Virtually all of the scholarly work I accomplished was due to the support and encouragement of four men, and because of their generosity and patient guidance, I want to recognize their contributions to my work, particularly the preparation of the Urtext of Christus for Bärenreiter.
My friend and dissertation director Frank Cooper, known to me and many others simply as “Cooper,” instigated The Project by suggesting that I offer to create a new score of Christus for the American Liszt Society 2005 Festival, which was held at the University of Nebraska. It seemed like a fine enough idea at the time. And, given my ignorance as to what exactly is involved in preparing a major (fourteen movement) oratorio for large orchestra, six soloists, chorus and boy choir, I eagerly dived in. After several months, and several tens of thousands of Dean Hipp’s dollars, I casually inquired of Cooper if, when he proposed The Project, had he had any idea as to how much time and money would be involved. Cooper blithely replied, “Of course not. I never did anything like this before.”
In the intervening years, Cooper has been an entertaining dinner companion, a reliable source of useful information, an inveterate writer of letters of reference, and a good friend. Thanks to him The Project survived my dark hours of doubt and indecision; thanks to him I slept two-three hours nightly for weeks on end; and thanks to him I have a much better understanding of the history of music and its relation to the other arts. Between Cooper and my late teacher Albert Fuller, I imagine most everything there was to know about the arts could be found between them. Bravo, Cooper!
William Hipp, Dean-emeritus of the University of Miami Frost School of Music invested significantly in The Project with the instructions to “Get it done.” According to all who would be quoted, such patronage (and it was patronage) was unprecedented in the history of the school. Because of Dean Hipp’s support I was able to travel to Europe several times, order countless photographs and slides of manuscripts and 19th-century scores; I hired a swarm of undergraduate students to help input and proof the massive score (more than 400 printed pages, not including the piano reduction or parts).
Moreover, when my coursework suffered due to the demands of The Project, Dean Hipp ran interference with the parties involved and deflected not an inconsiderable amount of heat from my direction. He was (and still is) unfailingly polite; gracious in spirit; always willing to help; and an exceedingly kind man. It is not an overstatement to say that without Dean Hipp The Project would have never achieved fruition and the musical world be deprived of Franz Liszt’s masterpiece Christus. A thousand thanks to you Dean Hipp.
My choral conducting professor, Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe was a great resource for my understanding of how choral technique influenced my editorial work on Christus. Under his tutelage I learned how to distinguish between different styles of German pronunciation (sometimes with the aid of his dear mother), which ultimately affected the score materially. The IPA transliteration resulted directly from the understanding I gained from working with Dr. Scheibe.
As Director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami (Prof. Scheibe is now Chair, Department of Choral and Sacred Music and Professor of Choral Music at the University of Southern California), Dr. Scheibe made numerous allowances for me due to extended trips to Europe, the crazy-making deadlines I had to achieve and the impossible amount of work The Project entailed. His review of the vocal score was particularly helpful, given his experienced eye and vast knowledge of choral music. Moreover, his work as a choral editor brought a deeper level of understanding and guidance to the work I undertook. Thank you, Dr. Scheibe for all you have done on my behalf.
Prof. Thomas Sleeper was my orchestral conducting teacher while I pursued my second DMA from the University of Miami. Normally Prof. Sleeper didn't take non-orchestral majors as conducting students, but he kindly made an exception in my case. Happily for The Project, Prof. Sleeper's insights into orchestral writing—a honored and prolific composer in his own right—made huge impacts on how I laid out the orchestral score. He patiently answered my questions about the minutiae of notation and gave wise counsel to me in my typesetting.
Moreover, Prof. Sleeper was an invaluable reader of the Preface. His knowledge of the history of conducting as well as his wide understanding of orchestral instruments brought a much-needed practical eye to The Project. Without his sage advice I fear many more mistakes would have found their way into my writing. His tireless support of me and my project during an unbelievably stressful time earned him my unending respect and thanks. As as result of my work with Prof. Sleeper, I am a better composer, arranger and musician. Thanks Thom!!