1955 Festival June 20-26

The first of the Moravian Music Festivals to be held outside of Bethlehem was held in Winston-Salem, NC, June 20-26, 1955, on the campus of Salem College. Once again, Thor Johnson was the music director and conductor, and a paragraph he wrote for the inside front cover of the Festival program book expresses the pride and excitement of discovery of Moravian music:

The re-discovery and contemporary re-creation of music which was an integral part of the lives of the earliest settlers in Winston-Salem is of prime national importance. For the first time it is possible for us to evaluate the amazing musical culture of Colonial America since the Salem settlement was unique in its musical taste and accomplishment. Our citizens may glow with inevitable pride in the knowledge that the music in the early days of this community was the firm foundation upon which our national culture, now assuming international leadership, was soundly constructed. It is to their love of and dedication to the beauty and spiritual value of fine music that we, at this festival, pay tribute.”

 Guests and faculty at this Festival included

  • Maud Nosler, soprano soloist, who became renowned as an interpreter of Moravian music;
  • James Christian Pfohl, guest conductor of the Tuesday evening concert. James was the director of the Charlotte and Jacksonville Symphonies, founder and director of the Transylvania Music Camp and Brevard Music Festival;
  • Clemens Sandresky, dean of the Salem College School of Music, and chair of the Festival and Seminar, who presented a series of lectures on the form and style of the Moravian music used in the Festival;
  • Ruth Pfohl Grams, lecturing on Moravian hymnology; and
  • Donald M. McCorkle, assistant professor of musicology at Salem College and music editor of the Moravian Church in America, lecturing on the history and significance of Moravian music in America. (When the Moravian Music Foundation was incorporated in 1956, Dr. McCorkle would become its first Director.)

 Public performances took place in Memorial Hall of Salem College and included concerts on…

  • Monday, June 20, with chamber music by Peter, Wranitzky, Michael, and Müller;
  • Tuesday, June 21, with music by Peter, Wanhal, and Josef Riepel;
  • Wednesday, June 22, with music by Peter, Grenser, and Meder;
  • Thursday, June 23, with music by Peter, C.P.E. Bach, and Michael;
  • Friday, June 24, with music by Peter, Mozart, Herbst, and Wolle;
  • Saturday, June 25, with music by Antes and Michael;
  • and Sunday, June 26, on the athletic field, with anthems by Peter, E. Leinbach, Hagen, along with hymns and a prelude of chorales by the Moravian Band under the direction of Austin E. Burke, Jr.

 The Festival orchestra again included players from around the country – from Rochester, New York to Cincinnati, Ohio; from Kansas City to Nebraska; from Dayton to Winston-Salem.