H. Emerson Meyers, a Washington pianist and teacher and professor emeritus of Catholic University, who was an early composer of electronic music, died of pneumonia Dec. 5 at Providence Hospital. He was 80.
Mr. Meyers was particularly active in the Washington arts community in the decade after World War II. He appeared as a soloist, organized music for Washington's 150th anniversary celebration, directed fund-raising for the National Symphony Orchestra and was music director for revived summer concerts at the Watergate bandshell on the Potomac.
Known then as a dazzling classical pianist, he helped train young musicians interested in one of music's new directions, the electronic, tape-augmented tones that were created in Europe in the late 1930s.
"I couldn't stand the sounds when I first came into contact with them," Mr. Meyers said in an interview 26 years ago. "There was no direction, no form; they were just sensational noises, not music. In fact, I disliked them so much that electronic music aroused my curiosity, and I decided to look into it."
He said he soon discovered that a composer had greater control over that kind of music than any other form.
His own compositions, sometimes incorporating the taped sounds of voices and unlikely instruments, were performed in recitals and concerts here and elsewhere in the country.
Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan described Mr. Meyers's work as wide in range. The composer was "a moody impressionist" in one piece, an "ascetic atonalist," in another, and, in a third, "a parodist whose sense of humor stops a hairsbreadth short of slapstick," McClellan wrote.
Mr. Meyers was also a composer who demanded "considerable virtuosity from his performers," the critic said.
In 1964, Mr. Meyers founded the electronic music center at Catholic University, whose faculty he joined in 1943. He said he hoped to promote the then-experimental musical form that was being widely explored in Europe and half a dozen American universities.
Mr. Meyers, a resident of Hyattsville, was born in Washington.
He graduated from Central High School and studied piano and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. In addition to his work at Catholic University, he taught privately and at several other colleges.
In 1943, he won first prize for chamber music from the National Federation of Music Clubs, one of a number of awards, prizes and commissions that he received over the years.
During World War II, he served as an Army infantryman in Europe. In 1955, and again in 1962, he was awarded Fulbright grants to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Liege, Belgium.
Mr. Meyer was a member of the board of directors of the National Symphony and a past president of the Washington Music Teachers Association, the Maryland Music Teachers Association, the Eastern Division of the Music Teachers National Association, the Peabody Alumni Association and the Kindler Foundation.
He was a member of the Cosmos Club.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Emma Holt Meyers of Hyattsville.
WILLIAM L. BURGARD
William L. Burgard, 77, a retired refrigeration and heating engineer, died Dec. 6 at Potomac Valley Nursing Home in Rockville. He had Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Burgard, who lived in Kensington, was born in York, Pa. He attended York Junior College. He served in the Army in the Philippines during World War II.
In 1950, Mr. Burgard moved to the Washington area.
He was a member of the Steamfitters Union Local 602 and worked for most of his career at Airco Supply, where he was a sales engineer. He retired about 10 years ago.
Survivors include his wife, Jean Burgard of Kensington; three children, Stephen Burgard of Brownsville, Md., Susan Miller of Rockville and Micia Burgard of Kensington; and five grandchildren.
Max Gershen, 76, a retired owner of Louis and Dan Brown Ltd., a men's clothing store in downtown Washington, died of a heart ailments Dec. 6 at Suburban Hospital.
Mr. Gershen, who was stricken at his residence in Chevy Chase, was born in Baltimore. He grew up in Washington, and he graduated from the old Central High School. During World War II, he served in the Navy.
He made his career in the men's clothing business. He worked for the Lewis & Thos. Saltz and Bruce Hunt clothing stores before he became a partner in Louis and Dan Brown Ltd. about 1956. He retired in 1980.
Mr. Gershen was a Mason and a member of the Norbeck and Indian Spring country clubs, the Progress Club and the Amity Club.
Survivors include his wife, Eloise C. Gershen, whom he married in 1939, of Chevy Chase; two children, Suzanne G. Gallagher of Potomac and Shirley M. Faupel of Rockville; two sisters, Honey Gershenson of Adelphi and Rose Speckler of Coconut Creek, Fla.; a brother, Harry Gershenson of Silver Spring; four granchdildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Church Organist and Choirmaster
Richard Apel, 41, former organist and choirmaster at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Springfield, died Dec. 6 at University Hospital in Birmingham. He had AIDS.
Mr. Apel served at St. Christopher's and lived in Springfield from 1984 to 1989. From 1989 until last month, when he moved back to his native Cullman, Ala., he was associate organist and choir master of St. Andrew's Episcopal Cathedral in Honolulu. He also was dean of the Hawaii chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Mr. Apel studied at the Conservatory of Music in Chicago for three years and was a church organist in Des Plaines, Ill., before joining the Marine Corps in 1971. He left the Marines in 1979, after posts that included band percussionist and chapel organist at Parris Island, S.C. He then served with the Navy for four years as a religious program specialist.
Survivors include his parents, Edward and Della Apel, and his sister, Catherine Apel, all of Cullman.
CORMELLIA HARMON LOCKLEAR
Cormellia Harmon Locklear, 51, a former social worker and substitute school teacher, died of cancer Dec. 3 at the Washington Home Hospice. She lived in Washington.
Mrs. Locklear was born in Washington. She graduated from Cardozo High School and Morgan State University and had done graduate study at Towson State University.
From 1972 until 1985 she lived in Houston, and was a social worker with Children's Protective Services there from 1981 to 1985. In 1986, she returned to Washington and worked for Catholic Charities. She later worked for the D.C. Department of Recreation and from 1987 to 1989 was a substitute D.C. school teacher.
She did volunteer work for Project Northstar, a tutorial program for homeless children.
Mrs. Locklear was a tennis player and a member of the Women's Competitive Tennis Club. She also was a senior choir member and a member of the Prayer Band at New Bethel Baptist Church.
Her marriage to Charles Vernon Locklear ended in divorce.
Survivors include two daughters, Dr. Lynn D. Locklear and Karen R. Locklear, and her parents, Robert W. and Viola Scruggs Harmon, all of Washington.