An inspiration to her students and a mentor to many in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, longtime professor of music at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center Ora Frishberg Saloman died in November. She was 73.
Professor Saloman came to Baruch College in 1971 with a doctoral degree from Columbia University. She quickly became a vital member of the College’s Department of Music (now integrated with art and theatre as the Department of Fine and Performing Arts—FPA). Throughout the years, Saloman held key positions: department chair, leader of the Baruch Faculty String Quartet, violinist of the Baruch Faculty Trio, and concertmaster of the Baruch Chamber Orchestra. Longtime colleague and current Fine and Performing Arts Chair Anne Swartz said of Saloman that she “had been instrumental in keeping our music programs strong and viable for decades. It was she who took the lead in getting a music major at Baruch and in developing the highly successful Management of Musical Enterprises Program.”
Saloman’s colleagues also praise her as an exemplary educator. Associate Professor of Music George R. Hill said, “Dr. Saloman came from a long line of teachers and was particularly devoted to introductory classes with the objective of sharing her experiences of and opening students’ minds to classical music.” Associate Provost and Assistant Vice President Dennis Slavin (also an associate professor of music) remembered that “for Ora the bottom line always was students—how would whatever change was being proposed affect them in both the short and long terms. Their intellectual and career interests came first.” Music professor and former FPA chair Philip Lambert agreed: “In my 24 years at Baruch, I can’t tell you how many times Ora’s name came up in conversations with students. Without exception, they adored her. They felt that she challenged them and prodded them to grow and learn, while treating them with utmost fairness and respect.”
As a musicologist, Saloman was highly respected for her pioneering scholarship on 19th-century connections between European and American music criticism and reception history. Her research interests also included Beethoven, Berlioz, and Gluck; the history of music criticism; and opera, especially in France. Saloman earned many awards throughout her career, including Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships. Of her research, Lambert added, “She was respected by her peers for her intellectual discipline and scholarly integrity.”
Saloman’s books include the 2009 Listening Well: On Beethoven, Berlioz, and Other Music Criticism in Paris, Boston, and New York, 1764-1890 and Beethoven’s Symphonies and J.S. Dwight: The Birth of American Music Criticism. Before her death, she contributed essays to American Orchestras in the 19th Century (forthcoming) and Music, American Made: Essays in Honor of John Graziano (in press). Her articles and reviews were published in such top-tier journals as Musicorum, the Journal of Musicological Research, the Opera Quarterly, the Musical Quarterly, the Journal of Musicology, and American Music.
Professor Saloman will be sorely missed by her colleagues, friends, and students in the department, the College, and the University.