JAVS Summer 2023

In Memoriam

Remembering Dr. Thomas Hall A Life Well Lived!

interview that I thought that he had a smile on his face when writing each and every article…Tom just smiled!

A little about Tom’s performing: although he performed as a freelance violist in the southern California region and often on the Campus of Chapman University, he was most proud of his long tenure performing with the world-famous summer Carmel Bach Festival starting in 1953 and as Principal Violist starting in 1970. He said of his tenure as Principal that, “I auditioned in 1970 [for the principal position] and started on twenty-one consecutive summers of magnificent music making, social exuberance, professional pleasure, aesthetic joy, and wonderful fun.” That tells you something very special about Thomas Hall. Hundreds of students refined their viola playing skills in his studio; many more gained a broader understanding of music in his history classes and through performing in his Early Music Ensemble. Yet, they also benefited by his skillful leadership as Chair of the Music Department and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the Schools of Music at Chapman University. Tom retired from teaching in 2001. He continued to attend Chapman music events, he and Willy gave generously as donors to the conservatory, and Tom was an active member of the Retired and Emeritus Faculty Association of Chapman University. 2 Circling back to 1987, Tom’s intellectual curiosity led him to spend three months at The Center for Computer Research and Acoustics at Stanford University. When he retired, Tom began to fully use his acquired computer music-writing skills: he worked first with a program called Score that he learned at Stanford, and then transitioned to Finale’s music-writing software. Tom consulted his friends David Dalton and David Bynog; the three came up with various pieces that would be welcomed additions to our repertoire—my favorites are the five Divertimenti by Mozart for three basset horns transcribed for three violas. These are delightful pieces not normally heard on the concert stage. In any case, the pieces—some 19 pieces

Dr. Tom Hall, Performing at Carmel Bach Festival.

Tom Hall was a friend and a colleague—a superb violist, a caring, thoughtful, and masterful teacher—a serious writer with sparkling wit and humor, a committed Professor at Chapman University in Orange, California, and a loving husband to his wife, Willy Hall. My heart ached when I heard Tom passed on March 9, 2023. Yet, he led a marvelous life of music through performance, creativity in his teaching, and in writing articles and reviews packed with wisdom and practical advice: just plain good reading. Many AVS members will remember Tom; he wrote for JAVS from 1988 until 1999. Included in his writing were cogent reviews of new music, a column he took particular delight in titled variously “The Viola Today, in Greater L.A.,” or “The Viola Today Around L.A.,” and Congress and Festival reviews. I confessed in a two-part interview with Tom (published in JAVS), that when his articles were published, I only dutifully read them—so busy with my own career and life. 1 Upon re-reading them for the interview, I discovered the fullness of his sparkling wit, unique and masterful observations, and common musical sense woven throughout each article! I did remark in the

Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, Summer 2023 Online Issue


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