Oberlin News Center

Friday, August 18, 2017

Oberlin News Center

L. Dean Nuernberger, a longtime professor of music theory at Oberlin Conservatory and 21-year director of the medieval, renaissance, and early baroque music ensemble Collegium Musicum, died December 21 at age 89.

Nuernberger led Collegium Musicum from 1968-1989, inspiring countless young musicians in that time. Even in his later years, Nuernberger remained close to his music: In 1983, he began writing a requiem following the death of his mother. He returned to the piece and revised it in 2009, upon the death of his wife, Barbara Elaine Nuernberger.

As word spread of Mrs. Nuernberger’s death, former Collegium students led by Peter Gibeau ’81 united to perform a portion of the piece at her memorial service.

Collegium Musicum alumni reconvened at Oberlin in August 2010 to perform and record Nuernberger's Requiem. 

Gibeau, a music professor at the University of Wisconsin, later returned to the piece to ensure that it could be performed and recorded in full. Nuernberger attended much of the taping at Oberlin. (A rehearsal of that piece was recorded in August 2010.)

Nuernberger “was such a spectacular teacher,” alumna Rae de la Crétaz ’73 said at the time. “He was so generous to us—he nurtured us as people. Most of the people here will tell you he was far and away the most important teacher any of us had.”

Nuernberger was born in Nebraska and served in the U.S. Army in France during World War II. A longtime resident of Oberlin, he is survived by two nieces and two nephews. A private service is planned.