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Edwin Dugger, 1940-2021


Edwin Dugger

The Department of Music mourns the loss of Professor Emeritus Edwin Dugger, who passed away in Charlottesville, Virginia on January 20, 2021 at the age of 80 after a long illness. Professor Dugger served on our faculty from 1968-2002, and was a devoted mentor to several generations of students and faculty. A protege of Roger Sessions, he was a prolific composer whose works were commissioned by the Boston Symphony and the Fromm Foundation and performed in the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and at Princeton University.

At Berkeley he founded the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players and conducted many performances of contemporary masterpieces such as Boulez’ Le Marteau sans maître. He was a fanatic opera buff who taught a well-remembered class in Strauss analysis, and he and his beloved wife Kathryn attended the Bavarian State Opera every summer. In 1990 he staged and directed a legendary performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in Hertz Hall. Information will be forthcoming about a memorial concert to be held in the near future.

Professor David Milnes
Chair, Department of Music, UC Berkeley



Born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Edwin E. Dugger graduated from Brentwood High School (1958), the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (1962), and Princeton University (1964). After graduating from Princeton, he returned to teach at Oberlin College. In 1967, he began his thirty-five-year tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught Music Composition and Analysis. Professor Dugger enjoyed retirement with his family in Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2004 until his passing on the morning of January 20, 2021.

Professor Dugger worked in electronic and acoustic media. His love of theater led him to many collaborative works. His honors and awards included a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Naumberg Award, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received commissions from the Boston Symphony and Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress, Columbia University, and others. His works have been performed in Austria, Portugal, New York, San Francisco and Berkeley, among other places. His musical legacy comprises over one-hundred works, which reside in Oberlin Conservatory Library for future generations.

His love of music reflected in his teaching. In honor of his retirement, his students along with members of the faculty commemorated his “…mentorship, guidance, dedication, great warmth, generosity, and music…” and the inspiration he gave them.

Professor Dugger is survived by his wife of 58 years Kathryn, his son Alan and daughter-in-law Llezelle, his two granddaughters Lauren and Allison, his sister Carolyn, his brother Robert and sister-in-law Sharon, his niece Amy, and his nephew Patrick.

In memory of Professor Dugger, please consider making a donation to the Dugger Contemporary Scores fund. Donations and inquiries may be sent to the Oberlin Conservatory Library, Attention: Deborah Campana, 77 West College Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074.

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