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David Herman at the Edward and Naomi Jefferson Pipe Organ, located in Bayard Sharp Hall on the UD campus.
David Herman at the Edward and Naomi Jefferson Pipe Organ, located in Bayard Sharp Hall on the UD campus.

In Memoriam: H. David Herman

Photo by Ambre Alexander

Campus community remembers former music chair, professor emeritus

Editor’s note: A celebration of Dr. David Herman’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 18, at the Newark United Methodist Church, 69 East Main St. in Newark. 

H. David Herman, Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Music and former University organist at the University of Delaware, died of cancer on April 8. He was 79.

Dr. Herman joined the UD faculty in 1987 as chair of the Department of Music (now the School of Music), and he served in that position for 14 years. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory, church music and organ. When he retired from the University in 2012, he was named professor emeritus.

During his tenure at UD, Dr. Herman oversaw the donation of the Edward and Naomi Jefferson Pipe Organ in Bayard Sharp Hall, on which he performed his Bach's Lunch Recital series for more than a decade. He also established the Music for Awhile concert series and the University Carol Service every December.

Dr. Herman led numerous Winter Session study abroad programs to London, Oxford, Canterbury, Bath, Winchester, Windsor and St. Albans, and he performed extensively in Germany, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and throughout the United States.

In 2006 he was awarded an Established Artist Fellowship by the Delaware Arts Council, which he used to study and record music by Hugo Distler and Jan Bender, publishing The Life and Work of Jan Bender, as well as numerous articles in professional journals. 

An active church musician for more than 50 years, in 2007 he received the doctor of music, honoris causa, from Nashotah House, an Episcopal seminary, for his contributions to the field of church music.

Colleagues remember Dr. Herman: 

Danny Stevens, interim director of the School of Music and professor of music theory, met Dr. Herman on his first trip to UD as a job finalist “He immediately put me at ease before engaging in a spirited discussion about teaching music theory, one peppered with delightful stories about his own decades-long experience in the classroom…. I know he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him."

Jennifer Barker, professor of composition, recalled Dr. Herman’s “dry humor and wit [that] was exceptionally British!” She added, “His sense of humor was the spark that ignited a great friendship and the making of wonderful memories including team-teaching sophomore theory classes; hanging out with 'the theory guys' on the third floor; recording his performances for videos; taking my orchestration class over to B# for his annual organ demonstration; playing duets with him on the Longwood Carillon; solving Sibelius dilemmas in his composition scores; and taking him on a concert tour of Scotland. But most of all, I cherish thousands of wonderful conversations about music, academia and organs. I will miss him greatly!"

A tribute to Dr. Herman has been posted on the School of Music website. 

To read Dr. Herman’s complete obituary or leave online condolences, visit Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes.

Donations in Dr. Herman’s name may be made to Delaware Hospice, 630 Churchmans Rd., Suite 200, Newark, DE 19702 or online; the music ministry at Newark United Methodist Church at 69 East Main St., Newark, DE 19711 or online; or the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, Christiana Care Office of Philanthropy, 4000 Nexus Drive, Suite W3-300, Wilmington, DE 19803 or online

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