Maestro Creates DePauw Legacy with Planned Gift

As his own commitment to excellence in teaching demonstrates, Joseph Flummerfelt ’58 is an advocate for education and the positive transformations it makes possible. In honor of his 60-year class reunion in June, Joe made a commitment to establish the Joseph Flummerfelt Endowed Music Scholarship through his estate.

“Because my years at DePauw were such an important part of my own growth, both as a musician and as a person, I felt that there was a responsibility to establish a bequest that will, in future years, provide some help for students in the School of Music,” Joe said.

One of DePauw’s most prolific and revered School of Music alumni, the Grammy Award winner is a beloved, world-famous choral conductor who maintains the warm, friendly, modest nature one might expect of a gentleman from small-town Indiana. A maestro whose musical artistry is internationally acclaimed, he is known to students, friends and fans around the world simply as Joe, and he credits his mother, a pianist and teacher from Vincennes, Ind., as the influence for his life in music. She taught him to sing and play the piano by age five, and he soon began playing by ear, composing and teaching himself to play the church organ.

Joe came to DePauw as a Rector scholar, majoring in organ and church music. He went on to earn a Master of Music in choral conducting at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting at the University of Illinois. He has had a long and distinguished career in music and choral direction and notes DePauw equipped him with the skills to flourish.

“DePauw offered me the rare opportunity to try my wings as a young conductor through directing the Collegians and conducting several Monon Reviews and Opera Workshop productions,” Joe said. “These special experiences were very significant in helping establish the manner in which my life in music evolved.”

Beginning his working life as director of choral activities, first at DePauw and then at Florida State University, Joe’s prolific career has included 33 years as artistic director and principal conductor of Westminster Choir College; 37 years as director of choral activities for the Spoleto Festival USA, which he helped establish in Charleston, S.C.; and 23 years as the maestro del coro for the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. He is founder and musical director of New York Choral Artists and retired in 2016 after 44 years of choral preparation for the New York Philharmonic. In 2004, he became the first non-orchestral conductor to be named Musical America’s Conductor of the Year. In addition to Grammy Awards and nominations, Joe has won numerous honors, including the Pegasus d’Oro; several honorary doctoral degrees, including one from DePauw; and DePauw’s two highest alumni awards – the Old Gold Goblet and the Old Gold Medal.

Joe is a master teacher who has worked with gifted students and established professionals in his classes and rehearsals around the world. He maintains an active schedule traveling to teach and guest conduct with numerous universities and orchestras. Many former students occupy major choral positions throughout the United States, including Donald Nally who collaborated on a book with Joe titled “Conversations with Joseph Flummerfelt: Thoughts on Conducting, Music, and Musicians.”

To learn more about including DePauw in your estate plan, contact the Development and Alumni Engagement Office at 800-446-5298.

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