The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is mourning the loss of founding School of Music faculty member Robert Listokin, who died last Wednesday. He was 83.
Listokin, a clarinetist, left a promising New York concert career to join the fledgling music faculty at the School of the Arts when it opened in 1965. He was a member of the Clarion Wind Quintet, which was recruited to teach at the school and served as the ensemble-in-residence at the school for many years.
He retired in 2002 after 37 years on the faculty. He continued to serve the school as a visiting faculty member through 2011. He also served as artist-in-residence for several years at Duke University and the University of Virginia, as well as on the faculties of Wake Forest University, Salem College, and New York’s Queens College.
He was the longtime principal clarinetist of the Winston-Salem Symphony.
Listokin won the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence for UNCSA in 1997. “While students admire Listokin’s gifts as a teacher and performer of the clarinet, they most deeply appreciate his kindness, warm support, and his enthusiastic belief in their abilities,” the nomination read. “Former students continue to seek the counsel of this recorded soloist, often traveling long distances for additional lessons.”
Like many School of the Arts music faculty, Listokin’s former students have filled the ranks of orchestras, chamber ensembles and university music departments over the years, and have won countless awards and competitions. Online condolences include many School of the Arts alumni. One said: “So many wonderful memories of learning from him at NCSA (he was my solfege teacher), making music with him in the WS Symphony and hearing him play the literature.” Another said: “Mr. Listokin was a huge musical and personal influence in my life.”
A classmate of his called him “one of the finest clarinetists of our generation! His artistry will live on through his recordings and the many excellent students he inspired.”
Listokin studied at The Juilliard School with Daniel Bonade, graduating in 1956 with the George Wedge Prize for the highest average in his class. In New York City, he performed with the Radio City Orchestra, Symphony of the Air, Musica Aeterna, the Chautauqua Symphony, and recording orchestras including Columbia and RCA. He performed chamber music with the Aeolian Chamber Players, New York Festival Winds, New York Chamber Soloists, and the Clarion Wind Quintet. He toured the United States, Canada, Europe and South America as soloist with the Clarion Wind Quintet, Claremont String Quartet, Razoumovsky Quartet, and Piedmont Chamber Orchestra. His chamber music and orchestral recordings include Everest, Columbia, CRI, and Golden Crest under Stravinsky, Copland, and others.
Survivors include his wife, Ann, a pianist with whom he often performed.
His daughter, Monica, has announced that a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 5, at Arbor Acres, 1244 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem. It will be held in the Fellowship Hall in the Berrier Building.