In Memoriam: David Boe

April 30, 2020

David Boe, renowned organist, pedagogue, and scholar, and honorary member of NASM, passed away April, 28, 2020 from complications arising from COVID-19. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota on March 11, 1936. He was educated at St. Olaf College, Syracuse University, and in Europe as a Fulbright Scholar where his teachers were Helmut Walcha and Gustav Leonhardt.

He taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music from 1962 to 2008 and served as Dean for many of those years. He was Secretary of NASM from 1981 to 1987, and a member of the Commission on Accreditation from 1989 to 1991. The NASM Board of Directors awarded him honorary membership in 2006 in recognition of his years of service to the association and its members.

David Boe leaves legacies in many areas of music. He was highly respected as performer, expert on historical instruments and performance, teacher, consultant and evaluator, and administrator. Among his colleagues in NASM, he also came to be equally respected as a towering example of how to be gifted, capable, accomplished, and eminent while remaining kind, gracious, generous, understanding, and supportive. Like so many NASM leaders, David Boe had a sense of humor, a quick wry wit that brought leveling and leavening effects to many a discussion. But perhaps most of all, he was a master of calm quiet effectiveness who volunteered his own absence from frenzy and kept himself and others focused on the kinds of basic central values and efforts that make both life and music work individually and in community.