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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today was my father's birthday. He was a wonderful human being.

March 12, 1998
Saul Novack, 79; Nurtured Queens College Music

Saul Novack, the former dean of arts and humanities at Queens College and a professor emeritus at the college's Aaron Copland School of Music, died on March 4 at New York Hospital. He was 79 and lived in Belle Harbor, N.Y.

Ron Cannava, a spokesman for Queens College, said the cause was lymphoma.

Mr. Novack revamped the music theory and analysis department at Queens College and established the City University of New York's Ph.D. program in music, as well as degrees in instrumental performance at both the graduate and undergraduate level. His most lasting accomplishment, though, was helping to transform the college's music department into the Aaron Copland School of Music in 1982, his final year as dean. He retired in 1985 and accepted an emeritus position.

Mr. Novack prevailed against considerable opposition to his insistence that the school be named for a living composer. He also set in motion the process of having a new state-of-the-art building constructed for the school. The building, a $28 million complex of classrooms, practice studios and faculty offices, with a recording studio and a 491-seat concert hall, was opened in 1992.

Mr. Novack was born in Manhattan in 1918 and received degrees from City College in 1939 and Columbia University in 1941. A conductor by training, he worked as an apprentice and assistant to Fritz Stiedry at the Metropolitan Opera in the early 1940's and as a guest conductor through the mid-1950's. He joined the Queens College music department in 1952 and was its chairman from 1961 to 1966 and dean of arts and humanities from 1978 to 1982.

He also taught at Hunter College, City College and the Mannes College of Music and was a visiting fellow at the Humanities Research Center of the Australian National University in 1975 and 1976. He published many articles in scholarly journals -- his study of the Haydn string quartets is to be published in The Music Forum later this year -- and was an adviser to Dover Press, which publishes books on music and inexpensive reprints of classical scores.

See also:

Paid Notice: Deaths NOVACK, SAUL
Published: Friday, March 6, 1998

NOVACK - Saul. Extraordinary, compassionate, brilliant, much loved human being, professor emeritus, former dean of humanities and chairman of the Music Department, Queens College. Adored by wife, Phyllis, and daughter, Carol. Gather to honor our beloved at the Ceremonial Room, Ethical Cultural Society, 2 W. 64 St., Saturday, March 7, 3-5 PM. A memorial celebration will be held on a later date at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Saul Novack Scholarship at the Aaron Copland School of Music.

As I mentioned previously, my parents shared the same day of death, 11 years apart: March 4th.

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