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 Jack Paul Abell

Jack Paul Abell

Birth
Death 1993 (aged 48–49)
Burial Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 6286738 · View Source
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Jack Abell, veteran first-chair violist with the Memphis Symphony as well as a conductor, music teacher and publisher, died at about 3 a.m. Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 48. Abell, one of the most active classical musicians in the city, is best known for his work with the Memphis Symphony, for which he had played since 1975. Symphony conductor Alan Balter acknowledged Abell's work and his illness at this year's televised Sunset Symphony concert. "Jack Abell's musicianship, knowledge, quite strong leadership and gentle caring are gifts treasured by me and the Memphis Symphony," Balter said Wednesday. "I will miss Jack, his viola playing and our frequent discussions." Abell also had taught at Memphis State University and Rhodes College, where he conducted the Rhodes College Civic Orchestra. One of his favorite projects was the Tennessee Summer Symphony, which he founded in 1991. The orchestra of professional musicians from across the state got together for one weekend each summer to play concerts in West Tennessee. This weekend happens to be the Summer Symphony's annual concert weekend, and according to the orchestra's president and executive director, Martha Ellen Maxwell, "We will go full speed ahead with the concerts. It's what Jack would have wanted." A story in some of today's Neighbors editions referring to Abell's conducting was published in advance. Although Abell's conducting teacher, Harold Farberman of New York, was scheduled to be the principal conductor because of Abell's health, Abell still had planned to conduct Beethoven's Egmont Overture, which depicts a man fighting a courageous battle under difficult circumstances. The Summer Symphony concerts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bartlett's Church of the Nativity, 8 p.m. Saturday at Covington's Ruffin Theatre and 2 p.m. Sunday at Somerville's First United Methodist Church will be dedicated to Abell. The lanky, 6-foot-4 musician was regarded as one of the most talented string players in Memphis. Michelle Walker Fine, another Memphis Symphony violist, praised Abell's 'incredible facility' on the viola. She said, "As wonderful a musician as Jack was, what struck me most about him was his humanity and his sense of humor." A native Texan, Abell grew up in South Dakota. He had performed in Europe and in Latin America while a Peace Corps volunteer. He also played at the Santa Fe Opera, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Peninsula Music Festival, Chicago Little Symphony, Memphis Chamber Music Society and Opera Memphis. Last year he organized an orchestra specializing in music of the baroque and classical eras. The Rhodes orchestra performed several unique programs, including one featuring William Grant Still, a neglected African-American composer born in Mississippi. Abell had composed, studied baroque music extensively, written articles on music, played studio sessions and run a publishing firm called Ivory Palaces. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church, Central and Greer, with burial in St. John's Cemetery . Memorials may be made to the Tennessee Summer Symphony at 4646 Poplar, Suite 535, Memphis 38117 or the Jack Abell String Scholarship Fund sponsored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1725 B Madison Ave., No. 78, Memphis 38104. He leaves his wife, Lydia D. Abell; two daughters, Jessica Abell of Lexington, Ky., and Rosalind Abell of Memphis; a son, Peter Abell of Memphis; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Usher Abell of Vermillion, S.D., and a brother, Dr. Thomas Abell of Memphis. (Published in The Commercial Appeal 7/29/1993)


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  • Created by: Phillip O. Hamilton
  • Added: 24 Mar 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6286738
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jack Paul Abell (1944–1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6286738, citing Saint Johns Episcopal Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Phillip O. Hamilton (contributor 14391586) .