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James Dixon & William Hibbard

James Allen Dixon, born April 26, 1928, in Estherville, Iowa, died April 3, 2007, in Iowa City, Iowa, due to complications of influenza. James was adopted by Frank Dixon and grew up in Guthrie Center, Iowa, where he was fostered and mentored by the school teachers and other local professionals. James began working as a shine boy in the local barbershop at age 11. He worked as many hours as he could, first in the barbershop, then in the local bakery, and for one year as part owner of a small farm.

In 1948 James came to the University of Iowa, where, as an undergraduate conducting student, he continued his extraordinary work ethic to great success as a student and leader. Throughout his undergraduate study and beyond, James was the student, assistant and friend of Dimitri Mitropoulos, the renowned Greek conductor, pianist and composer. James received his bachelor’s degree in 1952 and then served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army as conductor of the Seventh Army Symphony.

James began his first tenure as conductor of the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra in 1954. He completed his master’s degree in 1956. After teaching at the New England Conservatory and then serving as assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, he returned to Iowa City in 1962 as director of orchestras at the University of Iowa. He retired as the Phillip Greeley Clapp/Carver Distinguished Professor of Music in 1997, completing a 40-year tenure.


William Alden Hibbard was a distinguished composer, conductor, violist and teacher. His companion was James Allen Dixon, who was also music director of the Quad City Symphony. As a violist, Hibbard served as Principal Viola of the Quad City Symphony (James Dixon, Music Director) from 1984 through late 1988. William Hibbard died of AIDS in San Francisco at the age of 49 on April 5, 1989. James Allen Dixon died April 3, 2007, in Iowa City, Iowa, due to complications of influenza.

In addition, James served for 29 years as music director and conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, retiring from that position in 1994. He is widely credited with building the Quad City Symphony Orchestra into an ensemble of musical distinction that is respected to this day for the innovation of its programming and unquestionable artistic integrity.

Through his long career, James won countless awards recognizing his significant contributions to the field of music, including the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal in 1955, given to the finest young artist of the year for conducting; the Gustav Mahler Medal in 1963; a 1978 Laurel Leaf Award from the American Composers Alliance in New York, for distinguished achievement in fostering and encouraging American music; and honorary doctorates from Augustana College and St. Ambrose University. He mentored more than 30 conducting students and conducted world premieres of nearly 40 new works.

A great part of James’ achievement came as the result of earning the highest admiration and respect of his orchestra members through his musical sensitivity and talent, self-discipline and biting wit. Many attribute his success as a conductor to his ability to inspire musicians to raise their level of performance.

The impact of his life’s work has been clearly felt throughout the state and the country. His students’ devotion and respect for James’ teaching is passed on in music ensembles throughout the country. The thousands of students and gradstudents who benefited from his musicianship are joined by countless audience members who experienced his magical ability to inspire an orchestra towards truly unanimous expression.

James is survived by many close students, friends and colleagues, and all who played under his baton or heard one of his performances. For those close enough to call him friend, his greatness of heart and generosity were humbling.

Source: http://lensingfuneral.myfuneralwebsite.com/?action=1&value=12&menuitem=1668&obituaries_action=2&obituaryid=65735&search=dixon

William Alden Hibbard (August 8, 1939, Newton, Massachusetts - April 5, 1989, San Francisco, California) a distinguished composer, conductor, violist and teacher. (William Hibbard (1983), Photo: courtesy estate of William Hibbard.) His companion was James Dixon, who was also music director of the Quad City Symphony.

He was appointed to the University of Iowa Music Composition faculty in 1966, and promoted to full professor in 1977. He became Chair of the Theory and Composition area in the School of Music in 1982. He served as Music Director of the University's professional new music ensemble, the Center for New Music, from its inception in 1966 through 1988. In addition, he served as Director of the University's Center for New Performing Arts, an interdisciplinary arts project funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Iowa, from 1965 through 1975. Both organizations have made enormous contributions to the promotion, understanding and advancement of new music and art. In 1986 the Center for New Music received the Commendation of Excellence Award from Broadcast Music Inc (BMI). In 1990 the American Composers Alliance conferred its Laurel Leaf Award upon the Center for New Music "in memoriam William Hibbard."

As a violist, he served as Principal Viola of the Quad City Symphony (James Dixon, Music Director) from 1984 through late 1988. In addition, he was founder and Director of the Iowa City String Orchestra from 1980 to 1986.

As a composer, he wrote more than forty works, including compositions for mixed chamber ensembles, voice, orchestra and solo instruments. His musical compositions employ strict serial techniques with virtuoso instrumental writing, contrapuntal complexity and unique orchestration. His composition Ménage (1974) for soprano, trumpet and violin was selected by the U.S. jury as one of five American works to be submitted for the 1977 ISCM Festival in Bonn, Germany. In 1988 he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the New England Conservatory.

William Hibbard died of AIDS in San Francisco at the age of 49 on April 5, 1989.

When asked to describe his music for the Lingua Press Collection II Catalogue, he wrote: "When asked for my views of my own music I freeze. Such requests seek to elicit a verbal – and, it seems to me falsely concrete – grasp to a composer's sonic abstractions. Personally, I desire to fashion something wrought well. Logic and imagination interact to fertilize and focus those desires so that, in the end, the music itself may say it all." --Paul Paccione

Source: http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/music/catalogue/hibbard.html

Further Readings:

Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080707957X
ISBN-13: 978-0807079577
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality

The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.

Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.



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Tags: days of love tb, musician: james dixon, musician: william hibbard
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