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Playlist No. 22: Remembering Bryan Logan

Thursday, July 30, 2020, 8:00 PM

Program

The music we share with you this week is a tribute to the life of Bryan Logan—a beloved production manager at Richardson Auditorium and the Department of Music and an even more beloved friend, husband, and father. Bryan’s sudden death from a seizure last week has been a most devastating and shocking loss to the countless lives that his gentle demeanor, hardworking spirit, and limitless passion and love have touched. As we have begun the impossible task of trying to accept his passing and collect memories through which he will live on, one aspect has continued to resound loudly for us all: Bryan’s deep devotion to music.

Many members of the University community have contributed tracks to this week’s playlist as a way to honor this devotion and friendship. The music we gathered reflects musical remembrances: works that remind us of Bryan, whether they be distinct musical memories or pieces that evoke his incredible spirit. Please take a moment to read the written tributes accompanying each track (see below). You will find a tremendous outpouring of love and respect for a colleague who will be universally missed.

As ever, music keeps serving as an incredible source of solace and kinship—and an extraordinary celebration of life. Bryan’s is a life that we will celebrate always. We will continue to add to this playlist; please use this form to send us your musical tributes. Thank you for helping us commemorate this exceptional man and for keeping Bryan and his family in your hearts.

Here’s to you, Bryan. Thank you for everything.

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CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI “Duo Seraphim” from Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610)
Selected by Wendy Heller, Professor of Music/Chair, Department of Music

I chose this excerpt for Bryan because it is expresses anguish with such extraordinary beauty, and it captures something of the exquisite pain that we are all feeling with this extraordinary, unexpected, and painful loss. This is also a piece that reminds me of Bryan in perhaps unconventional ways. First of all, it is composition that celebrates collaboration—first two and then three soloists, who weave their lines together to create a beautiful whole. Bryan was a master collaborator, who knew what each of us needed to “sound” the best that we possibly can. His voice was always there, and yet he made every project on which he worked stronger and better. Second, it is a work of great intricacy and complexity that—in the hands of great singers—sounds effortless and even improvised. Bryan knew how to take the most complex processes and make them look easy, always able to improvise a solution when we needed it. Finally, Monteverdi’s glorious music here brings to us a foretaste of heaven, a brief encounter with the songs and cries of the angels. And I can think of no one else who would be better at getting those angels to look and sound their best.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004
Selected by both Anna Lim, Violinist/Princeton Performance Faculty &
Hana Mundiya, Princeton undergraduate class of 2020

From Anna…
Bryan helped me record the Chaconne just a week ago. For me that piece will forever be linked to his memory. He was so generous, such a complete angel about helping me with that project, despite COVID-19. He told me he was really excited about doing the recording that afternoon. He made me, and everyone, feel that making music mattered tremendously. I’m thinking that might be the last project that he did...I’m honored, and somewhat incredulous, that it was with me. And also all the senior recitals he produced...he came to the rescue of all the seniors whose rituals of senior year evaporated with Covid. I am completely crushed by this loss.

From Hana…
The Chaconne is the last piece I performed in my virtual senior recital on YouTube, which Bryan organized and produced; the performance had originally been scheduled for April, and due to COVID-19 was postponed to May. Bryan made something that I had thought would be impossible—an opportunity for me to share my music-making with friends, professors, and family during the pandemic—into one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of my Princeton experience, even through the internet!

I also played excerpts of the Chaconne for our thirty minute "soundcheck," during which he and my dad talked about recording equipment and techniques as I attempted to keep up. When I thanked Bryan for his time, he said, "Of course, and you have a great dad to help you out." For some reason, I teared up right when he said that. I think it's because his pureness, warmth, and dedication suddenly hit me all at once.

Thank you, Bryan, for letting me share my music with you. The Chaconne will now always hold a special place in my heart.

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF Adagio from Symphony No. 2
Selected by Lou Chen, Outreach Program Music Coordinator, Department of Music

I've chosen the Adagio from Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony. It was the first new piece that Trenton Youth Orchestra began learning after we moved practice spaces this past spring, which was all thanks to Bryan. No request was ever too big for him, no mission too impossible. He always found joy in creating space for others to create beautiful art. By extension, our art will always be his.

WILLIAM BYRD O Lord, Make Thy Servant Elizabeth
Selected by Darwin Scott, Mendel Music Librarian

I didn't know Bryan very well, but he was extremely helpful for the two library-sponsored concerts we gave in 2019. I have chosen this exquisite motet by William Byrd as sung by the Tallis Scholars. It is solemn and moving—and filled with cross relations (a feature of English polyphony at this time), making it especially poignant yet kind of like the voice of angels.

MUMFORD AND SONS “Awake My Soul”
Selected by Danielle Dennis, Venue Manager, University Services

When I was processing that Bryan was really gone, I immediately thought of Mumford and Sons. Back in December 2018, I went to the Mumford and Sons concert in Philadelphia with my husband. I was at the concert and I got a text from Bryan. I immediately thought it was related to work, so I read the text. He also was at the concert, and I had no idea he was there. We spent the rest of the concert texting back and forth how awesome it was to experience it live. There is a quote in “Awake My Soul” that Mumford and Sons sing, and it’s “where you invest your love, you invest your life.” That line makes me think of Bryan. He invested so much of his time into his work, but at the root of him, he invested his life for his wife and kids. I found it a privilege to work side by side with Bryan, and I will miss him dearly.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Aria from Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Selected by Kerry Heimann, Operations Manager, Princeton University Concerts

Bryan was an ideal colleague. We worked together on many PUC projects, including Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato's staged version of Schubert's Winterreise. The last project we worked together on was from Johann Sebastian Bach's St John Passion. Besides our work, I recently learned that we shared something else in common: a love of the television show The West Wing.

As I reflected on Bryan, my respect for him, and my grief, I tried to think of a piece of music to convey my emotions. Perhaps not surprisingly, I landed on Bach, specifically the so-called "aria" from his harpsichord masterpiece commonly known as the Goldberg Variations. While many of the ensuing movements develop sprightly, animated musical motives, I find the opening aria (and its "da capo" repeat at the conclusion) to be among the most tragically beautiful, melancholy pieces that Bach composed.

Coincidentally, this music was featured in an episode of The West Wing, "The Long Goodbye," wherein C. J. Cregg temporarily leaves her post as President Bartlet's White House press secretary to return home to effectively say goodbye to her father, who is rapidly deteriorating from Alzheimer's. In a fleeting moment of clarity, her father quotes philosopher Blaise Pascal, "We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end."

It was my honor to sail with Bryan in his work at Princeton. And although his untimely passing now reminds me of life's innumerable uncertainties, I will always remember his kind and patient spirit and admire his drive to produce amazing concerts at Princeton. Goodbye, Bryan, and thank you.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN Allegro moderato ma con fuoco from Octet, Op. 20
Selected by Francine Kay, Pianist/Princeton Performance Faculty

I chose this piece because it expresses how I felt after every interaction with Bryan. Bryan lifted everyone up. No matter what idea or request I brought to him, I was met with enthusiasm, positivity, and respect. Bryan supported me and my students with great care and kindness. He made us feel as though everything was possible. That is what I hear in this piece—boundless enthusiasm, kindness, and love lifting our spirit into flight, the same way that Bryan did.

GIUSEPPE VERDI Kyrie from Messa da Requiem
Selected by Michael Pratt, Conductor, Princeton University Orchestra/Director, Program in Musical Performance

The Verdi Requiem would never have been mounted in Richardson without Bryan—the Princeton fire code would not have allowed an orchestra and choir of that size and density on the stage. When I wistfully told Bryan of my desire to do the work, but knew it was not possible, his reply was an understated, “Tell me the numbers and let me fool around with it.” He came up with an ingenious stage extension system that became part of the regular equipment at Princeton, thus enabling the Verdi and future large-scale works. He worked for weeks on it, persistent and determined. I finally realized that the reason he put himself into it like that was that he wanted the students to have the experience of playing the work—same as me. He cared so deeply about the students, en masse and individually.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH “Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine” from St. John Passion, BWV 245
Selected by Gabriel Crouch, Conductor, Princeton University Glee Club/Associate Director, Program in Musical Performance

The Glee Club’s recent performance of Bach’s St John Passion was slated for broadcast on WWFM in April of this year—but we discovered to our horror that the recording system had crashed for about a minute during the opening recitative sung by our soloist James Taylor. In order to fulfill our obligations to WWFM, we needed to find a way to record the missing material and splice it into the recording...under lockdown conditions! As despair set in, Bryan promised to find a solution. And so he did—he sent a recording unit to Mr. Taylor in New Haven, with step-by-step instructions for self-recording. He then set up the organ remotely, on Princeton’s campus, and recorded Kerry Heimann playing the accompaniment. After editing together these two components, he found a way to merge this new material with the live recording from Richardson. It must have taken many hours, but he saved the broadcast. Just a tiny example of Bryan’s loving care for the music and musicians of Princeton.

A musical note from Beth Schupsky, Business Manager, Department of Music

Even though we don’t have the video to share, I will always remember the time Bryan showed a number of staff members a video of him and his wife singing in a band. I believe the name of the band or song was “Walking Upright.” I remember being so impressed by his voice and the fact that he was so humble about it. This is the one song that I think of since Bryan sang it, and it brings back fond memories of a day when we were all together and laughing and enjoying music!

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Adagio from Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 “Emperor”
Selected by Marna Seltzer, Director, Princeton University Concerts

There were so many pieces of music I could have chosen to pay tribute to Bryan. We worked on endless number of concerts together, all made better by Bryan’s soft and steady direction. I thought about something from our residency concert at the Trenton War Memorial with conductor Gustavo Dudamel when Bryan pulled a rabbit out his hat figuring out how to add complicated projection to Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Like my colleague Beth wrote above, one of the most memorable moments I had with Bryan was shortly after he started working in the Department of Music, and he showed us all a video of a band that he and his wife were in. We had no idea that Bryan was a singer and a composer! We all understood in that moment how personal Bryan’s commitment to his job was. In the end, I chose a piece of music that gives me comfort in difficult moments. This movement is steady, gentle, serene, beautiful, and enduring, all qualities that I will think of when I remember Bryan.

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND “The Space Between”
Selected by Laura Sabatie, Production Support Specialist, Department of Music

Bryan really loved Dave Matthews Band. He often went to concerts and shared the music with friends.

JERRY BOCK/SHELDON HARNICK "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof
Selected by Dasha Koltunyuk, Marketing & Outreach Manager, Princeton University Concerts & Department of Music

The first time that I saw Bryan outside of the context of Richardson was at an end-of-year celebration where he was joined by his wife and kids. As gentle a man as he was always, seeing him with his kids was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. His love for and pride in them was so apparent; the joy that he took in being near them was infectious. That image stuck, and everytime that I interacted with him since then, I continued to feel that love for his family. That's why this song, which so beautifully encapsulates fatherhood, makes me think of him. It has brought me comfort as a daughter in my own life, and I hope that it might take on that same meaning for his family, who I know continues to feel his presence always.

AURELIO MAGNANI Mazurka-Caprice for Clarinet and Piano
Selected by Yang Song, Princeton undergraduate class of 2020

Bryan single-handedly made sure that my virtual senior recital could happen. As an international student stuck on campus during the quarantine period, I thought there was no way for me to perform again, but Bryan delivered a lot of equipment to me and spent many late nights and weekends instructing me on the setup. I played this piece during my senior recital. The greatest challenge of having a virtual recital was syncing the clarinet to a pre-recorded piano track, but Bryan ensured that it was possible, letting my parents back home in Australia watch me perform live for the first time. I will never forget Bryan's help throughout such a difficult time, and he will surely be missed.

THE BEATLES "Here Comes the Sun"
Selected by Deborah Rhoades, Accounts Manager, Princeton University Concerts

Although I wasn't able to work with Bryan very much, I always knew he was around, because he was like a ray of sunshine.

JOHN DOWLAND “In Darkness Let Me Dwell”
Selected by Martha Elliott, Soprano/Princeton Performance Faculty

I recently told Bryan that I had taught a lesson during which I had actually accompanied a private adult student singing this song by John Dowland. We were experimenting with some new technology which worked so well that we actually felt like we had been together in the same room. When I told Bryan about this, he wanted to hear the recording. I found it on Wednesday afternoon and sent the recording to Bryan at 5:50pm. Little did I know that he would never hear it. I think he was already gone by then. It’s also shattering that it was this gorgeous song. I can’t believe that he is gone.

NICOLA MATTEIS Alia Fantasia for Solo Violin
Selected by Nancy Wilson, Violinist/Princeton Performance Faculty

I first met Bryan in Taplin at the dress rehearsal for my student Janice Cheon’s baroque violin recital this past January. When I entered the room he was sitting quietly, listening to her warm up. He stood up, offered his hand, and said, “I’m Bryan Logan.” That simple gesture was imbued the gentleness, sincerity, and generosity that was Bryan. In gratitude for Bryan.

THE WAILIN’ JENNYS “Firecracker”
Selected by Lindsay Hanson, Artist Services Manager, Performing Arts Services

I shared an office with Bryan and had worked with him for several years before discovering that we shared an appreciation for The Wailin’ Jennys. I’m not sure how often he listened to them, but they’re one of my favorite musical groups to listen to and to see perform live. One morning I walked into Richardson and heard footsteps on stage above, which typically meant Bryan was there working on something that he wanted to take care of before anyone else got in—sometimes the footsteps would be accompanied by loud drilling or banging noises, but this time I heard some familiar music. Once I realized what the song was, I had to figure out whether it was actually Bryan on stage or someone else. When I got to stage, I discovered my assumption was correct because it was Bryan, working out something with the sound console and playing The Wailin’ Jennys. What a lovely way to start the day.

LEONARD BERNSTEIN “Somewhere” from West Side Story
Selected by Mariana Corichi Gomez, Princeton undergraduate class of 2021

Before and during the COVID-19 shutdown, I was working with Bryan on what was going to be my performance thesis: a concert version of West Side Story. He was very encouraging of the project and had been so kind to coordinate with Richardson staff, Lewis Center for the Arts, and Gabriel Crouch. When I talked with Gabriel a couple of weeks before Bryan's passing, he told me Bryan was still thinking of ways to adapt West Side Story to an online platform. I'm so grateful for Bryan's dedication and care toward the undergraduate music students. It's still hard to believe he's gone.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Sheep May Safely Graze
Selected by Peggy Kampmeier, Pianist/Princeton Performance Faculty

The quiet, contemplative nature of the music reminds me of Bryan in action. He approached problems big and small with steady assuredness, consummate skill, and a sense of calm. May his gentle soul rest in peace.