Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sic transit gloria mundi

Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006)

I only knew the composer Daniel Pinkham in passing (I met him at a few parties where he sometimes had new music on offer), but of course I knew his work, and appreciated what John Gibbons, chairman of the historical performance department at New England Conservatory, called his "elegant simplicity" (as quoted in the excellent Globe obituary by Jeremy Eichler). Pinkham was a pioneer of the early music movement, an accomplished composer, an institution at New England Conservatory, and a local light who worked till the very end of his days in the same tradition of gay American composition that included Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland. In fact, the night before he died, the Harvard University choir premiered his latest work, "A Cradle Hymn" - a reminder that Pinkham was a leading exponent of the genre that still dares not speak its name: gay sacred music.

From his website,

A memorial service will be at 2 pm on Saturday, the 20th of January at King's Chapel, 58 Tremont Street in Boston. There will be a reception following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Pinkham Endowment for Music
King's Chapel House
64 Beacon Street
Boston MA 02108

Daniel Pinkham Scholarship Fund
New England Conservatory of Music
290 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115

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