There are pipes, and then there are pipes : Pipes and Tobaccos Magazine

There are pipes, and then there are pipes

by William Serad

If I write “pipes” in these pages, you will automatically think of the tobacco smoking variety. Were I to write the same word in The American Organist, publication of the American Guild of Organists, thoughts would drift more toward Bach, Reger and Widor, or E. Power Biggs (a great name for an organist), Karl Richter and Virgil Fox, or maybe even Count Basie, Shirley Scott and Johnny “Hammond” Smith, depending upon your tastes. If I were to write about the intersection of tobacco pipes and musical pipes (which would also include the voice along with the organ), only one name comes to mind today for me: Dr. Dan Locklair.

Since 1982, Locklair has been professor and composer-in-residence at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina ( From the age of 14, he was a professional organist. Since he was 16, he has been a public pipe smoker. I say public because he first smoked a pipe in public back then at that tender age (he was born in 1949). And today, most photographs of Locklair show him with a pipe, unique in these oh-so-P.C. times.

Locklair is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He is listed in numerous biographical dictionaries, including the International Who’s Who In Music, Contemporary American Composers, Dictionary Of Distinguished Americans, Dictionary Of International Biography and Baker’s Biographical Dictionary Of Musicians (1996 ed.).

The music of Dan Locklair is widely performed throughout the U.S., Canada and abroad. His compositions include symphonic works, a ballet, an opera and numerous solo, chamber, vocal and choral compositions. His remarkable accomplishments are listed on his website, and I feel the need to enumerate them here, not exhaustively but extensively, if for no other reason than to show what art may be realized when fueled by pipe tobacco. It is a lesson to us all.

Dr. Locklair’s many awards have included consecutive ASCAP Awards since 1981, a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, an Aliénor Award, the New Music Award from the dl2Omaha Symphony Society, two North Carolina Composer Fellowship Awards and the top Barlow International Competition Award for 1989. In 1992, Dr. Locklair became the first American composer ever to be invited to and have music performed at the 35-year-old Czech Festival of Choral Arts in Jihlava, Czech Republic, and, again at the invitation of the Czech government, he was invited to return to be a part of this festival in 1997. In its Centennial Year, Dr. Locklair was named 1996 AGO Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists, a distinguished honor awarded yearly to an American composer who has not only enriched the organ repertoire, but who has also made significant contributions to symphonic and concert music.

His 1995 composition Since Dawn (A Tone Poem for Narrator, Chorus and Orchestra based on Maya Angelou’s On the Pulse of Morning) is the first musical setting of Maya Angelou’s well-known and important poem commissioned for the 1993 Inauguration of U.S. President Bill Clinton. One of the movements of his Rubrics, one of the most frequently programmed pieces of late 20th-century American organ music, was performed at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.

Dan Locklair’s music has been premiered and/or performed by such ensembles as the Helsinki Philharmonic (Finland), the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, The Louisville Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Western Piedmont Symphony and Salisbury (North Carolina) Symphony, the Gregg Smith Singers, the BBC Singers, the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys (New York City), the Cathedral Choral Society (Wash- ington, D.C.), the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, the Chicago Ensemble, The Oxford Players (U.K.), the Omaha Symphony, as well as by harpsichordists Igor Kipnis and Jukka Tiensuu, organists Marilyn Keiser, Thomas Murray, John Scott, Thomas Trotter and many others.

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Category: Feature Article, Spring 2016

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