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Memorial

Albert Augustus Stanley
The Michigan Alumnus 629

Albert Augustus Stanley, A.M. (Hon.) 90, 
 D. Mus. (Hon.) '30


An Appreciation by Charles A. Sink, '04, President
 of the School of Music and President of the 
University Musical Society


Early Thursday morning, May 19, a few hours
 after Haydn's "Creation" had been performed in 
commemoration of the composer's bi-centennial anniversary, at the opening concert in the Thirty-Ninth An
nual May Festival, Dr. Albert Augustus Stanley, Mich
igan's "grand old man of music" quietly slept away
 from this world's activities into a new and larger life. 
It was fitting that one, the major 
portion of whose years had been
 so actively identified with musical
 affairs in the University and who 
had been so largely instrumental 
in founding the Festival nearly 
two score years before, should 
have closed his earthly career in
 the midst of this annual occasion
 with which he had been so actively 
identified for so long a time and
 which he loved so well. He was 
laid to rest in Forest Hill Ceme
tery on Sunday afternoon, May
 22, the day following the close of 
the final festival concert. 


Dr. Stanley, or as he was affec
tionately known to many in later 
years, "Dad" Stanley, was born at
 Manville, Rhode Island, on May
 25, 1851, and would have been 
eighty-one years of age had he lived another week. 
 He was the son of Dr. George W. and Augusta A. 
Stanley. He married Emma F. Bullock of Randolph, 
Massachusetts, December 27, 1875. Mrs. Stanley died
 in London on one of their trips abroad a number o 
years ago, a short time after the death of their only
 daughter, Elsa Gardner Stanley. He married Dorothea 
Oestreicher in Ann Arbor, December 1, 1921. As a 
child he exhibited unusual musical ability, and at the 
early age of fourteen years became organist at the Congregational Church at Slaterville, Rhode Island. Three
 years later he was placed in charge of the large organ 
in the Church of the Medeator, in Providence, and
 within a short time it became evident that he was 
destined for a musical career. From 1871 to 1875 he 
studied abroad, graduating at the Leipzig Conservatory. 
Returning to America he quickly became recognized as
 one of the outstanding young American musicians. He 
had excelled as organist, conductor and composer. For 
a decade and a half he held important professional 
positions and became conspicuous as a leader in many
 divisions of musical endeavor.

In 1888, Dr. James B. Angell, President of the University of Michigan, after having surveyed the entire
 musical field for a suitable candidate to fill the chair of 
music at the University, invited this vigorous and wide
ly recognized young musician to the faculty of the University and to the Musical Directorship of the Univer
sity Musical Society. From the first it was evident that 
President Angell had chosen wisely. For half a decade 
the new Professor and Director of Music labored en
thusiastically, and inspired music lovers both in Uni
versity circles and in the community in general, to such 
an extent that the various and widespread but meager 
musical activities of those days were in large measure 
welded together. As a result shortly thereafter the 
University School of Music came 
into existence as successor to what 
up to that time had been known as 
the "Ann Arbor School of Music,"
 and which in a sense existed as a
 collection of studios rather than a
 well organized school. The re-or
ganized institution took on solid
arity, and definite curricula in sev
eral branches of music were estab
lished. During these preliminary 
years Dr. Stanley also crystalized
 the community's concert activities, and gradually definite series of 
public musical programs were in
augurated. In 1894, six years 
after his coming to Ann Arbor, as 
the closing event in the season's 
series of concerts, he undertook 
the first Annual May Festival. It
 consisted of but three concerts. At 
once successful the festival gradually took on larger
 proportions, and the number of concerts was increased 
to four, then to five, and finally to six. Within a relatively short time the Ann Arbor May Festival became
 conspicuous among the great festivals of the world. In
 the Festival series and in the Choral Union Concert
 series, which each year precedes the Festival program, 
 many of the world's most celebrated artists and out-
standing organizations have participated. In the Choral
 Union chorus thousands of students and others have 
been trained under his inspiring leadership, and stim
ulated to effective musical service.


His great influence in the field of music was not lim
ited, however, to his activities in the University 
and the City of Ann Arbor, for he took a prominent 
part in the State, National and International musical
 affairs. He served as Secretary, as Treasurer and 
twice as President of the Music Teachers National
 Association. He was a founder of the College of 
Musicians, and for several years was honorary vice-
president of the Manuscript Society. He was Presi
dent of the American Section of the International Musical Society and represented America at several 
important European musical Congresses. He was twice
 President of the Michigan Music Teachers Association, 
 a founder of the American Guild of Organists and
 Vice-President of the British Musical Association.


In European music centers he was a well known
 and a conspicuous figure for he crossed the Atlantic 
nearly three score times for recreation, study and pro
fessional duties. Honors came to him in many ways. 
In 1890, the University of Michigan conferred on him 
the Honorary degree of Master of Arts, and in 1930 
the degree of Doctor of Music, the same degree having
 been conferred upon him in 1916 by Northwestern
 University. Nor were his interests and efforts centered
 alone about his professional life. He took a keen and 
lively interest in all activities of the University, his city, 
 the State and Nation, and in World affairs generally. 
 He cherished his membership in the Scientific Club of 
the University, in his College fraternities, Phi Mu
 Alpha (Sinfonia) and Alpha Epsilon Mu, and in the
 Ann Arbor Rotary Club, of which he had been an 
honorary member for many years. In his travels abroad 
he always attended Rotary Club meetings whenever
 opportunity afforded. His record of attendance for 
the year up to the time of his death was a perfect one.


He composed many songs, much church music, a
 symphony entitled "The Souls Awakening," a 
choral work entitled "Chorus Triumphalis," a sym
phonic poem "Attis" for chorus and orchestra, and
 "A Psalm of Victory" for tenor solo, chorus and
 orchestra. In 1906 he wrote the incidental music to 
Percy Mackay's tragedy, "Sapho and Phaon" and also 
music to "Alkestes," later "Laus Deo" for chorus, 
 orchestra and organ, "Iphigenia" among the "Taurians" 
and music settings of Greek fragments. He also 
cataloged the Stearns Collection of Musical Instru
ments, first edition in 1919, and a second edition in
1921. Many other compositions and writings stand 
to his credit, all of which have attracted the favorable
 commendation of critical authorities who have recog
nized their basic worth and soundness. 


Not only were the more than four score years of 
his life worthy and fruitful in his chosen field, but as 
a kindly, lovable man with boundless enthusiasm' and 
the ability to inspire and stimulate all with whom he
 came in contact, he wielded a powerful influence for 
all that is best in present day culture and civilization. 
 His accomplishments have been far reaching and have
 stimulated hundreds and thousands of students, in addition to multitudes who have profited from his offerings.