Hans-Jørgen Holman, a pianist, harpsichordist, conductor, and internationally noted musicologist, taught with distinction at Andrews University for nearly thirty years. An admired and sought-after visiting lecturer in musicology at universities around the world, he pursued learning with a passion and was uncompromising in his quest for perfection in his scholarly writings, presentations, and performances.
Because of his personal example, students respected and responded positively to his expectations in lessons and the classroom for attention to detail, thorough and rigorous research, and thoughtful and concise writing. Even though his career was cut short because of illness, Holman's work survives today as a remarkable legacy in musical research, Adventist music education, and students with successful careers.
Hans-Jørgen Holman was born in Drammen, Norway, on February 20, 1925, the only child of Hans and Kirsten Halvorsen Guttormsen, and received his early education there. During World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded his country shortly after his fifteenth birthday, though still a student, he actively participated in underground resistance activities against the Germans for the next five years, until the country was liberated in May 1945.
Although he exhibited a strong musical interest early in his life, he was also interested in science and wrote examinations in chemistry, mathematics and physics. He passed the Piano Teacher’s Examination in the Oslo Conservatory of Music in 1950 and in that same year received his diploma as a pharmacist.
After immigrating to the United States in March 1950 with first wife, Elly, Holman became a music student at Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University. Following graduation in 1951 with a B.A. in music, he accepted an invitation to become chairman of the music department at Indiana Academy in Cicero, Indiana.
While teaching at IA, he earned a master’s degree in music in 1954 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He then started work on a doctorate in musicology at Indiana University, studying under Willi Apel, editor of the first two editions of the Harvard Dictionary of Music and a leading scholar in the area of music history that Holman wanted to pursue.
In 1957 Holman joined the Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, department of music. While serving as a Professor of Music at Andrews, he completed graduate studies at Indiana University in 1961 and was awarded a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance Music Paleography and Music Literature. His dissertation, The Responsoria Prolixa of the Codex Worcester F 160 (two large volumes) is still considered a masterpiece of musicological research and has often been quoted as an authoritative source in that field.
Postdoctoral research and studies included music history and literature and harpsichord at Roosevelt University, the University of Oslo, the University of Vienna, and the Vienna Musikakademie.
Holman contributed articles to a wide range of professional publications including the Michigan Academician and the Harvard Dictionary of Music. He was an active member in seven professional societies, including the American and International Musicological Societies, Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, the International Folk Music Council, and others.
He was fluent in five languages with a working knowledge of nine others and represented the United States at numerous international congresses under the sponsorship of the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society, and Andrews University.
In 1982, Audrey Ekdahl Davidson, a professor at nearby Western Michigan University, wrote in a letter to then chair of the AU music department Morris Taylor about Holman:
He is undoubtedly one of the leading authorities on the subject of Gregorian chant and its compositional techniques, and has written seminal work in this field. . . . Dr. Holman has contributed important papers on chant and its relationship to folk music to the International Congress on Folk Music held in Norway in 1980; to the Medieval Round Table, sponsored by the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University in 1979; and to the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters in March of 1982.
Because of the great depth and breadth of his knowledge, he is able to inspire and aid students and colleagues alike. He continues to direct master's theses and doctoral dissertations. In addition, I can personally attest to his helpfulness to colleagues; when I was writing The Quasi-Dramatic St. John Passions from Scandinavia and their Medieval Background (1981), he gave of his time generously to go over the manuscript with me, offering many helpful suggestions. He is cited with gratitude in the prefatory remarks to the book.
The activities of Dr. Hans-Jorgen Holman listed above [others were mentioned] undoubtedly constitute a small portion of his life and work. . . . Because of his great modesty in speaking of his work, it is entirely possible that many of his achievements have gone unnoticed.
For over thirty years, Holman was involved in 20 to 200 musical performances yearly. He directed the Andrews University orchestra from 1965-67 and the Andrews Symphonic Band in 1964-65. He also directed and performed as a harpsichordist for fourteen years in the Capella da Camera ensemble, an organization he had started with LeRoy Peterson in 1971. He was frequently heard at home and abroad as a pianist and harpsichordist.
Holman produced special radio and television programs for CBS; CBS-TV, South Bend, Indiana; and the Norwegian, Swedish, and Austrian Broadcasting Corporations. In addition, he assisted in producing various concerts and television programs in connection with the United States bicentennial in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere.
One of these bicentennial activities was planning and overseeing, along with his wife, Rae, the United States 21-day tour of the prize-winning and internationally famous Sandefjord Girls Choir conducted by Sverre Valen and sponsored by then Crown Princess, later Queen Sonja, of Norway. Three busloads of singers performed in this "Norwegian Salute to the Bicentennial" series of concerts, starting in Chicago and continuing throughout the Eastern U.S. The singers were guests at the Norwegian Embassy and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where the Crown Princess was present. The tour concluded with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Following the death of his first wife, Holman had married A. Rae Constantine in 1963. She was a 1960 graduate of Andrews University and a former instructor of vocal music at Walla Walla College, now University, in Washington state. They did a series of annual summer music study tours in many European countries, with the primary destination being Vienna, Austria. These tours continued for over a decade, until the late 1970s.
A beloved and respected member of the AU faculty, Holman served on many key academic committees on campus. He was an exemplary faculty member, one who personified the academic integrity and accomplishment universities hope to reflect.,
Hans-Jørgen was living in Barrien Springs, Michigan, when he died on August 6, 1986, at age 61, the day after the university awarded him the John Nevins Andrews Medallion, its highest award. Following his death a scholarship bearing his name was established. He was survived by his wife, Rae, and their two daughters, Kirsten (now deceased) and Karen Holman-Cervera
Sources: Materials and input provided by Rae Constantine Holman; "Hans-Jørgen Holman," Obituary, Focus, Andrews University Alumni Magazine, Winter, 1986/87; Paul E. Hamel, "Eulogy: Hans-Jørgen Holman "; James McGee, "A Tribute: Our Colleague, Our Friend"; Named Scholarship Database, http://www.andrews.edu, February 2007; Immigration Records, Ship manifest #19 327, of the Stavangerfjord, New York, N.Y., 17 March 1950; Music Theory at Indiana University: Alumni Locator, (http://theory.music.indiana.edu, 5 February 2007).
Hans-Jørgen Holman, 61, professor of music at Andrews University, died August 6, 1986, after a lingering illness.
A native of Norway, Holman was trained as a chemist before pursuing a career in music. He received a bachelor of arts degree in piano performance from Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD, in 1951, and a master of arts degree from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 1954. Holman earned a doctor of philosophy degree in music and paleography from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1961.
In 1957 Holman joined the Andrews University department of music as assistant professor. He became associate professor of music in 1961 and in 1964 became professor of music. For over 30 years Holman was involved in 20 to 200 musical performances yearly, directed the Andrews University orchestra from 1965-67 and the Andrews Symphonic Band from 1964-65, and was a visiting lecturer in musicology at various universities around the world.
He produced special radio and television programs for CBS; WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana; and the Norwegian, Swedish, and Austrian Broadcasting Corporations. In addition, he assisted with production of various concerts and television programs in connection with the United States bicentennial at Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere.
Holman was a recognized authority on Medieval and Renaissance music history and musicology. He participated in many conferences and congresses on music around the world. He also contributed articles to a wide range of professional publications including the Michigan Academician and the Harvard Dictionary of Music.
He was fluent in five languages with a working knowledge of nine others.
Dr. Holman was a member of the American and International Musicological Societies, Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters and others.
On August 5, university officials presented Holman with the John Nevins Andrews Medallion in recognition of his significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and education. The medallion, the university's highest honor, is named after John Nevins Andrews, a renowned Seventh-day Adventist scholar and missionary, and the man after whom Andrews University is named. The bestowing of the medallion was begun in 1979 to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Andrews' birth in 1829.
Holman is survived by his wife Rae Constantine Holman and two daughters, Kirsten and Karen of Berrien Springs.
FOCUS, Andrews University Alumni Magazine, Winter, 1987, Writer Unknown
EULOGY: Hans-Jørgen Holman
Paul E. Hamel
It was on February 20, 1925, that Hans-Jørgen Holman was born in Drammen, Norway, and it was in Norway that he received his early education. Although a strong musical interest was exhibited early in his life, Hans-Jørgen also had interests in science, which led him to write examinations in chemistry mathematics and physics. Later he passed the Piano Teacher's Examination in the Oslo Conservatory of Music in 1950. At about the same time, he received his diploma as a pharmacist.
A resident of Norway during the Nazi German invasion of his country, Hans-Jørgen was an active participant in underground activities against those occupying his homeland. Shortly after the end of World War II, he married Elli, with whom he lived until her tragic death in 1962.
In 1950 they both immigrated to the United States, and Hans-Jørgen became a music student in the Department of Music at Columbia Union College. After graduating in 1951 he accepted an invitation to become Chairman of the Music Department at Indiana Academy, Cicero, Indiana. Subsequently (in 1954) he earned a Master's Degree at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
While he was a music instructor in Indiana Academy, Hans-Jørgen was accepted as a candidate for the Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of Indiana. It was then that his accomplishments in music came to my attention, while I was serving as Chairman of the Department of Music here at Andrews University. When an opening developed on our campus for a musicologist and pianist, I became especially interested in Hans-jørgen. After an interview with him and consultation with other members of our department of music, an invitation was given him to join our music faculty.
We were pleased that our offer was accepted, and there has never been a time since that date that I regretted our decision to employ him at that time. For twenty-five years I personally associated with Hans-Jørgen on the Andrews University music faculty and I can testify to the fact that he was one of our most productive, loyal, and esteemed professors of music during that period of time. His primary interests having to do with musicological concerns, he taught primarily in that field and also piano and harpsichord.
While serving as a Professor of Music at Andrews University, Hans-Jørgen completed his studies at Indiana University and in 1964 was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Medieval and Renaissance Music Paleography and Music Literature. His dissertation (five large volumes) is still considered a masterpiece of musicological research and has often been quoted as an authoritative source in that field.
Dr. Holman was of the greatest help to me as our Department of Music developed stronger and more useful curricula on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In fact, he was the principal architect of the Master of Arts Degree in Music History, which has been an extraordinarily strong program. Many students have told me that after completing their music history studies with Dr. Holman, they were at a distinct advantage when competing with fellow students as they enrolled in doctoral curricula at other universities.
Dr. Holman took post-doctoral studies at a number of universities, and also from year to year, it was his custom to take courses here at Andrews University, courses which he felt would assist him in research projects in which he was continually involved.
He was an active member in seven professional societies, and the conferences in which he participated and presented papers fill three single spaced typewritten pages -obviously too numerous to repeat at this time. His many publications were all well-accepted in the academic world in which Hans-Jørgen moved with such ease and rapport. Often he received travel grants from learned societies to assist him in his research studies and publications.
At Andrews University he served as a member of many committees vital to academic life. I think that no one could be missed more by his university colleagues than Dr. Hans-Jørgen Holman. His contributions to the academic standing of Andrews University have been significant. As one of our music teachers said at one time, "When Hans-Jørgen speaks, he is worth listening to, and we had better take the points he makes seriously." I am sure that we all felt that way.
We shall also miss his kind ways, and his contributions to the musical life of this campus in particular. Those who miss him will also be those in the musicological world in general who respect and love him very much, as we do here - and as I do, especially much.
Rae Constantine was at one time one of our music students at Andrews University, and I believe that she perhaps sat in some of Hans-Jørgen's history of music classes. We were as happy as could be to have you, Rae, as one of our students. We were even more delighted some years later (1963) when you consented to become the wife of Hans-Jørgen, a wedding at which I was honored to be asked to serve as groomsman.
Although Hans-Jørgen's death is a loss for all of us, it is especially difficult for you Rae, and for the members of your family. We with prayers and with our sympathy and with our love, mourn with you. And we mourn with your two lovely daughters, Kirsten and Karen, of whom their father was so proud and so happy to be their Dad.
How thankful we are for the thought so well expressed in one of Wayne Hooper's hymns which closes with these glorious words: "We have this hope that burns within our hearts, Hope in the coming of the Lord." May this hope sustain all of us in this hour of bereavement.
Dr. Paul E. Hamel served as chair of the department of music at AU from 1955-1981.
A TRIBUTE: Our Colleague, Our Friend
Shortly before the incapacitation of his final illness Hans-Jørgen Holman wrote to me of his future hopes and dreams, plans and projects. Of course he knew that the sword of Damocles hung heavy over his head. But he ignored it. That was his way. Never had he allowed present adversity to imperil the promise of the future. Nor did he now. Barriers considered impenetrable by others were for him merely challenges to be met and conquered. Despite failing physical strength, his will and spirit remained indomitable.
One of his aspirations was to see the establishment and subsequent success of the International Adventist Musicians Association. He, along with other SDA scholars and musicians, had long worked toward achieving international recognition (within a denominational context) for the excellence of their musical scholarship, performance, composition, and other serious musical activities. Publishing a journal of high quality, he believed, was a firm step toward achieving that recognition. Therefore, as editor of the IAMA Journal he gave his best effort to the project, contributing what he could to produce the very first issue.
Tragically, just when he saw the emerging reality of one of his most cherished dreams, illness forced him to abandon his editorial duties. The disappointment must have been intense. But even then he could not disassociate himself from the project. When he encouraged me to accept the editorship of the Journal in his place, he indicated that though gravely ill he would like to remain active in its production. What a man!
To associate with him was to respect him. Those of us who knew him well recognized in him the touchstone of quality, both personal and professional. Hans-Jørgen Holman, our colleague, our friend, was a man we loved and admired.
Dr. James McGee was serving as acting chairman of IAMA's, Association of Adventist Musicologists at the time of Holman's death.
It was my privilege to study under Dr. Hans-Jørgen Holman while pursuing graduate study in music at Andrews University in the 1960’s. My respect for him as a person and as a visionary increased even further as we worked together during the formation of the International Adventist Musicians Association in the summer of 1984.
I remember with fondness a meeting on the AU campus in 1984 where Hans-Jørgen joined with officers of IAMA to discuss ideas for a professional journal. He was excited about the potential for such a magazine and eagerly accepted the invitation extended to him at that time to be its editor, as well as serve as chair of the Association of Adventist Musicologists, part of the initial organization of IAMA.
Although he immediately began both tasks with enthusiasm, serious illness would prevent him from realizing his dreams for both the magazine and the subdivision. The first issue of the IAMA Journal was issued in Spring 1985, a few months before his death.