Obituary: Joseph Henry, Missoula Symphony music director, 82

Posted on: June 9, 2014

In Wednesday’s (6/4) Missoulian (Montana), Rob Chaney writes that conductor Joseph Henry “died Sunday of a stroke, just hours before members of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra gathered for their annual volunteer celebration. He was 82.… Henry picked up the baton for the Missoula Civic Symphony in 1985 and held it until his retirement in 2006 as the seventh music director of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. In that time, he guided it from a volunteer ensemble to a paid corps of musicians, and from single-night concerts to evening and matinee weekend performances. He began the job as an extra duty to his position as a professor of orchestra studies at the University of Montana, but transformed it to a stand-alone position now held by internationally renowned conductor Darko Butorac.” Henry studied music in Vienna during the 1950s on a Fulbright scholarship, and later studied conducting with Pierre Monteux…. ‘Joseph was really cued into the strengths of his orchestra,’ [MSO executive director] John Driscoll said. ‘He was able to determine what hard pieces we could pull off. When he scheduled the (Bela) Bartok Concerto for Orchestra (in 2001), we knew that’s a really hard piece…. But he knew that Bartok, when played well, is so exciting the audience can’t help but respond…. The audience just went nuts.’ ”

Posted June 9, 2014