FRIDAY, FEB. 22, 2013 — We are sad to announce the passing of Ronald Cross, Ph.D., AAGO, the Kurt and Auguste Riemann Professor of Music at Wagner College. Dr. Cross died at home last night. We will inform the campus community as soon as arrangements are made.
Born Feb. 18, 1929, Ronald Cross was 84 years old.
He earned his B.A. cum laude, M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University. Cross won a post-graduate Fulbright Fellowship that supported his studies at the Conservatory of Venice, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the universities of Siena, Vienna and Florence. In 1966-67, the American Institute of Musicology published Dr. Cross’s definitive three-volume catalogue of the works of 15th and 16th century Flemish composer Matthaeus Pipelare, titled “M. Pipelare: Opera Omnia.”
Ronald Cross joined the Wagner College music faculty in September 1968 as an associate professor, earning a promotion to full professor in 1975. In 1984, President Sam Frank named Dr. Cross the Kurt and Auguste Riemann Professor of Music. For many years, Dr. Cross directed the Wagner College Young Musicians Competition. His scholarship was focused on early music history and world music.
As director during the 1980s of the Collegium Musicum Wagneriensis, Ron Cross was widely known for his annual Halloween concerts, “Music from the Court of Vlad the Impaler (Prince Dracula).” On Oct. 29, 2011, Brooklyn’s Metro Chamber Orchestra premiered a musical remembrance of those concerts by Israeli-born conductor Jay Vilnai. Specially commissioned in Dr. Cross’s honor by one of his former students, Metro artistic director Phil Nuzzo ’79, the composition was entitled “Time is on My Side.” Described as “a piece with a Balkan flair on the Dracula theme,” the title was a quote from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula.”
A certified Associate of the American Guild of Organists, Dr. Cross was the former dean of AGO’s Staten Island chapter.