Tom Binkley

Commenter CMS has left a nice story about Shinryu Suzuki Roshi and the early days of the San Francisco Zen Center in the comments section of my post about A. J. Ayer yesterday. (Comments have been good lately: my man Graham Larkin, Tha Notorious B. G. L., plus various thoughts on the annual AMS hoo-hah.)

Anyway, I followed the link CMS provided to his own blog, and found a wonderful memorial to Tom Binkley, the capo of the Indiana University early music program back in the days when I was at Indiana. I had a piano AI office up on the third floor of the old MU building from 1991 to 1993, which meant that I was neighbors with Binkley’s early music institute. (The “early music trolls,” as we called them. In a nice way!) Binkley died in 1995, I think — one of a string of big losses to the school. In the time since I was there (I left in 1993), Binkley, Josef Gingold, Gyorgy Sebok, Franco Gulli, Enrica Gulli-Cavallo, Michel Block, and Leonard Hokanson have all passed away.* The last two were my teachers, and at some point I’ll write a little appreciation of them. But right now it’s nice to see someone pour a 40 out for Tom Binkley.

*And, on the musicology side, let us not forget A. Peter Brown.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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6 Responses to Tom Binkley

  1. CJS says:

    Thanks for the shout-out. Let us also not forget, on the musicology side, the much-mourned Austin Caswell, too. They were giants on the earth in those days.

  2. Phil Ford says:

    Damn! ABC too? I guess it figures, though. He was pretty old when I left Indiana. ABC and Burkholder are the reasons I’m in musicology.
    Time to pour out another 40 . . .

  3. CJS says:

    Yep. Peter supervised my dissertation. Austin was on the exam committee (and drove the pickup the night my horn band led a Mardi Gras brass parade down Kirkwood).

  4. Peter Alexander says:

    I was Austin’s first graduate assistant at Indiana, and took Peter’s first class there. I can never think of either without remembering them — unlikely friends, but great friends nonetheless — standing outside their adjoining offices in the upper reaches of Sycamore Hall entertaining one another. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of one or the other, or both. How lucky I was to drop into that amazing, rarified atmosphere. I truly didn’t know what I was getting when I went to Indiana. If only I could go back to thse wonderful days!

  5. CJS says:

    Peter: You and I must have been in Burkholder’s Ives class at the same time. Nice to see you again!

  6. Peter Alexander says:

    CJS: Actually, the Peter whose first class at IU I was in was Peter Brown — I just missed Peter Burkholder’s Ives class, since I was away from IU when he arrived (although I have enjoyed getting to know him through AMS). It seems like I was at Indiana forever, but it wasn’t quite that long, since the Austin’s first year would have been 1967-68 (!!), and APB’s first year was 1974-75.
    By the way, I loved your Binkley tribute: He infuriated me, too, at the same time that I had to love & admire everything he did. What an amazing intellect.

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