Obituary of Alfred Mann from the Eastman School of Music website
- With thanks to Robin A. L. and Dan Z.:
IN MEMORY OF ALFRED MANN: 1917-2006
The Eastman School notes with sadness the death of musicologist and conductor Professor Emeritus Alfred Mann. Professor Mann died peacefully at his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Thursday, September 21. He was 89 years old.
Alfred Mann was born in Hamburg, Germany, on April 28, 1917. He studied in Milan and in Berlin, and then taught at the Berlin Hochschule (1937) and at Milan’s Scuola Musicale (1938). From 1939-1942 he studied and taught at the Curtis Institute; he later received the MA and PhD degrees from Columbia University (1950, 1955). In 1947 he joined the faculty of Rutgers University, where he taught until 1980, when he came to Eastman; he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Musicology in 1987, but remained active at Eastman until he moved to Indiana.
Alfred Mann was also a noted choral conductor; his recordings of Handel’s six Chandos Anthems, made with the Rutgers Collegium Musicium for Vanguard Records in the 1960s, were acclaimed by critics, and he conducted widely in America and in Germany. In 1961, he became director of publications of the American Choral Foundation, editing American Choral Review from 1962-1999.
Mann was widely respected for his research and writing on the history of music theory, particularly the teaching of counterpoint. His translation of a seminal work of contrapuntal theory, J. J. Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum (1725), was published in 1943 as Steps to Parnassus, and in 1965 as The Study of Counterpoint. Mann’s other books include Theory and Practice: The Great Composers as Teachers and Students and Bach and Handel: Choral Performance Practice. Mann edited a critical edition of Handel’s Messiah, among many other choral works. In 1997 he was made an honorary member of the International Bach Society – only the third American to be so honored.
Tremendously respected as a scholar, Alfred Mann was beloved as a teacher by both colleagues and students. His fellow Eastman faculty members describe him as “having a huge impact on Eastman faculty and students”; “a great man: brilliant, funny, and caring”; and “the gentlest of men, the soul of integrity.” Current Interim Dean Jamal Rossi says, “I remember very fondly the joy and enthusiasm he displayed when discussing particular works in a MHS 590 seminar.”
Alfred Mann’s wife, Carolyn Owens Mann, died in 1995. He is survived by three sons: Adrian, John, and Tim.
The obituary neglects to mention that Alfred was the son of the famous German harpsichordist Edith Weiss Mann (1885 - 1951), who immigrated to the United States at the same time as Alfred, to escape Nazi persecution.