David Lyman Buttolph

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Buttolph, David David Lyman Buttolph, 89, of Branford, CT, died Monday, April 22, 2013, after a period of failing health. His beloved wife, Ewa, and daughter, Katherine, were at his side. He was born in White Plains, NY, on August 21, 1923, to James Elliott and Edna Gibson Buttolph. A graduate of The Gunnery School, David received a B.A. in Music from Yale University in 1944, where he counted himself lucky to have worked with Paul Hindemith. David served in the US Navy in World War II as an officer in the USNR, with destroyers in Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific operations, and was in combat. Upon returning, he completed a B.A. in piano and MS in conducting from the Juillard School of Music. He also studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and Felix Passerone, at Tanglewood with Hugh Ross and Eleazar de Carvalho, at the cole Monteux with Pierre Monteux, and in NewYork City under Saul Goodman. David wrote and arranged music throughout a career that included positions as timpanist with the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony; Chairman of the Music Department at Dillard University; member of the conducting staff at Manhattan School of Music; and director of musical theater productions in the New York metropolitan region and east coast venues from Florida to Canada. He spent from 1966-88 at SUNY Binghamton, conducting major choral works with orchestra, and led national and international concert tours. He also taught theory, percussion, elements of Kodály training, and was founder/director of the Elizabethan Madrigal Dinner evenings, an ongoing annual event. As an educator, David took particular pride in the formation and development of choirs: as founder/director of the Louisiana Choral Society in New Orleans 1954-63, conductor/director of the Saint Cecilia Chorus of New York, The Harpur Chorale, The University Chorus, Binghamton University. From the 1970s, David was an avid proponent of the Kodály Method of Music Education. He studied at the Kodály Musical Training Institute in Hungary. In the US, he developed a Kodály Training Chorus, presented invited lectures on the Kodály method, and did extensive teaching of the method in a variety of settings. He served in 1978 as president of the America Kodály Music Institute. During his professional life, he directed and conducted the Utica Symphony Orchestra, the Cornell Glee Club and Cornell Chorus, the Buffalo Symphony, the Oneonta Community Chorale, the Catskill Choral Society, SUC-Oneonta Choir, and Tri-City Chamber Singers. His numerous invited guest appearances as conductor included the All-State Chorus under the Georgia Music Educators Association; the All-County Rockland Music Festival; New York State School Music Association in Whitesboro; and the National Conference of the Organization of Kodály Educators. Also a noted composer, arranger and lyricist, David counted among his creative highlights He Is Born The Beloved Child, The Beatitudes, He's Gone Away, Psalm 118, and numerous folksong arrangements; Touch of the Child, a musical by Max Showalter, choral arrangements; and the music and lyrics for The Best of Intentions, an original musical. In accordance with his firm belief that music transcends international boundaries, he sought funding, sponsored, and served on host committees for the Brno Academic Choir in Czechoslovakia; the Hart House Chorus from the University of Toronto, Canada; the Szczecin Technical Institute Choir, from Szczecin, Poland; and the Treklangen Choir, from Sweden. During retirement, David was fortunate to be able to indulge in his second career, the theatre, performing in South Pacific and Inherit the Wind in Endicott, NY; Ten Little Indians at Ivoryton Playhouse; The Sunshine Boys at Stony Creek Puppet House. He also sang the role of Simeon in Touch of the Child, and twice conducted that musical at Ivoryton, Clinton, and the Garde Theater in New London, Connecticut. During a conducting tour to Poland in 1988, David, who had been widowed, met Ewa Borowiec, who became his second wife and loved and loving companion for the last 25 years of his life. After his retirement, he returned to Indian Neck, Branford, CT, a place he'd spent childhood summers with his grandparents, parents, and two late beloved brothers John and Bob. He was loved and respected by many students, colleagues and by family, friends, and neighbors in the Indian Neck community. He was an active volunteer with the Shoreline Arts Alliance. David Buttolph is survived by his wife, Ewa Buttolph; children Katherine, Peter, and James Buttolph and Diana Norcross (Alastair), and step-daughter Agnieszka Rybkiewicz (Mark); eight grandchildren, and two great-grandsons, and Ewa's two grandchildren; nieces Carol Williams (Alan), Janet Brown and Barbara Sargent (Ron); nephews Stephen (Judy) and Brian (Ellen) Buttolph: first cousin, Philip Buttolph, and sisters-in-law Frances Buttolph and Anne Howe. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Janet Howe Buttolph. All who knew David especially appreciated his sense of humor, kindness, warmth and outgoing and gracious personality. Memorial services will be held on Friday, May 10, at Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, at 11 AM, and on Saturday, May 11 in the Dwight Chapel of the Yale University Old Campus, at 11 AM. In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions or donations be made in his memory to The Shoreline Arts Alliance Scholarship Funds in Guilford, 725 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT 06437, or to The Gunnery School, 99 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06793. Arrangements are with the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, New Haven.

Published in The New Haven Register on Apr. 26, 2013
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