Deborah Hayes as published in the IAWM Journal, October 1995, pp. 8.
Harriett Bolz, composer, pianist, and lecturer of Columbus, Ohio, died on March 9, 1995, at age 85. We extend our sympathies to her loving and devoted husband, Dr. Harold Bolz and their three sons, and to all her family and friends.
Harriett Bolz composed music for piano, for chorus, for solo instruments, and for instrumental ensembles from duos to full orchestra. Her Capitol Trilogy for two pianos received its premiere performance in 1986 at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., with the composer in attendance. Performers were Leanne Rees and Stephanie Stoyanoff, a duo-piano team with a large following in the D.C. area, who also recorded the work for the Bravura label of American Women Composers, Inc.
Many of Bolz's works, including How Shall We Speak? for SATB with piano or organ accompaniment, and the Sonic Essay and Fugue for Organ, are available from Arsis Press and Sisra Publications. Her Festive Fantasia for clarinet, bassoon and French horn is published by the Hildegard Publishing Company. Her professional correspondence is in the Library of Congress as part of the Arsis Press archives.
Harriett Bolz is included in many composer dictionaries and indexes, always without date of birth or dates of academic degrees. In honor of her memory, her husband would now like these dates to be known. She was born on November 24, 1909. In 1933 she was awarded the B.A. from "Case Western Reserve University, and in 1958 the M.A. in composition from The Ohio State University. She also studied composition privately with Leo Sowerby and Paul Creston.
In 1962 Harriett Bolz was chosen Outstanding Artist of the Year in Columbus by the Citizen-Journal newspaper, and in 1965 she won first prize from the National Federation of Music Clubs for Floret-A Mood Caprice for piano. Other awards, including several from the National League of American Pen Women followed; the most recent of these in 1987 for The Kaleidoscope for piano.
Her music was often programmed at AWC concerts. In 1986, three of her works were heard at three separate concerts in honor of the AWC Tenth Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C.: Polychrome Patterns for clarinet and piano, Episode for Organ, and Narrative Impromptu for harp. In 1984 Polychrome Patterns was performed at the Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts, and two works, Capitol Pageant for piano four hands, and Such Be the Thought for soprano and piano, were performed at the Piccolo-Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.
At the suggestion of a publisher friend, Bolz offered some of her works to the educational music publisher The Boston Music Company. Much to her delight, The Kaleidoscope quickly sold 400 copies. In 1994 she knew of 38 performances of her music.
Harriett Bolz was an important regional composer. Clara Lyle Boone of Arsis Press describes Bolz's music as "gentle, delicate and highly accessible," and "thoroughly contemporary." She composed music for particular musicians and musical organizations, she attended the performances, and she addressed the audience in informative pre-concert lectures. Her work as composer and lecturer added immeasurably to audiences' enthusiasm for new music and their appreciation of art and artists. Performers and listeners came to know that a work by Bolz would be well crafted, strong, and expressive, but would not require them to embark on a long, difficult struggle in getting to know it.
Friends remember Harriett Bolz as someone with a beautiful sense of style-in her music and in all things. She was meticulous about her manuscripts, her letters, her lectures, her personal appearance and conduct, and, indeed, every aspect of her life. In all, says Clara Boone, "Harriett was a very special person."