William Austin, 1920-2000
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 100 14:48:24 -0800
Subject: William Austin, 1920-2000
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: "Blech, Kerry E" <Kerry.Blech@PSS.Boeing.com>
Forwarded-by: Paul F. Wells<email@example.com>
From: "Stephen M. Shearon" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I forward this because I was knocked out by it, and perhaps you too will
be. Chris Freitag is an editor with McGraw-Hill and is in charge of the
next edition of Willoughby's "The World of Music." He was here on campus
last week. William Austin is a well-known scholar of twentieth-century
music who just passed away.
From: "Freitag, Chris" <Chris_Freitag@mcgraw-hill.com>
Subject: RE: William Austin, 1920-2000
I was very saddened by this news. One of my fondest memories of my graduate
work at Cornell is working as Dr. Austin's teaching assistant for the
Intro to Music class.
I met with him a few days before the first class. I had taught my own
appreciation course at Temple U. and so of course thought I knew
everything. I asked him how I should prepare for the first meeting. He
said "Oh, just be there about 5 minutes before we start."
We met in the auditorium at Barnes Hall, a small performace space in an
old brick building near the center or campus. There were about 150 students
lounging in the seats with studied indifference. On the stage was a grand
piano and a rollaround stereo cart. It was the fall of 1984.
Dr. Austin entered from a door at the side of the stage. Without a word,
he went to the piano, sat, and played the first page or so of the slow
movement from the "Pathetique" Sonata. The students were quiet and
attentive; clearly this was going to be a course about great
music...exactly what they expected.
At the end of a passage Dr. Austin stood and walked to the stereo and
turned it on. The music absolutely exploded...it was dance club loud. The
selection was Prince's "1999" and the abrupt change electrified the room.
He played a minute or so of the song, turned it off, and walked to the
front of the stage. In his quiet voice he said "The purpose of this class
is to help you learn what those two things have in common."
He had us all in the palm of his hand for the rest of the term.
I learned more about teaching music appreciation in those five minutes
than I had learned in two years of actually doing it.
© 2000 Peter Langston