By Shelby Hartin
As a parting gesture to the University of Maine, Ludlow Hallman conducted a performance of “Ein deutsches Requiem” by Johannes Brahms with UMaine’s Oratorio Society. Hallman recently announced his retirement from his position as Chair of the University of Maine’s Music Department.
Hallman has brought a varied background to his career at UMaine. He was educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Southern Illinois University, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria His love for music began at a young age, as his parents, who were always very supportive of his musical endeavors, were both musically inclined.
“I grew up hearing them play music together, so I certainly came from a musical background – not professional by any means – but from parents who loved music and passed that love on to me,” Hallman said of his upbringing. His final performance as a faculty member at UMaine was especially important to him, as the piece he conducted, “Ein deutsches Requiem” by Johannes Brahms, ties back to the start of his love for music.
“When my mother was pregnant with me she was rehearsing [“Ein deutsches Requiem”] with a chorus she was singing in, so I tell people I learned that work in utero,” Hallman said.
He came to work as a professor at UMaine after receiving an announcement of various job openings while he was in Salzburg. In his time at the university, he has served as conductor of the University Orchestra and the Oratorio Society, Director of the Opera Workshop, and Chair of the Music Department. Hallman’s enduring commitment as a teacher and his dedication to the musical communities surrounding him have been hallmarks of his career. His time at UMaine was originally intended to be short, but the atmosphere surrounding him led to a change of plan.
“I came here in 1970, expecting to stay about two years – I’m now ready to retire…The work, particularly in the early years with yearly opera productions…was so varied, interesting, and time consuming I had neither interest or time to think about moving,” he said.
Hallman’s work as a teacher at UMaine has impacted a number of students. Molly Abrams, a junior Music Education and Vocal Performance double major, was one student who Hallman positively influenced.
“My musical taste has expanded and he has exposed me to many wonderful works of music and composers I have grown to love. His passion for music inspires me and it seems like he has a special connection to every piece he hands out to me. I’ve learned to look past the notes on the page; he has taught me to become a scholar, to use my resources and find the meaning behind the text,” Abrams said of her time spent with Hallman.
Though he instructs others in voice and music, Hallman is a skilled performer in his own right. He has appeared in various mediums all around the world, from a conductor and singer to an organist and music director. As a performer, he has received numerous accolades, from appearances as a soloist with the Saint Louis, Portland and Bangor Symphony Orchestras to various operatic roles with companies including the Santa Fe Opera Company and the Surry Opera Company.
Hallman’s post-retirement decisions reflect his love for travel, which is apparent given his time performing around the world. He and his wife plan to move to Italy after his time at the university ends.
Abrams expressed that she will be particularly affected by Hallman’s leaving.
“He cares so much about his students and he has always believed in me and my abilities…You could say I grew up in his office, from an apprehensive freshman to a confident junior, ready to take on her Junior Recital. I am honored to have been one of the last students to have had Lud. He will always be a special person in my life and when I sing my recital in April, I will be singing for him,” she said.
“In some ways it’s very frightening,” Hallman said of his retirement. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I like it very much. I have no real reason to quit, except that I look at the clock and if I’m gonna do something wacky, I’d better do it now.”