By Christopher Clair
The Daily Iowegian
---- — The Board of Regents, state of Iowa, voted Wednesday to approve the naming of the Voxman Music Building, the University of Iowa School of Music facility slated for completion in 2016, in honor of longtime director and faculty member Himie Voxman.
The Voxman name over the years has brought recognition and respect for the state of Iowa, for the arts in Iowa, and for the UI. Centerville native Voxman committed his entire adult life to the university. He was on the faculty for 45 years, serving as director of the School of Music for 26 years, retiring in 1980. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 99.
“Himie Voxman led the School of Music to a position of national prominence and created the exemplar of a modern comprehensive school,” says School of Music Director David Gier. “We are delighted to carry that legacy forward in our new building.”
As director of the school, he crafted the ascendance of the program to national prominence by recruiting an outstanding faculty, transforming the curriculum, growing the student body, developing a world class music library, and overseeing the construction of a new facility.
Voxman’s distinguished musical career began at the age of 13 when he took up the clarinet. In later years he studied with Gustave Langenus, former principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.
In 1929, Voxman enrolled in the UI chemical engineering program. During this time he continued his study of the clarinet, playing in the University Band and Symphony Orchestra and giving private clarinet lessons to pay for his education. In 1933, he received a Bachelor of Science degree with High Distinction in Chemical Engineering and then began graduate work in the psychology of music under the direction of the renowned psychology professor, Carl E. Seashore. After completing the Master of Arts degree in this area, Voxman taught music in the Iowa City public schools, where he met and married Lois Wilcox, an accomplished violinist and string instrument teacher. He also served as principal clarinetist in the Quad City Symphony.
In 1939, Voxman joined the faculty of the UI School of Music and subsequently served as its director from 1954 until his retirement in 1980. While at the university, he taught and mentored hundreds of students, including many who joined the ranks of the nation’s outstanding music performers, educators, and administrators. He served as advisor to more than 40 doctoral students.
Voxman is undoubtedly best known throughout the United States and Europe for his innumerable music publications, selling millions of volumes in the past 60 years. For decades his compilations and editions have formed the standard texts for aspiring and advanced wind musicians. His long-term archival research in European libraries has brought to light an extensive, invaluable list of previously unpublished 18th- and 19th-century wind solo and chamber works, serving as the basis for many of his widely used publications.
The School of Music’s former building — also named after Voxman — was among the facilities lost to the flood of 2008. The new building will be located at the intersection of Clinton and Burlington streets in downtown Iowa City. Designed by LMN Architects of Seattle and Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City, the new building will feature a largely glass exterior, a 700-seat concert hall, a 200-seat recital hall, an organ performance hall, opera and chamber music rehearsal spaces, faculty studios, classrooms, and individual rehearsal spaces.
The new Voxman Music Building will provide a central home for the School of Music, which currently occupies spaces throughout campus.