UC Berkeley dean and professor emeritus of Italian Studies and Music, Anthony Newcomb, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, November 18th in Berkeley. A widely-respected music scholar, Newcomb’s research focused on vocal music of the Renaissance and early Baroque eras, and later the ontological connections between Wagner and 18th and 19th-century instrumental works.
Newcomb was born New York City and received his B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1962. Following a stint studying under the noted Dutch musician and scholar Gustav Leonhardt, Newcomb returned to the United States where he completed his M.F.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton University. He joined the faculty at Harvard University in 1968 and returned to UC Berkeley in 1973. While at Berkeley, Newcomb served as a Professor of Music and Italian Studies, Chair of the Department of Music, and as the Dean of Arts and Humanities in the College of Letters and Sciences from 1990-1998.
“We are very sad to hear this news–Tony was a long time member of the Music faculty and a wonderful colleague. He will be missed,” said Professor Cindy Cox, Chair of the Music Department.
Newcomb’s research centered around Italian secular music and poetry. In 1981, the Royal Musical Association awarded him the Dent Medal, a prestigious honor for exceptional musicological research. He served as editor of the Journal of the American Musicological Society from 1986-1990 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1992.
-Alex Coughlin, UC Berkeley Music