In the 1950s, I was fortunate to play under Dr. George Morey (winter 2010) in the North Texas Symphony and sing under Frank McKinley (spring 2011), both consummate musicians and educators. I also remember my theory teacher Frank Mainous, quiet perfectionist.
In 1969, I returned to North Texas and met my hero, Dr. Dika Newlin. She was the star of the musicology department — ever creative, ever inventive, and ever thorough. She was a simultaneous translator in both French and German.
Once while I was working on my master’s thesis, she suddenly asked for a score while pursuing my analysis of Liszt’s Faust Symphony, at that time no more than an obscure work.
“Yes, I thought so,” she said. “You have transposed some measure numbers. It is 256, not 265.”
Dr. Newlin’s concerts and recitals were always packed with students from all over the university. At one piano recital, an original piece of hers called “A Serial Composition” featured her eating a bowl of cereal.
Dr. Newlin always made me feel smarter than I had previously thought I was, and I prized her respect. She left to work for Bell Laboratories in Virginia, and we kept in touch for years — she sending me messages from her cat.
I followed her developing career as a punk rock musician, not really understanding but always full of admiration for her great mind. She was the smartest human I have ever known. When she died in 2006, I mourned.
(’71 M.M., ’78 Ph.D.)
Laguna Woods, Calif.