Wye Townsend Jamison Allanbrook, 67

August 01, 2010
  • Wye Townsend Jamison Allanbrook

MARCH 15, 1943-JULY 15, 2010

OAKLAND, Calif. - Wye Townsend Jamison Allanbrook, retired professor of music at the University of California at Berkeley, and a musicologist who altered modern ways of thinking about the music of Mozart and his contemporaries, died Thursday, July 15, 2010, after a long illness at her home in Oakland, Calif. She was 67.

Ms. Allanbrook, known to her friends as Wendy, was born March 15, 1943, in Hagerstown. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J.V. Jamison III, and the granddaughter of the late Mr. J.V. Jamison Jr. and the late Anna Alvey Haden, and the late Dr. and Mrs. Peregrine Wroth, all of Hagerstown. Ms. Allanbrook was a longtime board member of the Jamison Door Co., the family company, and served as chair of its Board of Directors from 1993 to 2000.

Ms. Allanbrook was best known for her book "Rhythmic Gesture in Mozart" (University of Chicago, 1983), based on the dissertation for her doctorate from Stanford University, which she received in 1974. Writing in the New York Times, music critic James R. Oestreich said "she showed that the music of Mozart and his contemporaries was not abstract, but full of topical references to music of the social environment: in particular social dances." Her work, cited by the conductor Roger Norrington and the director Peter Sellars, among others, has influenced stagings of Mozart operas and provided a standard critical tool for opera studies today.


Ms. Allanbrook graduated from Solebury School in New Hope, Pa., and magna cum laude from Vassar College in 1964. From 1969 to 1995, she was a tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, Md. She began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1994, first as the visiting Ernest Bloch Professor, and from 1995, on the regular faculty. She was chair of the music department at Berkeley from 1997 to 2003. She and a colleague, music librarian John Roberts, were responsible for raising funds and supervising plans for the Jean Hargrove Music Library on the Berkeley campus, dedicated in 2003.

She was elected president of the American Musicological Society in 2003, but had to resign during her first year in office because of the onset of cancer.

At the time of her death, she was writing a book, "The Secular Commedia: Comic Mimesis in Late 18-Century Music," based on her lectures. The University of California Press plans to publish the book, which is being completed by colleagues at Berkeley.

Her marriage to the late Douglas Phillips Allanbrook, a composer and harpsichordist, ended in divorce. She is survived by her son, John Vincent Allanbrook, of Oakland; two sisters, Patty Jamison Martineau of Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Stephanie Jamison Watkins of Los Angles, Calif.; two nieces, Page Martineau of Nantucket, Mass., and Sarah M. Doherty of Irvington, N.Y.; one stepson, Timothy Allanbrook; and several cousins.

Funeral services will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Hagerstown at a later date. Burial will be in the Jamison family plot at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown.

Memorial contributions may be made to Maryland Symphony Orchestra, 30 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, MD 21740 or St. John's College, 60 College Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401.

Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Bryan K. Kenworthy P.A., 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences are accepted at

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