Trivial Memory Triggered

I don’t know much about the Schoenberg scholar Dika Newlin, who just passed away. But from 1965 to 1978 she taught at North Texas State University, and I remember my high school composition teacher speaking of her with reverence and awe. Then one day in college, in a library, I ran across her name and realized she was a woman. I had always thought he was saying “Deacon Ewlin,” as though it were a religious honorific, like “Reverend.” Perhaps because of that, I never managed to bring her into focus. The composer Mason Bates studied with her in Virginia, and speaks highly of her as well.


  1. says

    Interestingly, the program notes for the performance of a piece by Mason Bates by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Player says that he studied under “musicologist and punk rocker Dika Newlin.” And Gamelan Son of Lion recorded her piece “Machine Shop”. So she certainly hopped among genres.
    And I’m reminded by your mondegreen of her name that, having watched a lot of Laugh In as a kid, I thought for a long time that the author of A Doll’s House was Henry Gibson.
    KG replies: Yes, I had run across her while researching Gamelan Son of Lion too, and that doubtless added to my confusion. But I still can’t shake the vague impression that there’s something religious about her.

  2. Supply Belcher says

    You should check out her Schoenberg book. Very personal, anecdotal (she was in his class at UCLA when she was a little kid) and occasionally hilarious, especially the accounts of his analyses of his own works in class (“and next I do something totally brilliant!”) and his fashion sense.
    William Billings replies: Yeah, I read some of her Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg in college, which is where I found her name. But mister, I knew Supply Belcher. And you’re no Supply Belcher!”

  3. Supply Belcher says

    Well, I ain’t the Handel of Maine, if that’s what you mean, but, according to the laws of supply and demand, I am Supply.
    Nonetheless, the book to which i refer is Newlin’s “Schoenberg Remembered,” a rather dotty affair, as much about the author as the subject.