EUGENE K. WOLF, MUSICOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Eugene K. Wolf, Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, died of colon cancer on December 12 in Philadelphia at the ageof 63. At the time of his retirement in 1998, he served as the Class of 1965 Professor of Music. Prior to his appointment to the Penn faculty in 1973, he taught at Syracuse University. He also served as Visiting Professor at Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Bryn Mawr College.
A musicologist who specialized in the music of the 18th century, Dr. Wolf was a world-renowned expert on the classical symphony--its origins, style, and sources. He was a trombonist and attended the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, where he received his bachelors degree in 1961. He pursued graduate studies in musicology at New York University, which awarded him a Ph.D. in 1972.
In his research, Dr. Wolf concentrated on the early history of the classical symphony. His work shed new light on the antecedents of that genre. In particular, his book on Johann Stamitz illuminated the important role of the composers at the electoral court of Mannheim in the formation of the classical style.
Much of Dr. Wolf's research was based upon the evaluation of music preserved in 18th-century European manuscripts, and his innovative methodologies brought such studies to new levels of rigor and sophistication. His methods enabled him to reunite a great number of the musical manuscripts of the Mannheim court, sources that had been widely dispersed all over Europe. Their reunification defined a symphonic repertory that demonstrated the importance of Mannheim for the origins of the symphony. In 1974, Dr. Wolf's first study of the Mannheim manuscripts, written jointly with his wife, Jean K. Wolf, won the Alfred Einstein prize of the American Musicological Society for the best article in the field. A greatly expanded treatment of the subject entitled Manuscripts from Mannheim, ca. 1730-1778, A Study in the Methodology of Musical Source Research was published by the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften just days before Dr. Wolf's death.
In 1990, Dr. Wolf responded to a telephone call from the Eastern Baptist Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, requesting assistance in identifying a number of old music manuscripts. The collection he examined turned out to be that of William Howard Doane, a prominent manufacturer and Baptist hymnist. Among the items Wolf was able to identify were the missing autograph of Mozart's C Minor fantasia and sonata (K. 475/457) and manuscripts of works by Haydn and Meyerbeer.
Dr. Wolf held a Rockefeller Foundation grant in 1966/67 and a Guggenheim fellowship in 1975/76. He was also awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. More recently, he served as the American advisor to the European Science Foundation, Strasbourg, France, on the preparation of studies and publications about "Musical Life in Europe 1600-1900." In November 2002, he was elected the first honorary member of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music, honoring his lifetime achievement as a scholar in the field of music of the classic era.
Dr. Wolf is survived by his wife, Jean, of Ardmore, and his two children, Maria and John of Philadelphia. A memorial service was held on Tuesday, December 17 at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr. A tribute in his memory will be held on February 7, 2003 at 4:00 PM in the Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania. A Travel Fund for Graduate Research in Europe is being established in his memory through the American Musicological Society. Contributions can be sent to the AMS, 201 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6313
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