Robert Ward (1917-2013)

The Music Department wishes to express our sadness at the passing of Professor Emeritus, Robert Ward.

Professor Ward was a prolific American composer of operas and other works and is perhaps best known for his operatic setting of The Crucible, Arthur Miller's dramatic telling of the Salem witch trials, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1962.

In 1967 Ward became Chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem. He held this post until 1975 when he stepped down to serve as a member of the composition faculty at Duke University. As Mary Duke Biddle Professor of Music, Professor Ward remained with the Duke University Department of Music until 1987.

The most recent major performances of Robert Ward's music were of Jubilation given by the North Carolina Symphony in February 2013, which he attended, and a performance of his Third Symphony by the Brevard Philarmonic Orchestra in March 2013. (Photos by Michael Zirkle from the performance of Jubilation below, courtesy of the North Carolina Symphony. L to R: Scott Tilley, Susan Dunn Tilley, Robert Ward, Grant Llewellyn.)

A recipient of the Old North State Award for dedication and service to the arts beyond expectation and excellence in 2007 on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Robert Ward was a person with deep roots in North Carolina and one of the most renowned composers of his generation. He remained an active supporter of the Duke Music Department's composition program throughout his life. (Photos below of Prof. Ward with Duke graduate students Amy Scurria and Michael Trinastic, March 2012.)

Read Prof. Ward's obituary in the News & Observer (Raleigh, NC).

NPR's "Deceptive Cadence":  Remembering Robert Ward