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John Kirkpatrick ’26

Published in Feb. 5, 1992, issue

JACK KIRKPATRICK, widely known for his mastery of classical modern music, died Nov. 8, 1991, in Ithaca at the age of 86.

He left Princeton in our senior year to study piano in Paris under Nadia Boulanger and other famous teachers. Returning in 1927, he undertook teaching assignments in the music departments of Mt. Holyoke and Cornell; in the latter he ended as chairman of the department.

Fascinated with his chosen field, he discovered CONCORD, a fourpart sonata composed by Charles Ives, who completed it in 1955 and laid it aside. Space does not permit an account of Jack's tenyear struggle with this musical epic or his other triumphs as composer, pianist, and historian.

Of the first performance of CONCORD by Jack, in Manhattan's Town Hall, Lawrence Gilman wrote: "Mr. Kirkpatrick, who made this music known to us in its entirety.... conquered it as though the appalling difficulties] didn't exist. His performance was that of a poet and master, an unobtrusive minister of genius."

When Ives died in 1955, Jack left Cornell to head Yale's Charles Ives Archives, a colossal job of cataloging thousands of papers and scores. In the late '80s this endless task forced his retirement and return to Ithaca with his wife, Hope Miller Kirkpatrick, herself a singer, and two daughters, Daisy and Mary. A son, David, lives in Rochester, N.Y. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to them as well as to the world of classical modern music to which Jack gave so much.

The Class of 1926

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