KIVY--Peter N., 1934-2017.
Peter Nathan Kivy, whose influential works defined the contemporary formalist philosophical view of music, died on May 6, 2017 of complications from treatment of cancer. Son of Russian immigrants Julius and Isabel Rosen Kivy, Peter Kivy was born in New York City on October 22, 1934. He attended the Walden school on the Upper West Side, and began his musical training, later studying with master oboist Ronnie Roseman. He completed a BA and MA at the University of Michigan, a Masters of Musicology at Yale, and a PhD in Philosophy at Columbia University. Peter began his academic career at Rutgers in 1967 and retired as a Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy nearly 50 years later. Among other honors, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Goldsmiths College, University of London; a Guggenheim Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship; and the Deems Taylor Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (for The Corded Shell). He also served as president of the American Society for Aesthetics. Peter wrote on philosophy daily, using his trademark fountain pen on lined paper. He published more than 20 widely cited books. His oeuvre is particularly remembered for his five books on emotion in music. These writings, along with his countless articles, lectures, and reviews established Peter as "a giant in the field of aesthetics, and the world's greatest philosopher of music," according to Larry Temkin, Chair of Rutgers Philosophy Department. In his last decade, his interests turned to the philosophy of literature, which resulted in the publication of two more books. He was awarded the American Society of Aesthetics prize for most outstanding monograph in 2016 for his last book, De Gustibus, a philosophical perspective on why we argue about matters of taste. Known for his quick wit, Peter could readily draw on his vast repertoire of jokes, which he shared with colleagues, friends, and the many students he mentored in the fields of philosophy and music. Since the 1950's he spent summers in Woods Hole, MA, where he took part in the local music scene, playing oboe in the Cantatas and in library concerts. He became a beloved local icon in the July 4th parades marching as "Lobster Claus." Peter is survived by his wife Joan Pearlman and step-daugh- ters Chee Pearlman, Karen Pearlman and Marnae Ergil, his sister Elaine Genkins, and numerous nieces, nephews and grandnieces and nephews, among them his valued friend Jesse Horwitz.
Published in New York Times on Jun. 8, 2017.