Dean’s Message March 2018

As organists, we all learned to play by taking lessons. In this way, the art and craft of making music on the organ is passed down from one generation to the next. I was fortunate in my student years to study with one of the great organ teachers of the last part of the twentieth century, Yuko Hayashi. Renowned as an international concert artist and professor of organ at New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Yuko died on January 7. She was 88. Born in Yokohama, Japan, Yuko went to Tokyo University of the Arts in 1948 and for five years was organist for the NHK (the Japanese national broadcasting company) Symphony Orchestra. She came to the U.S. in 1953 on a PEO scholarship and studied for one year at Cottey College in Nevada, MO before transferring to the New England Conservatory. Famously, she said she went to Boston to be close to the ocean and good fish. After completing her studies at NEC, she received the highest degree of Artist Diploma in 1969 by then president Gunther Schuller, who hired her as an organ teacher at the conservatory. During her career she traveled frequently to Europe and Japan for concerts and masterclasses, including giving academies at International Christian University in Tokyo with Anton Heiller, Marie Claire Alain, and Luigi Tagliavini. In the 1990’s she took a leave of absence from NEC to accept a position as professor of organ at Ferris University, Yokohama, where she was instrumental in commissioning a new three manual North German style organ built by Taylor and Boody. It was during this time that I met Yuko and had my first experience on a historical style organ. Without meeting her and T&B organ at Ferris, I am certain I would not have pursued a life as an organist. It was eye opening for me to study with her in every way. She taught me how to be humble, to be under music and not over it. It was through studying with her that I truly learned how to be a musician. She taught me how to find myself in music and in real life. She was my teacher, sister and mother, and most importantly, a friend. Last November, I saw her for the last time. We talked about music, Bach and life. We asked the priest at Christ Church, Andover to come to her room, and we had communion together before my flight home. I asked her if she was scared; she said she was ready. I told her I could live my life until the end with the memory of my organ study with her, and I promised her that I would make music until the end of my own life with gratitude, saying thank you through music at all the times. I cried like a baby that day as she touched my head and face, and my son, Izumi. We prayed, and she said goodbye until we see one another again in heaven. And so her last lesson to me was teaching me how to say goodbye. Memorial services for Yuko will be held in Tokyo in March, and in Andover, MA in April. She was one of the last great organists of her generation to depart this world. But through her many students, including a number of us here in the Tacoma chapter, her ideas, insights, and incomparable musicianship continues. This is the great gift of music, that as one era ends and another begins, the music remains, and for that we can give thanks in our study, our listening, and our performing.

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