Robert Hall Lewis, 69, classical composerRobert Hall...

March 24, 1996

Robert Hall Lewis, 69, classical composer

Robert Hall Lewis, perhaps the premier classical composer living in Baltimore, died Friday of pneumonia at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. He was 69.

Dr. Lewis had long been admired for the complexity and #F TC intelligence of his work attributes that also make his compositions extremely difficult, even impenetrable, for some casual listeners.

"His compositions are lean and elegant, exhibiting a clarity of form and masterful orchestration," said Geoffrey Wright, a professor of music at the Peabody Institute and a former student of Dr. Lewis.

Although Dr. Lewis was probably more popular in Europe than in his own country, he was far from ignored here and received two Fulbright Scholarships and two Guggenheim Fellowships among numerous other awards.

For 38 years, until his retirement last spring, Dr. Lewis held joint appointments at the Peabody Institute and Goucher College, where he taught music history, music composition and theory.

"All of us in the music department revered him, and were frightened by him too," said Susan Weiss, a student of Dr. Lewis at Goucher and now a professor of music history at Peabody.

Born in Portland, Ore., Dr. Lewis started as a jazz trumpeter but studied classical music at the Eastman School in Rochester, N.Y., and later in Paris and Vienna. He gradually gave up performing in favor of composition, but he remained a conductor all his life.

Gordon Cyr, a long-time friend of Dr. Lewis and a fellow composer, said his friend was unstinting in his criticism of trends in music he did not approve. In particular, he dismissed the so-called "minimalists" for refusing to appeal to an audience's intellect.

Despite his retirement from teaching, Dr. Lewis continued composing and recording his music. Mr. Cyr said Dr. Lewis had (( recently completed an orchestral work based on the Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights." Dr. Lewis also continued as musical director of the Chamber Music Society of Baltimore.

Dr. Lewis is survived by his wife of 38 years, graphic designer Barbara Lewis, and by his daughter, Renata Hall Lewis, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. A memorial service will be held later in the spring.

Contributions may be made to the Goucher Music Department, Goucher College, Attention: Frank Mauk, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, Md. 21204, or to the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Attention: Paula Einaudi, 600 North Wolfe St., Baltimore, Md. 21287.

Regina C. Tibbels, 65, longtime teacher, principal

Longtime Baltimore teacher and principal Regina C. Tibbels died Thursday of cancer at St. Joseph's Hospital. She was 65.

Ms. Tibbels retired in 1987 after 35 years in the Baltimore school system. At the time, she was principal of Commodore John Rogers Elementary School. Previously, she had been an administrator in the central school offices and, before that, a teacher.

A Baltimore native, Ms. Tibbels was a 1948 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame. She received degrees from Towson State College in 1952 and from Loyola College in 1961.

Ms. Tibbels is survived by two sisters, Mary Virginia Flannery of ,, Clearwater, Fla., and Jane Frances Rochfort of Baltimore; three nieces and four nephews; and numerous grand nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, 6428 York Road. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Transitional Care Unit, St. Joseph's Medical Center Foundation, Suite 208, 7505 Osler Drive, Towson, 21204.

Pub Date: 3/24/96

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