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Obituary for David Hogan

H. David Hogan, 47, an internationally known American music educator, composer, concert tenor and choir director, died in the explosion that destroyed a TransWorld Airlines jet over Long Island, N.Y on July 17, l996. Based in Paris for the past four years, Mr. Hogan's international career included teaching and performing in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New England and the San Francisco Bay area as well as major cities in Europe. His award-winning compositions are sung by choirs around the world, and hundreds of professional composers, musicians and teachers were inspired by his innovative teaching methods during his 25 years as an educator and choral director. All who knew Mr. Hogan would recognize colleague Pamela Quist's description, "Hoagie hummed or whistled his way through life. Music seeped out of every pore."

The oldest of seven children, David Hogan was born July 1, 1949, and spent his childhood in the small town of Nokesville in northern Virginia. He received his musical training in America and France, taking undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Johns Hopkins University) in Baltimore, and advanced training at the Ecole D'Arts Americaines in France with the celebrated Nadia Boulanger. Among his other teachers were composers Hugo Weisgall and Richard Rodney Bennett and the French-Swiss soprano and voice teacher Flore Wend. His approach to music education was shaped by a rewarding apprenticeship with the music theorist Grace Newsom Cushman.

In 1971, Mr Hogan, with two Peabody colleagues, Pamela Layman Quist and Lynn Taylor Hebden, founded The Walden School, a summer institute in rural New Hampshire, to provide specialized training for talented young musicians and composers. The school was designed to continue the pioneering educational work of Ms. Cushman, who, in the late 1940s, founded the Junior Conservatory Camp, one of the first summer programs for creative education in music at the precollege level. After Ms. Cushman’s passing, her students Mr Hogan and his. Quist further developed the principles of the Junior Conservatory’s musicianship program at The Walden School. Now in its 25th year, The Walden School summer program is attended by young musicians from all over America. Walden students annually win numerous international awards and prizes for their compositions. Mr. Hogan was closely associated with the school's development and taught at Walden nearly every summer despite his expanding international responsibilities.

A gifted and dedicated teacher, Mr. Hogan held the conviction that the primary purpose of education is to foster creativity and that musical training is most successful when students can discover new materials and concepts for themselves and learn to think independently. His approach to teaching conveyed both great respect for the subject matter of music and delight in the shared process of learning. "David had the amazing ability to make each student feel valued through his quiet and loving manner," explained Stephen Coxe, current President and Executive Director of The Walden School, who himself studied with Mr. Hogan. "Today there are hundreds of his former students around the world who honor him." Many of his students have become professional composers, musicians, and teachers.

In addition to his work in music education, David Hogan was an acclaimed composer, singer, pianist, organist and vocal coach. He had been living in Paris for the past four years. A primary focus of his work in France was a series of theater and film projects with the actress and playwright Coline Serreau (best-known in America as writer-director of the film Three Men And a Cradle, adapted by Hollywood as Three Men and a Baby), and her husband, the noted stage director Benno Besson (a former associate of Bertolt Brecht). As composer and musical director of Mme. Serreau’s play Quisaitout et Grobeta, he received the French equivalent of a Tony Award for his music in 1994. This comedy-with-music was so popular it was translated into five languages and presented throughout Europe. Mr. Hogan composed new music to fit each translation (he was multilingual) and coached new productions in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia. He also wrote music for Mme. Serreau’s play ‘lapin, lapin,’ and recently finished the score for her newest film, La Belle Verte. In 1993 he served as music director for Mr. Besson's new production of Mozart’s Magic Flute for the Geneva Opera in Switzerland. Other stage projects included incidental music for a production of Hamlet in Italy in 1994 and the score for Moliere's Tartuffe at the Theatre de l'Odeon in Paris last year.

Mr. Hogan was active in the musical life of Paris. He taught and coached composers, singers and many well-known French actors. He was a tenor soloist at the American Cathedral in Pans, and also composed an evensong anthem for its choir. Choir director Edward J. Tipton observed, "He was a superior musician, a gifted and sensitive composer, and a devoted Christian." In 1995 Mr. Hogan accepted an invitation to become the musical director of the Gay Men’s Choir of Paris and prepared special choral music for their Christmas concert. As an expert choral composer and director, he was interested in the rapid growth of gay choruses around the world. He was deeply moved by the challenges and rewards shared by participants in these choirs: faced with a daily reality of suffering and death from the AIDS epidemic, they join together with tremendous energy to sing songs of harmony, joy and life. Mr. Hogan endorsed this spirit of affirmation and had begun to use his gifts as a composer to help create an expanded repertoire of choral works for the group.

A frequently commissioned composer, Mr. Hogan is perhaps best known for his liturgical choral music. He enjoyed a long association with the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. as both soloist and composer. He has the distinction of being one of two composers chosen to create a new work (Magnificat and nunc dimittis) to celebrate the consecration and completion of the Cathedral in 1989. The Magnificat, recorded by the combined choirs of National Cathedral and San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, was released in 1992 on the CD 'Light is Glittering.' Mr. Hogan's work was singled out by CD Review as the "highlight of the disc." A new choral work was in process for Grace Cathedral of San Francisco for an Easter concert.

Mr. Hogan was also an accomplished composer of songs for solo voice. Just a month ago he completed musical settings of four Psalm texts commissioned by the countertenor Ryland Angel, who will perform them in London in the next few months. He had also completed two songs in a planned cycle of poems by Victor Segalen entitled ‘Steles.’ His Three Love Songs won the 1993 Delius Composers Competition. His works including choral and liturgical works, song cycles and chamber music, are published by E. C. Schirmer, Boston and recorded on Angel/EMI. His liturgical music is sung regularly by choirs across America.

David Hogan was also a professional concert tenor His instructor Lynn Hebden recalls, "He had an exquisite voice and a fabulous ears." Unaware of his vocal gifts, he did not begin to study singing until he was in college, when Ms. Hebden and others heard him sing, they immediately encouraged him to become a voice major. He specialized in baroque, German lied, French art songs and 20th century repertoire, but also sang in many operas and oratorios. He performed in France, England and throughout Amenca beginning in his early 20s. In 1975 he sang the title role in the American premiere of Lili Boulanger's Faust et Helene. He has also been a featured soloist at Baltimore's Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, the National Cathedral in Washington, D C. and the American Cathedral of Pans. Mr. Hogan was also a talented pianist and organist who seemed to be able to read almost anything at sight, and frequently accompanied his colleagues and students in recitals.

In 1979 Mr. Hogan moved to California to become director of music for the Consortium of the Arts, a school of continuing education which offers programs for children and adults in the San Francisco Bay area and Washington, D.C. He also served as music director for the Meher School, an innovative private primary school in Lafayette, California. His teaching in California was based largely on the Walden School curriculum and many of his students there became regular participants in Walden summer programs in New Hampshire. He also had opportunities to develop new ideas and methods in California that he could apply at Walden. His Consortium work introduced him to keyboard synthesizers and Macintosh computer programs for music notation and perfomance.

During this period, Mr. Hogan also kept active in liturgical music, serving as organist and choirmaster for St. Francis Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Church member Iris Vaughan said that he literally transformed their tiny choir, working patiently and tirelessly with people of every level of ability. "He put everything he had to say in music rather than words," she said. As this church was adopting a new modem English liturgy, Mr. Hogan was given an opportunity to compose many new hymns, chorales, prayers and anthems to the new words.

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