Dr. Neil Minturn Retires

Susan Worstell

After 24 years at Mizzou, Dr. Neil Minturn, Music Theory professor, accomplished pianist, and well respected and cherished faculty member, will be handing in his chalk and zoom password after the Spring 2021 semester.

Dr. Minturn received a BA in Music degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, as well as degrees in Masters of Philosophy in Music Theory and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Theory from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  Besides excellent teaching, his accomplishments include writing many books, chapters, and papers, giving many local talks, performing with many local groups, adjudicating for several competitions, recording a CD in 2002, and the list goes on. In 2004, he received the William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 2006 he was recognized as a faculty mentor for one of Mizzou’s 39 (an award given to 39 Mizzou seniors who are chosen for their academic achievement, leadership and service to Mizzou and the community).

In the classroom, Dr. Minturn is known for his excellent knowledge and down to earth approach to conveying information.  His self-deprecating humor sets students and colleagues at ease and will be missed very much in our hallowed halls.

When asked for thoughts about Dr. Minturn, Dr. Peter Lea, shared, “A melophile [one who loves music] and a logophile [a lover of words], Neil married these two “afflictions” in his research and teaching. After his acceptance of a William T. Kemper Fellowship, he described his approach to teaching as ultracrepidarian [a person who expresses opinions on matters outside the scope of their knowledge or expertise]—an admission that gave me great comfort as a newly-minted addition to the School of Music. As numerous students, staff, and faculty can attest, Neil’s bakeful [a reference to his mastery of bread baking which was often sampled during finals amongst students, faculty, and staff] attitude inspires self-reflection and growth.”

Professor Emeritus, Dr. W. Thomas McKenney, who taught alongside Dr. Minturn for many years, also reflected, “Some people create an immediate impression that is lasting. Neil Minturn is one of those people. I remember his video application for the position here at MU. I also remember his on-campus interview lecture on Prokofiev and I came away inspired. Neil was the person who I went to see if I had questions about what was going on in a section of a Haydn Piano Sonata, or a Bach Chorale and I never came away disappointed. He was and is an inspiration to me, and I believe that that inspiration made me a better teacher. Not only has he impacted positively the lives of students and faculty at the University of Missouri, he accomplished that as a warm and caring person.”

Dr. Minturn leaves the MU School of Music a much better place.  His professionalism, expertise, and charismatic personality will be remembered fondly.  We wish him all the best in his retirement and look forward to his future chapters.


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