Dear Editor,

In mentioning the direct line from Paul Hindemith to George Hunter to Tom Binkley, Mr. Buis omitted another important branch in his genealogy of Hindemith's influence on early music performance in America. Perhaps he is not aware that New York Pro Musica, under the direction of the late Noah Greenberg, was an umbrella organization under which several ex-Yale-Collegium members flourished.

Paul Maynard was the permanent keyboard artist who succeeded Blanche Winograd. Maynard played harpsichord, regal, organetto, and positif (and psaltery in The Play of Daniel) for many years. He prepared and directed the ensemble for the New York Josquin Symposium in 1971 and the memorial concert for Greenberg in 1963. Maynard further developed an exquisite ensemble for early music at Queens College in New York. Jean Hakes contributed her invaluable soprano voice to the ensemble for many years. Besides Maynard and Hakes, Robert Montesi, Joseph Iadone, Inez Lynch, and Martha Bixler, all from the Hindemith years at Yale University, participated in especially prepared concerts of NY Pro Musica.

It was my suggestion that Maynard be engaged. Also, having heard Russell Oberlin earlier in a performance of Michael Tippett's A Child of our Time at the Juilliard School, I proposed that Greenberg search him out as a prospective tenor/countertenor. Shortly thereafter, I became a member of the original board of directors of NY Pro Musica.

Further I question Mr Buis's thesis of the relationship between Gebrauchsmusik and early music performance = music for amateurs. It is certainly well known that the composer always directed his compositions to a broad spectrum of audience and in his theoretical pursuits endeavored to find common denominators which might assure this understanding. But, Hindemith's Collegium concerts were, after all, an extension of his course in the History of Music Theory, and served as practical illustration, for graduate students, of the historical period considered in the previous semester. Further, in my wildest dreams I could not construe the following professional musicians (my fellow students) as amateurs: Howard Boatwright, Robert Gottlieb, Eckhart Richter, Andrew Salvo, Warren Stannard, Alan Williams, William Skelton, Mr. Montesi, Thomas Philips, Keith Wilson (faculty member), Campbell Smith, Mr. Iadone, Paul Fetler, John Huwiler, Vivian Hunter, David Kraehenbuehl—the Instrumentalists in the 1948 concert.

Besides, the 1948 chorus of 74 singers was able to sight-read Isaac, Senf1, Josquin, Jannequin, you name it. It was a requirement of admission to the group! And among them were plenty of professionals-performers and scholars: Helen Boatwright (guest), Gertrude Hindemith (guest), Sylvia Kenney, Anne Parsonnet, Rosalind Simonds (guest), Miriam Withrow, Heinz Arnold, Leonard Berkowitz, H. Murray Blumenfeld, Michael Brotman, Beekman Cannon, John Cowell, Thomas Goodman, Robert Hickok, Alvin Johnson, Alvin King, Bernard Leighton, Victor Mattfeld, Mr. Maynard, the undersigned, Peter RĂ©, Brooks Shepard, Glen Sherman, Frank Widdis, to name a few. Amateurs, indeed!

These Collegium programs were performed only once or twice in the spring [the same program repeated]; the audience was asked to participate in one unison song or canon in each program. Therefore I fail to understand the importance given these anecdotal efforts in Buis's argument. Though extremely revealing and rewarding to our mentor and his students, the Collegia Musica at Yale seem a mere footnote to the immense activity of one of the 20th-century's finest composers/conductors/performers/linguists/theoreticians /teachers/music orthographers.

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Last modified on Thursday, 07/11/2013

MusB. '47, MUSM' 48, Yale University
Editor-Compiler: Register of the Paul Hindemith Collection at Yale University, 1994

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