A Letter from the Dean of Jacobs School of Music

Dear Jacobs School of Music Family,

It is with sadness that I share the news of the death of Professor Emeritus Hans Tischler, who passed away early last night in Bloomington.

Tischler was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1915. He completed his first PhD in musicology from the University of Vienna in 1937 with the dissertation titled Harmony in the Works of Gustav Mahler.

The political situation in Europe forced Tischler to leave Vienna, and he immigrated to the US in 1938. His second PhD, with a dissertation titled The Motet in 13th Century France, was awarded in 1942 by Yale University and was the first to be granted in the US in Musicology. He enlisted in the US Army and served from 1943-45 and became a US citizen. From 1945-47, he was appointed head of the music department at West Virginia Wesleyan College. In 1947 he joined the faculty at Roosevelt University in Chicago as Associate Professor of Music where he taught theory and music history. In 1950, he founded the Chicago Chapter of the International Society of Contemporary Music. Tischler remained at Roosevelt University until 1965 when he was appointed Professor of Musicology at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he remained until his retirement in 1985.

Grants from the American Philosophical Society, a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, two from the Chapelbrook Foundation, and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies aided Tischler in his research and publications. He wrote over 150 articles and 22 books, gaining him world-wide recognition in the field of medieval French music. He also authored a survey of the history of music (1955), The Perceptive Music Listener, a text book titled Practical Harmony in 1964,  A Structural Analysis of Mozart’s Piano Concertos in 1966, and, in 1973, a translation of Willi Apel’s History of Keyboard Music to 1700.  Citations on Tischler can be found on Google and in Grove Music Online, Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary, Brockhaus-Riemann-Musiklexicon, Répertoire international des Médiévistes, Who’s Who in America, as well as many additional reference sources.

Tischler was a member and chapter chair of the American Musicological Society and, in 2009, was honored as a member for more than 50 years.  He was also an honorary member of the Austrian Musicological Society. He contributed to numerous festschriften, wrote many reviews in learned journals, and gave numerous lectures and papers at conferences and academic institutions all over the world. Added to his vast knowledge of music, he had avid interests in science, art, history, literature, world cultures, and involvement in social-political matters. He was a revered teacher, and, through his influence on many students, his work will continue to shape the musical world.

In addition to his leadership in education and research, Hans was a vital member of the Bloomington community, during which time he was a founding member of the Bloomington Chamber Music Society and the Bloomington Jewish Community (Beth Shalom). In recognition of Hans, January 18, 2008, was named Hans Tischler Day in Bloomington by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan.

Hans is survived by his wife, Alice; 4 children: Judith BenOr in Israel, Len in PA, Mark (Barbara) in IL, and Laura Eliel (Jim Kitchen) in TX; 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grand children.  Information about a memorial will be shared as it becomes available.

Gwyn Richards