St. Olaf College | News

Campus memorial service for Hanson to be held November 1

HansonAlice1St. Olaf College Professor of Music Alice Hanson, who shared her passion for music history with students for more than three decades, died October 11 at the age of 64.

An on-campus memorial service will be held Friday, November 1, at 6:30 p.m. in Boe Memorial Chapel. It will be streamed and archived online for those unable to attend. A funeral will be held Friday, November 8, at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield.

Hanson was “a stickler for precision, whose students saw her as brilliant — and terrifying, too,” notes a Star Tribune story in memory of her. “She relished being a tough music history professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, where she was loud, legendary, and now, deeply missed.”

Hanson earned a bachelor’s degree from Wells College in Aurora, New York, and a master’s and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with additional studies at Austria’s Universität der Stadt Wien.

She began her teaching career at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, during which time she was the program annotator for the Houston Symphony.

Hanson joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1982. She taught a broad range of courses, from introductory-level music history to the arts of Japan and the U.S.S.R., as well as many courses on genres and seminars on specific composers.

Hanson’s academic expertise focused on the music of Vienna from the 18th to 20th centuries, but she also had interests in opera and American music. She documented one of her major research interests, the life and works of Franz Schubert in the context of the politics and economics of Biedermeier Vienna, in her book, Musical Life in Biedermeier Vienna. She also published articles in Music and Letters, Anterem, and the Oxford Biographical Dictionary of Music.

She received numerous grants, including two from the Fulbright-Hays Program for study in Vienna, and was a member of the American Musicological Society and the Fulbright Alumni Association. She also presented lectures to the Classical Philadelphia Orchestra, the Aston Magna Academy at Rutgers University, Westminster Choir College, and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

In 1999 the St. Olaf faculty selected Hanson to deliver a Mellby Memorial Lecture, during which she spoke about “Conserve, Conservative, Conservatory: The Place of Music at St. Olaf.”