Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I was saddened to hear the news of Dr. Bill Duckworth’s passing last week. Bill was a professor of music at Bucknell while I was an undergraduate and he went on to global acclaim with groundbreaking compositions. He was passionate about music, engaged with his students, inquisitive, mischievous, creative, inspiring, edgy and brought a love for contemporary music. A story that underscores his personal touch as well as his “composer’s mind”  happened the night of my senior recital. In all my years of performing, I had never experienced a memorization issue. Three-quarters of the way through a masterwork by Cesar Franck, I lost focus and froze. I was only about 14 bars into the last movement when it happened: what seemed like an eternity lasted about a second and a half, I restarted the movement and finished without issue. Afterwards, Bill sought me out right after the performance and said, “you were wonderful … but I have to know … what happened in the last movement of the Franck?” I explained and he replied, “I may be the only one in the room that noticed, but I had to know … it didn’t make sense to me that Franck would have composed it that way.” We laughed about this many years later when he took me on a personal tour of the Weis Center–he was so proud of the building and highlighted many details that put students’ needs first. Dr. Duckworth made a difference for so many of us, brought recognition and honor to the University and unique compositions to the world.

Harriet Edelman 77
Trustee P ’14

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