Douglass M. Green

Douglass M. Green (1926-1999) attended school in Los Angeles. After service in the Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II, he received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Redlands in California and his doctorate from Boston University, where he wrote his dissertation on Leonardo Leo. He received a Fulbright award which enabled him and Marquita to spend a year in the 1950s in Florence, Italy, where they had many wonderful adventures. Widely known as an expert in the music of Debussy and Berg, Dr. Green was the author of many articles and books on musical form, harmony, and Neapolitan opera overtures. At the time of his death, he was working on the second volume of Principles and Practice of Counterpoint and on a CD-ROM version of Harmony Through Counterpoint.

Dr. Green’s teaching career included positions in Japan, the University of California at Santa Barbara, St. Joseph College in Connecticut, the Eastman School of Music, and The University of Texas at Austin, where he joined the faculty in 1977. He was also the choirmaster and organist at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd from 1978 to 1991 and at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church from 1991 to 1996.

Dr. Green was highly regarded for his wide-ranging knowledge of music and for his complete devotion to his students, to whom he gave countless hours of help and conversation outside of the classroom. His love of music spanned all time periods and all genres from Berg to Debussy, Brahms, Mozart, and Josquin, and his knowledge of music literature was encyclopedic.

In spite of his accomplishments, he was a person of uncommon modesty. One of his former students recalled that Dr. Green, with his customary enthusiasm, told the class about the Baudelaire-George text in the sketches of Berg's Lyric Suite and how the discovery of this poem in Berg’s sketches led to the eventual unraveling of the work’s "secret program.” A few months later the student learned one detail that Dr. Green had omitted—that it was Douglass Green himself who had first discovered the poem in a library in Vienna.

In many ways, Dr. Green was the heart and soul of the music theory faculty at The University of Texas. Almost every day faculty members would gather around the table in his office for a brown-bag lunch, over which he would preside with humor and an endless supply of musical anecdotes. Every fall he and Marquita generously opened their house to all of the theory and composition faculty and graduate students to help the new people feel welcome and to reinforce a general sense of community. Dr. Green was universally admired by his colleagues and students in the School of Music. He will be terribly missed by them and by his friends and ex-students around the world.