Special to ClevelandClassical
The Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra sadly notes the recent death of former Music Director and Director Emeritus, William B. Slocum.
Mr. Slocum touched the lives of countless orchestra musicians, students, and colleagues in the Greater Cleveland area and in Northeastern Ohio beginning in the 1960s when he was a member of The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell and a professor at Kent State University. This was followed by a long career at Youngstown State University (1972-2015) and his position as Music Director of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra (1981-2007).
Mr. Slocum brought to the Philharmonic many years of experience in conducting and teaching as well as that of a professional horn player. During his tenure with the Cleveland Philharmonic Mr. Slocum helped forge the orchestra’s long and ongoing relationship with Cuyahoga Community College.
Prominent musicians from the Cleveland area, including members of The Cleveland Orchestra, as well as from the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony were featured soloists during this time. Mr. Slocum’s leadership strengthened the Philharmonic artistically with an extensive repertoire in the standard literature, and he retired leaving the organization with a strong and dedicated membership.
Known for his wonderful energy, encouragement, and leadership, Bill Slocum was a beloved teacher and trusted friend to all. A Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra concert in his memory is planned for the fall of the 2015-2016 concert season.
William Bennett Slocum, professional horn player, music professor and conductor, 78, died on April 7 in Dallas, Texas. He was born in Grand Junction, Colorado on December 17, 1936 to Goodsell and Hazel Slocum. He spent the majority of his childhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees in music from the University of New Mexico. Mr. Slocum received an Artists Diploma from the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with James Chambers. He was principal horn with the Buffalo Philharmonic for three years under Josef Krips, after which he went to the University of Wyoming as a professor of piano and horn and conducted the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra in Cheyenne. In 1966 he became associate principal horn with The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell. He was a music professor at Kent State University for four years, where he played simultaneously in the Kent and Cleveland Orchestra woodwind and brass quintets.
In 1972 he became a music professor at Youngstown State University where he taught for 43 years, retiring at the age of 75. For the past three years he continued teaching one graduate music history class in the fall semester. While at Youngstown State he taught the horn class, conducted the university orchestra, played in the faculty brass quintet and played principal horn in the Youngstown Symphony under Franz Bibo. He toured Japan under Leonard Bernstein, Europe and South America under Zubin Mehta with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and Europe under George Szell while he was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra.
William Slocum retired after 26 years as music director and conductor of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. He was also the conductor of the Packard Band. He had been active as a composer and his compositions have been performed at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Music Settlement. In addition to his accomplishments in the field of music, he was extremely interested in art. He had been privileged to have his artwork exhibited in the Cleveland Art Museum’s Annual May Show.
William Slocum was a highly accomplished and recognized musician, teacher and human being. Loved by his students, colleagues and family, Bill’s contribution to the musical life of the region was extraordinary. The gleam in his eye and the supportive and uplifting dignity that he brought will be missed.
Mr. Slocum is survived by his wife Gloria, daughter Melissa of New York City, son Jay (Tehan) of Reno NV and granddaughters Sonora of Milwaukee WI, Orla and Finja of Reno, father and mother in-law Paul & Gloria Rossi, brother-in-law Paul, sisters-in-law Alexa (Richard), Cindy (Paul), Louise and Julia (Brian), nieces Mary Jo (Matt), Alexis (Jim), Maggie, McKenzie, Kathy (Lee), Cynthia (Nick) and nephews Rich (Christina), Jesse (Nicole), Ross and Bryce.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com April 21, 2015.
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