As most of you know, our beloved mentor Dr. Harry M. B. Hurwitz passed away in August 2018. We have come across the following note, dated June 2011, and would like to share it with you.
I recently wrote a set of essays, each of which I dedicated to a particular friend. He is one of many no longer here, but like others he lives in full colour with me, in my memory. Those friends who are still alive may not recall me with equal vigour or affection as I do them, but this does not matter since affection does not demand reciprocation. Furthermore memories are fickle – one person’s belies that of another. In many cases I have outlived my friends by happenstance, with the aid of good genes and excellent doctors. But in other cases death comes unannounced and unexpectedly, leaving families and intimate friends distraught and diminished.
I miss my friends and would have wished them everlasting life. But wishes are not a factor controlling the rhythm of our existence. One learns rather painfully to be content with memories and to celebrate these often and on appropriate occasions.
Dr. Harry M. B. Hurwitz — June, 2011
We miss you, Harry.
Oh my. I think of Harry so often and so miss our chats and his compassionate, wise honesty. Yana
Harry; one of a kind. Always worth a chat and always going out of his way to show respect beyond that deserved. Will be missed until one is missed also.
Thank you for this. I only found out a few months ago, through a Google search, about Harry’s passing — I’d become suspicious about the absence of blog posts for a while (over a year, when I searched).
As I mentioned to Harry at a lunch in Toronto about five years ago, I will forever be grateful for the entrepreneurial spirit that led him to found Symphonic Workshops, back in the pre-Internet days of “real” mailing lists. (I’d probably never even learn about SWL now.) He’d talk to you on the phone about your experience and steer you to what seemed the right workshop; in my case, when I got tired of one, he steered me to another — the Repertoire Workshop in Hradec Kralove — that I enjoyed, and from which I learned even more. The nine workshops in which I participated changed me, not only as a conductor, but as a vocal coach and general musician.
Rest in peace, Harry.
Hello Steve, we are so sorry you had to hunt for the news of his passing! Harry’s networks were so wide it was hard to trace down all the friendships he maintained over the years. It is wonderful that you have such fond memories of him.
Harry is indeed missed. But he lives in our hearts, and he pops into mind often, always in a good, nourishing way.
Worked with Harry, only for a year in 1961, at Birkbeck College, London. Still feel his influence all these years later. Great chap.
Beautifully-written, poignant, precise, sincere, and fitting.
XXXOOOXXX dear Papa, miss you very much
I was “partnered with Harry” for a time in the mid to late 1970’s in Guelph, as well as, at that time working on an Honours Degree in Psychology at the University of Guelph. I know I must have seemed a most unwelcome intruder. I was young and stupid then and I’m sorry for the intrusion.
In the end my interest in Music and Computer Technology became the overarching interests in my life.
Nothing however and no other interest EVER was overarching to Harry’s influence and the gifts he gave me. He brought to Guelph, to Canada and to me, personally, an unique perspective virtually unknowable by any other means. Born in Germany in the Early 20’s he was born and raised within a German/Jewish culture almost (no actually) completely obliterated by Nazi Germany.
Not only was Harry born in Germany he was born in Berlin. In ways we sometimes forget with intervening historical perspective, the Berlin Harry was born into was at the ‘cutting-edge’ of Humanitarianism/Human Rights, Philosophy… So many areas that did leave other world canters like Paris and London struggling to keep up. Christopher Isherwood put some aspect of it in writing. Harry Hurwitz was a living embodiment of the “high culture/intelligentsia” side of it. How quickly, resolutely and brutally that all changed. The Hurwitz’s managed to escape to South Africa, presumably foreseeing what was coming.
Dr Hurwitz was, without even a second place candidate, THE most brilliant human being I ever came in close contact with. He was Brilliant and Cultured across such a wide domain that it’s impossible to even truly describe or define them all. When my own interest expanded from the Psychology degree I was working on, to Philosophy–Harry was a human encyclopedia of DEEP knowledge and insight. He had NO equal in that specific area. Equally true when my interest turned to music and I became a performing Singer/Songwriter. Harry would walk me though the complexity Opera Scores and take me down musical paths FAR beyond my ken. He instilled within a passion for Opera that dominates my musical interest to this day. What I came with was a deep ‘sensory’ love of “beautiful sound” Harry knew exactly how to exploit that to something much more profound and meaningful.
Everything I touched Harry seemed to be there to take me to depths no-one else could have and to which I could NEVER otherwise have stumbled upon.
Over the years I did lose contact. That he passed only last year and I hadn’t made recent contact now stabs me like a knife. He will forever be a HUGE Defining influence in my life–no matter where I go or what I do.
For me, Harry Hurwitz will forever represent a genocided sector of Humanity–The Unique German Jewish culture pre 1933. Elitist to declare that specific Jewish culture in Berlin “Unique”!? So be it then. IMHO they absolutely were. Harry, by escaping** to South Africa, GB, and eventually Canada carried forth some of that culture within himself and he shared it (himself) with a World which otherwise could hardly be aware much less have any true first hand knowledge that world ever even existed. Harry was never an advocate of Germany or even the German/Jewish pre-Nazi culture. In fact he rarely even mentioned it. He was merely a product OF IT. His brother, still living in South Africa would talk to me about it. Harry never did. Maybe it was too painful or too distant somehow. Maybe he fought to hard to leave it behind. It was in him however.
**and by the grace of God
Harry, of course was more than a representative of a lost Culture. He was a Unique Human Being in his own right. I’ll never meet his like again in this lifetime.
RIP My Mentor, Rescuer, My Guiding Light..always and still, My friend.
Yeah, I know I go on when I write. I blame that on Harry too! 🙂
Thank you so much for these kind, moving words. They are spot on… we miss him very much but feel so lucky to have had him in all our lives.
I remember you Paul ….and ….Harry. I was that totally shy mixed up young woman/ girl who awkwardly hung out with you and also studied psychology at Guelph. You let me share your special psychology office on campus. I also had dinner with you and Harry when you stayed there and drive around in that red MG???
. So happy to hear you are around.
I met and had quite a few friends from those years ago at U of Guelph. Most of them are distant memories but YOU, my friend, I remember like last night’s dream. I had composed a somewhat lengthy response and my computer froze and it was lost.
Janis I WRITE–Old School. I do not do 140 character twitter posts. (or ‘hit and runs’ as I call ’em) It’s not in my nature. I NEVER have and NEVER will try to thumb out communications on a “smart”phone. After so many years in Enterprise IT (beginning with 16 years at NASA/JSC and ending up with another 20 or so on Wall Street (still Enterprise IT, not trading on the floor!) I tend to write in Chapters, Paragraphs and Tomes. I only do even text messages on a full keyboard with a 27′ screen in front of me. Kids** today don’t know what to make of that. I tell them,
“Look! I’ve forgotten more about Technology, Psychology and Man’s inhumanity to Man than you will EVER know”. Often, or at least sometimes, it’s the Truth.
Unfortunately another Truth is: I’ve forgotten more than I’ll ever know as well. Age comes creeping up us on little crows feet! lol.
**Anyone under 65 is a kid to me. 10 years ago it was anyone under 55!
I don’t have the energy or time to recompose the lost reply to you. I’m sending you this instead–but in the days or two’s ahead I will write and send you my original response which flew off my fingers, right from the heart. I type at the speed of thought. A blessing or curse–not always sure. It’s “Domage” when the computer nukes it. The “Heart” in not an “easy accessible” place for me anymore.–more like Orpheus venturing into the Underworld seeking to rescue Eurydice
Give this tune a listen:
Harry was one of my father’s close friends. They worked together on various music projects in the Czech Republic and their cooperation grew into a strong bond of friendship.
I also had the opportunity to meet Hary, it was he, who ignited my enthusiasm for organization, production and he was the one who, with his insight and wisdom, always knew how to come up with advice or recommendations.
For me, he was one I will never forget and I will be proud to have met him.
Hello Filip: Thank you for reaching out! It is good to hear from people whose lives were touched by Harry’s special blend of inspiration, guidance, wisdom and wit. We in the family still think about “Uncle Harry” and miss him every single day. Words like yours from friends around the world give us great pleasure!