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Northwest Missouri State University

Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Sept. 3, 2014

Town completes draft of book about works of Ralph Vaughan Williams

Updated Sept. 8, 2014

Dr. Stephen Town

Dr. Stephen Town

Dr. Stephen Town, professor of music at Northwest Missouri State University, has completed a draft of his second book, “The Selected Choral-Orchestral Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams: Autographs, Context, Discourse.”

The book is an end result of research that Town began in 1993 and, more recently, during his residency in the United Kingdom as a sabbatical recipient and a Visiting Research Fellowship awardee.”

Town also discussed his research while delivering the inaugural lecture in the 2014-2015 musicology series, “First Fridays,” Sept. 5, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. His lecture, “Recurring Compositional Ideas in the Choral-Orchestral Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams,” presented an overview of the research he completed last spring. The “First Fridays” series at UMKC features lectures about various musicological topics by eminent scholars in their disciplinary field.

Town’s book is based on 20 years of archival research at the British Library in London, where he examined the autograph manuscripts of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who is recognized internationally as a symphonist and as an icon of Englishness. Town continued to travel to the British Library to research and write for the book.

Town’s inspiration comes from being selected in 1993 as a recipient of the prestigious Ralph Vaughan Williams Research Fellowship, which is given to a North American scholar by the Carthusian Trust of England.

While working on the book Town lived in Charterhouse (Godalming, Surrey), the school Ralph Vaughan Williams attended as a boy. Clare Hall, a graduate college within the Cambridge University system, was the base of his operations when it came to writing and researching for the book.

“The acts of research and writing require sequestered peace and undisturbed solitude, and that is what Clare Hall offered,” Town said.

Town joined the Northwest faculty in 1986 and he conducts the University’s Tower Choir. His career highlights include singing at a memorial concert for the Great Émigré Composer Ernest Krenek, being selected to the Missouri London Program, conducting at Carnegie Hall, receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award and conducting a Northwest ensemble at a national conference. Another book authored by Town, “An Imperishable Heritage: British Choral Music from Parry to Dyson,” which surveys the choral-orchestral music of the English Musical Renaissance, was published in 2012.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
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