01/10/2022

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David R. Fuller, 95, eminent musicologist who brought the famous Fisk Organ to UB | Featured Obituaries

5 min read
David R. Fuller, 95, eminent musicologist who brought the famous Fisk Organ to UB | Featured Obituaries

May 1, 1927 – June 19, 2022

When the University at Buffalo staged a live performance in 1997 to honor eminent musicologist David Fuller upon his retirement from the college, the centerpiece was the famous Fisk Opus 95 Organ in Slee Live performance Hall.

While Mr. Fuller didn’t conduct on the renowned instrument that afternoon, he was its learn from its uppermost rank of pipes to its deepest bass notice. An acquaintance of influential organ builder Charles B. Fisk considering that his early times as a professor, he spent much more than 20 several years collaborating on its structure and oversaw its set up in 1989-1990.

Its innovations had been the model for all of the live performance hall organs Fisk subsequently designed. Buffalo News reviewer Lynna Sedlak took the evaluate of the Fisk and Mr. Fuller in concert in 1992:

“It is capable of the purity of Baroque sounds in the two the French and German styles. It can satisfy the expressive surges of the Intimate fashion. It can blend each in the wide selection of needs in modern audio. Its tracker action clarifies the most demanding rhythms and phrasing.

“David Fuller, curator of the Fisk Organ, introduced a program that shown all of virtues of the organ. His performance was each individual little bit as delicate and responsive as the instrument.”

Mr. Fuller, emeritus professor of tunes, organist and director of the UB Organ Overall performance System, died June 19. He was 95.

Born in Newton, Mass., the youngest of 4 small children, David Randall Fuller was the descendant of two 17th century colonial families. His father, whose ancestors came to Newton in 1636, was a vice president of the Bakelite Corp., which produced the very first plastic manufactured from synthetic components.

He started piano classes when he was 8, analyzed organ and at 15 was substitute organist in a person of Newton’s foremost church buildings. He entered Harvard College to research tunes heritage in 1944 and enlisted in the Navy at the close of Entire world War II. Qualified at a radar university in California, he was discharged soon after serving for a shorter time at a study laboratory in Alexandria, Va.

He returned to Harvard, completing bachelor’s and master’s levels, researching composition with Walter Piston and Paul Hindemith, and using non-public lessons with major concert organist E. Energy Biggs.

He taught songs historical past and was organist at Robert Faculty, an American university in Istanbul, Turkey, from 1950 to 1953, taught for a 12 months at Bradford Junior Faculty in Haverhill, Mass., and was an assistant professor of music and organist from 1954 to 1957 at Dartmouth School, exactly where he began his long friendship with Fisk.

Returning to Harvard, he joined a group of musicians and scholars who pioneered the modern day examine of Renaissance and Baroque music and introduced it out of obscurity. He designed and hosted a Tv set lecture and recital series, “The Harpsichord,” for WGBH in Boston, Mass., in 1958.

Even though he was finishing his doctorate in audio at Harvard, he used a yr in France on a fellowship and studied with famous organist André Marchal. His doctoral dissertation, which cataloged 17th century French harpsichord tunes, was later on expanded to contain 18th century entries. Titled just “French Harpsichord Tunes,” it has turn out to be a conventional reference reserve and is nevertheless in print.

Professor Fuller came to UB in 1963 as a musicologist, educating undergraduate and graduate programs in Baroque music. Several of his learners have become notable new music students.

He was executive officer of the music department for two years and served a pair of two-calendar year terms as the department’s director of graduate studies. He was honored as a instructor of the year by the UB Pupil Association.

“In his teaching, you experienced to be absolutely versed in audio principle and the historic context of the audio,” his husband or wife and partner of 40 years, Alan P. Gerstman, observed. “And then in performance you engage in inside of this universe of procedures from the period, but you have to have liberty in the general performance.”

In 1996, he inaugurated Eastman Organists’ Day at UB, an yearly live performance that includes outstanding college students from the Eastman College of Audio in Rochester executing on the Fisk organ. He became a professor emeritus in 1998, but continued to give lessons and mentor graduate pupils.

Starting in the 1950s, Mr. Fuller executed around the planet. He gave regular harpsichord recitals, introducing the repertoire to Buffalo audiences, and collaborated with the avant-garde Artistic Associates in various packages. Among the his performances was “HPSCHD,” a composition for harpsichord and personal computer appears by John Cage and UB’s Lejaren Hiller.

He and William Christie, a native Buffalonian and renowned Baroque music conductor he had mentored at Harvard in the 1960s, recorded the formerly neglected harpsichord music of 18th century French composer Armand-Louis Couperin, and gave several live shows in Paris on historical instruments.

He made 3 albums for Seattle-based Loft Data, which wanted to release performances on the Fisk Organ. They included the initial-at any time recording of Sonata No. 8 by Hans Fährmann, a German composer of majestic organ symphonies whose printed tunes was destroyed for the duration of the firebombing of Dresden in World War II.

Previewing a overall performance of the sonata by Mr. Fuller in 2000, Information critic Herman Trotter noted that Fährmann is “so obscure that he premiums not a mention in both Grove’s or Baker’s, the authoritative general tunes reference publications. Even so, Fuller claims that he has been called ‘the Richard Strauss of the organ,’ and statements that this effectiveness will be the U.S. premiere and quite possible the first functionality any where in the past 75 decades.”

“He liked 19th century organ audio,” Gerstman explained, “particularly monumental items by Reger and Widor, and transcriptions of Wagner is effective. In his late decades, he would enjoy the 6 Bach Trio Sonatas, in each day rotation, from memory as an workout in memory retention.”

He printed extra than 100 articles, essays and testimonials, largely on 17th and 18th century French audio, and was mentioned for the depth of his scholarship and his witty creating model.

One of his scholarly initiatives started when he found an 18th century mechanical barrel organ in England which performed a composition by Handel in the style of the period. He then painstakingly transcribed just about every take note so that the efficiency could be examined and reproduced.

He was a member of the American Musicological Culture, the Culture for Seventeenth-Century Music, the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Culture and the Pierce-Arrow Culture.

A traditional car or truck enthusiast, his first car as a scholar was a Pierce-Arrow, adopted by a pair of Duesenbergs. His prize was a tan 12-cylinder 1936 Pierce-Arrow convertible roadster with crimson fenders, which he drove for several yrs on everyday errands. Also a preservationist, he put in decades restoring his Victorian-period house in the Elmwood Village, which had been developed and owned by Buffalo architect Henry Harrison Small.

Survivors involve two nieces, grandnieces and a grandnephew.

A graveside services was held June 25 in Forest Garden. A memorial live performance in Slee Corridor will be arranged.

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