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In Memoriam: Andrew Massey

July 9, 2018

Andrew Massey

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Andrew Massey, the longtime music director of the Toledo Symphony and conductor since 2009 of the Middlebury College Orchestra, died on June 1 at his home in Vermont after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

“Andrew possessed a genuinely creative artistic mind, and his brilliant musicianship was appreciated by all who worked with him,” said Jeffrey Buettner, associate professor of music and chair of the Music Department. "His charming and endearing sense of humor further delighted students and audiences."

Professor of Music Peter Hamlin added, “Andrew’s understanding of music and his skill at conveying his vision to the orchestra was transcendent. Add to that deep musical knowledge and experience, engaging wit, and a genuine love of the students’ talents and capacity to learn. He showed the students how even a seemingly insignificant minor part played a vital role in the music.”

Massey was born in England and studied at Oxford University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also earned a master’s degree in analysis of contemporary composition techniques from the University of Nottingham. He immigrated to the United States in 1978 to become the assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Over the course of his career, Massey served as associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Fresno Philharmonic, and Oregon Mozart Players. He was resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony and music director of the Racine Symphony (WI), and conductor of the Indonesian National Symphony Orchestra in Jakarta. He led the first-ever tour of Italy by a Chinese orchestra, with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and has guest conducted the orchestras of Pittsburgh, Vancouver, San Diego, Tulsa, Alabama and Iceland; the National Symphony in Washington, D.C.; the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Green Mountain Mahler Festival, among others.

Massey was an aficionado of the works of Gustav Mahler, and, according to the Toledo Blade, his Ohio license plate was “MAHLER.” According to his obituary, he had eclectic tastes and talents, leading the Toledo Symphony in contemporary works by composers John Adams and Stanley Cowell.

“His final concert with the Middlebury Orchestra included a performance of a student work that sounded like it could have been a professional orchestra playing music by an established composer,” said Buettner. “Andrew treated musicians with respect, and all music as works of art.”

Andrew Massey is survived by his wife, Sabra; son, Sebastian; and daughter, Robin.