy as a medical corpsman, he earned a bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at New Paltz. From an early age Auchincloss was fascinated by the sound of pipe organs and, thanks to his grandmother and an aunt, was able to travel widely with them in Europe, playing many organs.

These experiences inspired Auchincloss to become a pipe organ builder. He originally sought opportunities to build mechanical-action instruments with John Brombaugh, then with Fritz Mertel in Salzburg, Austria, returning to the United States to work with Richard Hamar, before ending his career as assistant vice president at Austin Organs, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut. He was widely known for his ability to diagnose and fix problems with actions and consoles. A lifelong member of various church choirs, Auchincloss also had a strong interest in Bible study, often serving as a leader. He considered his vocation as an organ builder to be a divine calling.

Gordon Sibley Auchincloss is survived by his wife of 53 years, Joyce Brooks Auchincloss, an organist; a brother, Stuart Auchincloss, and his wife, Susan Carpenter Auchincloss; a sister, Sibley Anne Hannigan; as well as nieces and nephews. A celebration of life service was held June 19 at Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 560 Olney Road, Norfolk, Virginia 23507. Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of Music fund at the church.

Hans Haselböck

Hans Haselböck, 93, Austrian organist and composer, died October 20. Born July 26, 1928, in Nesselstauden, Austria, he attended school in Krems an der Donau. Beginning in 1947, he studied at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna as well as at the University of Vienna (classics and German), where he earned his doctorate in 1953.

In 1949, Haselböck became organist of the Dominican Church in Vienna, serving for more than 65 years. He taught Latin and German at the city’s Sigmund Freud Gymnasium. He won three consecutive first prizes at the Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition, 1958–1960, and in 1960 was appointed to the faculty of the Vienna University of Music and the Performing Arts. There he taught organ and improvisation, serving as chair of the church music department between 1963 and 1987. He was appointed professor of organ and improvisation in 1972. Between 1985 and 1990 he served as deputy director of the school.

Haselböck performed extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Japan, and Korea. He was a published composer as well as editor of numerous editions. His research into the history of the organ and performance practice led to several book-length publications. He served as juror at various international organ competitions. In 1997, Haselböck was awarded the Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria.

Among his survivors are his sons, Martin Haselböck, organist, conductor, and composer; and Lukas Haselböck, composer, musicologist, and vocalist.

David Lunn Miller

David Lunn Miller, 70, died October 14 in Huntsville, Alabama. Born January 3, 1951, he was introduced to the organ at age three while spending time with his father, a pastor, in his church, studying the instrument in his youth in Kansas City. He received his undergraduate degree at Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Oklahoma, his master’s degree at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, and his doctorate at University of Missouri, Kansas City, in both choral conducting and organ. Early in his career he was a part-time music director and then professor of music and organ at Nazarene colleges. He transitioned to full-time director of music ministries and church organist positions, most recently at Huntsville First United Methodist Church as the director of music ministries and organist from 2005 until his retirement in 2018.

David L. Miller is survived by his brothers Stephen (Cynthia) and Michael (Shawn), as well as a niece, Erin, and a nephew, Jordan (Maddyson and their two children). Donations in his memory may be sent to Ocular Melanoma Foundation, 1717 K St. NW, Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20006, or Huntsville First United Methodist Church, 120 Greene St SE, Huntsville, Alabama 35801.

Frederick A. “Rick” Tripodi

Frederick A. “Rick” Tripodi died July 30. Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, on August 2, 1949, he was a 1967 graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Greenwich. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971 and master’s degree in 1976 in organ performance from The Juilliard School, New York, New York. Tripodi had a long career as a church organist and choir director throughout the New York and greater Fairfield County Catholic dioceses, including spending nearly thirty years at St. John’s Catholic Church, Darien, Connecticut. Most recently, he was music director and organist at Green Farms Congregational Church, Westport, Connecticut.

In addition to his church positions, Tripodi regularly performed concerts in many churches throughout the region, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Trinity Church Wall Street, and St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, all in New York City. He was also an organ consultant to churches in the region.

Frederick A. “Rick” Tripodi is survived by his partner, Matthew Brien; his sisters, Anita Walton, her husband Bill Walton, and their children; and Janet Tripodi Gray, and her husband Zeb Gray. Memorial gifts may be given to Greens Farms Congregational Church, 71 Hillandale Road, Westport, Connecticut 06880.

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