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H. Wiley Hitchcock (1923-2007)

H. Wiley Hitchcock was instrumental in the “re-discovery” of Marc-Antoine Charpentier in the 20th Century. We are indebted to the seminal research he undertook to resurrect this almost forgotten master, whose music has delighted and moved audiences and who has now assumed a rightful place as one of the greatest composers in the history of music. His obituary was released today by Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College (CUNY).

The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College (CUNY) deeply regrets to announce that Distinguished Professor emeritus H. Wiley Hitchcock, 84, passed away in the early morning of December 5, 2007, after a lengthy illness. He was born September 28, 1923, in Detroit, MI. After attending Dartmouth (A.B., 1944) and University of Michigan (M.M. 1948, Ph.D. 1954) – studying in 1949 at the Conservatoire Américain (under Nadia Boulanger) – and after teaching at the University of Michigan, N.Y.U., and Hunter College, Professor Hitchcock came to Brooklyn College in 1971 where he was the founding director of the college’s Institute for Studies in American Music (ISAM). Wiley was brilliant, a true man of letters, a model musicologist with multifaceted interests, impeccable standards, and path-breaking publications. His highly esteemed work in American music studies (New Grove Dictionary of American Music; his Prentice-Hall textbook series that included his Music in the United States; studies on Charles Ives, etc. etc.) was built upon his excellent contributions to the fields of French and Italian Baroque music (M.-A. Charpentier, G. Caccini, et al.).

He was a staunch advocate for American music of all kinds. In 1990-92 he served as elected president of the American Musicological Society, and the number of distinguished projects and boards on which he served seems endless. Wiley was a respected colleague at the Conservatory as well as at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Doctoral Program in Music, where he became a helpful and encouraging mentor and friend to many newly minted Ph.D.’s in music. Those of us who knew Wiley personally always relished the notes or letters he sent us or the newsy gossip he might share.

For an interview that Wiley gave Frank J. Oteri in November 2002 and recalls for us his special style and wit, see: http://newmusicbox.org/44/interview_hitchcock.pdf

The Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College hopes to rename ISAM as the Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music, in Professor Hitchcock’s memory.

Wiley is survived by his wife Janet and a daughter and son, Susan and Hugh, from his first marriage, as well as two grandchildren. There will be a memorial service at a later date to be announced by the family.