Remembering Professor Richard Winslow

Wesleyan’s own Professor Richard Winslow ‘40 passed away on the 24th of July, aged 99. He is remembered for his contributions to Wesleyan’s music program and own talents. Winslow was educated at Wesleyan and Juilliard before returning to Wesleyan as a professor in 1949. Once a professor, he was responsible for the creation of Wesleyan’s world music program and was an instrumental (no pun intended) part of the musical community, owing to his belief in the importance of music education on college campuses. Due to a generous gift gift from Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation, the Richard K. Winslow Chair in Music was established in Winslow’s honor.

In addition to his educational contributions, Winslow composed music for operas and musicals, such as Gertrude Stein’s Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights, T.S. Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes, and Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. Winslow’s musical style was unique and engaging, and was part of his influence on students. He served as a musical mentor, and inspiration, carefully fostering the talents of many students over the years.

Professor Mark Slobin commented that “Without Winslow, Wesleyan would never have had the visionary music department of such ambition, scope, and radicalism that it continues to enjoy. He was a kind of radical Yankee in the spirit of Thoreau and Ives. Dick was a figure from an old Wesleyan who ensured that music would have permanent prominence in a small liberal arts college, affecting the world of music in countries, institutions, and concert halls around the globe as the ‘energy’ (his favorite word) of the place radiated outward.”

Winslow will be remembered for his passion for teaching, relationships with both staff and students, as well as his love of music. He is survived by his five children, twelve grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, and a brother, as well as some colleagues and former students.

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