Obituary: Conductor and Professor Stanley Curtis Dies, Aged 86

By Logan Martell

On April 2020, conductor and professor Stanley Curtis passed away from the coronavirus. Curtis is remembered as a distinguished soloist and choral singer, as well as a passionate and supportive teacher.

Born on June 19, 1933 in Medina, New York, Curtis would go on to tour Europe as a tenor with the U.S. Army’s Fifth Division Red Diamond Chorus.

Afterward, he became a staff singer for the West German Radio/Television Network in Cologne, Germany, where he would perform major choral works with several well-known conductors; among the many prominent projects he appeared in was the world premiere of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Jacob’s Ladder” in Vienna.

Back in the U.S., Curtis performed with groups such as the Buffalo Philharmonic and Syracuse Symphony. As a recitalist, Curtis performed contemporary music alongside such artists as Aaron Copland and Ned Rorem. Curtis then went on to spend over 25 years as conductor for the Warwick Valley Chorale in the Orange County region of New York.

Curtis began his career as an educator at Monroe-Woodbury Elementary schools, teaching vocal music. Starting 1969, he served as a professor of music at SUNY Orange, where he chaired the vocal music program. In later years, Curtis became a professor emeritus and taught several courses a semester until March of 2020.