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In Memory: Shirlee Emmons Baldwin

Suzanne Ryan, Senior Editor, Music Books

Oxford University Press joins a large community of friends, colleagues, performers, and students in mourning the passing of Shirlee Emmons Baldwin, one of the most beloved and strongest voices in the education, nurturing, and career development of singers. Having been trained as a classical singer myself, it was with great pride that I “inherited” Shirlee’s three titles when I began work at the Press—Power Performance for Singers (1998), Prescriptions for Choral Excellence (with Constance Chase; 2006), and Researching the Song (with Wilbur Watkins Lewis; also 2006). Through these books and others, and in the hearts of all those she touched, Shirlee’s voice will continue to resound and enlighten.

I am pleased to be able to share these beautiful words from Maribeth Payne, former OUP music editor who worked most closely with Shirlee and who had a long-lasting friendship with her:

As an author, Shirlee was great to work with–attentive, timely, responsive, hard-working, fun. Her work was the foundation of the professional voice list at OUP. But she was also a lovely, warm, generous person and a friend. Her voice was so resonant, I always had to shut my door when she came to the office–but the sound still got through. Her laugh was infectious and a joy to hear. She was also enormously helpful to young singers, several of whom I sent her way for lessons long after she had stopped teaching at Barnard and Princeton. One young man is now pursuing a budding opera career in Germany. Her studio was always completely full, but she took these students anyway, simply because I asked her to do so. I will really miss her.

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2 Responses to “In Memory: Shirlee Emmons Baldwin”
  1. Don says:

    I’d simply like to second your kind words. As Shirlee’s editor at Waveland (we publish her The Art of the Song Recital), I have nothing but positive things to say about her both professionally and personally. She will be missed.

  2. The family request you write your kind words at Legacy.com so we may print it for her 8 year old grand children to have for many years to come. Thank You and God Bless

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