Dr. Elmer Booze

Page-turner extraordinaire DR. ELMER BOOZE celebrates his forty-first season of service to the Newport Music Festival. Born and raised in Baltimore, he began his musical life with piano lessons at age eleven. He earned a bachelor of music degree from Howard University, where his principal teacher was Thomas H. Kerr, and a master of music degree from The Catholic University of America, where he studied with William Masselos and Antoinette Melignani. He received a doctor of arts in music (with highest honors) from Lorenz University. His professional music career began when he joined the Music Division of the Library of Congress in 1967, as a reference librarian/music specialist until his retirement in 1989. His specialty was piano music, but he also studied Russian and eventually became the division’s “Russian person.” Dr. Booze has turned pages for some of the preeminent musicians in the world, e.g., Rudolf Serkin, Menahem Pressler (Beaux Arts Trio), Jorge Bolet, and Leon Fleisher, to name a few.

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He assisted these artists in such venues as the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, The White House, the National Gallery of Art, the Sackler Gallery and various Washington embassies. When he was visiting Germany several years ago to hear a friend’s solo debut presented at the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the scheduled page-turner wasn’t dressed properly for the occasion, so he filled in, thus making his own Berlin debut. From 1997-2004, Dr. Booze was the program note annotator for the National Gallery of Art, where he completed a set of notes that is bound in seven volumes. He has been involved with music research since the inception of the Newport Music Festival in 1969 and has turned hundreds of thousands of pages here since 1972. He is the senior Festival artist and an indispensable artistic advisor, proofreader, and musicologist.