Composer and Professor of Music, Dies
Dec. 4, 2006
Mass. -- Arlene Zallman, a gifted composer and long-time professor
of music theory and composition at Wellesley College, died November
25 at her home in Wellesley, surrounded by her family and close
friends. She was 72.
and devoted teacher for more than 30 years, Zallman continued
a month before her death. “Arlene
was much beloved by her colleagues and students in the Music Department,
which greatly benefited from her leadership,” said Claire
Fontijn, chair of the Music Department. “As a scholar, mentor,
teacher and colleague, she promoted a big vision and brought sensitive
grace to every transaction. Her compositions testify to the inner
radiance of the music she heard and created.”
“An indefatigable proponent of live music, she was a loyal fan
of and mentor to fellow musicians,” noted her daughter
Minna Proctor of Brooklyn, New York. “She was ambitious,
committed, and devoted to beauty. Her own music was fed by poetry,
art, and the work of her friends and teachers.”
from the Juilliard School of Music and earned a Master’s
Degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where her principal
were Vincent Persichetti and George Crumb.
Upon graduation, she received the Marion S. Freschl Award for Vocal
Composition. In 1959, she enjoyed a two-year Fulbright Scholarship
to Florence, Italy, to study with Luigi Dallapiccola.
Before joining the Wellesley faculty in 1976, she held teaching
positions on the faculties of the Oberlin College Conservatory
of Music and Yale University.
Her Three Songs from Quasimodo won awards from the National Endowment
for the Arts and the ISCM. She received awards for her composition
and performance activities from Meet the Composer, the Massachusetts
Council for the Arts and Humanities, the Mellon Foundation and
the Guggenheim Foundation.
in 1963, she held seven fellowships at the MacDowell Colony,
the nation’s oldest artists’ colony,
where she was named the Faye Barnaby Kent Fellow (awarded by
Chi Omega Foundation). She was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute
for Advanced Study during the 2001-2002 academic year.
important commissions from: the University of Texas Drama Department
her incidental music to Molière’s
The Imaginary Invalid for solo singers, chorus, and chamber orchestra;
the Concord Chorus for her Emerson Motets; the 1996 Seminar on
Contemporary Music for the Young at the Rivers Music School in
Weston, MA for her East,West of the Sun for treble voices and chamber
orchestra; and, for the Town of Wellesley Community Orchestra,
Quasi una serenata, an orchestral work.
The Trio 1999,
written for the Triple Helix Piano Trio, has become a staple
in the repertory
of the acclaimed ensemble. Three of her
works were premiered in the Boston area: “and with ah! bright
wings” (G.M.Hopkins) for SATB and organ by the King’s
Chapel Choir; “Vox feminae” (texts from the Carmina
Burana), a song cycle for soprano and piano with soprano Sarah
Pelletier and pianist Elise Yun at the Goethe-Institut in March
2003; “Il sabato del villaggio” (Giacomo Leopardi)
with the Lydian String Quartet and contralto Marion Dry at Brandeis
University in June 2003. During the summer of 2003, Zallman was
guest composer-in-residence at the Rocca di Mezzo Music Festival
in the Abruzzi region, Italy, which featured her music for solo
are published by the Association for the Promotion of New Music
and by C.F. Peters: Variations
on a villanella, “Alma, che fai?” by Luca Marenzio
for piano solo; Sei la terra che aspetta for violoncello and piano;
Nightsongs for soprano, flute / alto flute, clarinet / bass clarinet;
Trio 1999 for piano trio; and East, West of the Sun, for treble
voices and chamber orchestra.
Zallman was born September 9, 1934, in Philadelphia. She is survived
by her daughters, Minna Proctor of Brooklyn and Martha Proctor
of Pelham, and her grandsons, Silas Pilapil and Isaac Zalman Anastas.
She was laid to rest November 29 at Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst.
A memorial service and concert is planned for March 31 in Houghton
Memorial Chapel at 4:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Arlene Zallman
Fund for students at the Wellesley College Music Dept. or the MacDowell
Colony, Peterborough, NH.