“Marilyn Mason, a concert organist who championed living composers and shaped generations of organists over a record-breaking 67 years on the faculty at the University of Michigan, died on April 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She was 93,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Thursday’s (4/25) New York Times. “Dr. Mason’s concert career took her to churches and halls on five continents. In 1957 she was the first American woman to play an organ concerto at Westminster Abbey. By then she had established herself as a performer of persuasive and vivid readings of new music, thanks in part to her 1951 recording of Arnold Schoenberg’s Variations on a Recitative (Op. 40). Dr. Mason … became one of the most prominent advocates for this dense and spiky piece. She commissioned more than 70 works from composers, including William Bolcom and Jean Langlais. Marilyn May Mason was born in Alva, Okla., on June 29, 1925…. She became an instructor [at the University of Michigan] in 1947. Although she [earned] her doctorate in sacred music at Union Theological Seminary and spent time in Paris studying … with … Nadia Boulanger, she remained on the Michigan faculty for 67 years, longer than anyone in its history, the university said.”

Posted April 29, 2019