FSU music professor earns prestigious research fellowship

Florida State University Music Professor Iain Quinn has received a prestigious fellowship to study and bring new life to the musical archive of Rudolph Ganz, an influential and celebrated 20th-century composer, conductor, pianist and music educator.

The fellowship comes from the Newberry, a historic research library in Chicago and the repository for Ganz’s extensive collection of writings, speeches, lectures and recordings. He spent much of his career in Chicago.

Quinn, an assistant professor of organ and coordinator of sacred music at FSU’s College of Music, plans to travel between Tallahassee and Chicago this fall to examine the archive for a book currently titled “Rudolph Ganz — Communicating with an Audience.”

“I will also be preparing new editions of previously unpublished orchestral and chamber works, so that they can be available in modern performing editions for future generations of performers,” Quinn said. “I especially look forward to hearing the orchestral works played and hopefully recorded in our own time.”

During the first half of the 20th century, Ganz was a strong supporter of Western art music and new music in general. He spent time conducting Young People’s Concerts in several cities, including New York City in the 1940s. His work was critical to the development of these special programs by later figures including the internationally renowned conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.

This is Quinn’s second scholarly award in the past 18 months. In spring 2017, he taught organ, performed concerts and gave lectures at the distinguished Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, through a Fulbright award.

“I see an important overlap between the work of Rudolph Ganz and my Fulbright experience in St. Petersburg last year,” Quinn said. “The Russian approach to musical education of the public remains utterly uncompromising despite challenges. As a parent, I’m excited about what is being offered to children on a weekly basis in St. Petersburg and how the masterworks of the repertoire are being introduced to young audiences. There is much that can be learned in this respect from both Ganz, as well as the Russian model.”

Quinn’s Newberry Long-Term Fellowship, a competitive research award recognized as a Top American Research Universities (TARU) award, starts in September. He hopes his book will include new insights about Ganz’s work as a musical director, teacher and entrepreneur.

“Ganz saw the important educational role of the musician in society,” Quinn said. “He ensured standards were not compromised within the contemporary music profession and orchestral programming was expanded for audiences of all ages. The monograph I plan to write about him will include evidence of the musician’s role as an entrepreneurial figure in 20th-century society that will allow us to consider our own approaches to the profession and audiences afresh. The critical editions will, in turn, allow performers and scholars to consider Ganz’s compositional work anew.”

The Newberry, founded in downtown Chicago in 1887, is a free library that contains a large collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts and other historical materials covering six centuries. Each year, the Newberry names about 10 scholars from around the world as long-term fellows in its mission to advance scholarship, develop new interpretations and broaden knowledge of history.