I am writing in sadness to let you know that Michael Pisani, Professor of Music, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 9th at his home. Since 1997, Michael has shared his passion for music with our campus, his colleagues, and his students. He will be deeply missed.
Michael came to Vassar in 1997 after earning his PhD in musicology from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. At Vassar, Michael’s teaching focused on music of periods and styles, while his scholarship focused on music of the 19th and 20thcenturies, especially dramatic musical forms such as program music, opera, musical theatre, and film music.
Michael’s colleagues have shared many fond reflections of Michael and his time here at Vassar that remind us of the magnitude of his passing. One colleague noted that “Michael will be missed not only for his wide-ranging abilities, but also for his warm, gentle, and caring presence.” Another reflected on Michael’s commitment to his teaching when they shared, “He took [Music] 101 so seriously, really understood how crucial it is to the students and to our curriculum, and was constantly tinkering with it and trying to figure out ways to make it more effective.”
A celebration of Michael’s life will take place this fall and will be organized by the Music Department. On behalf of the Vassar community, we extend our deep sympathy to Michael’s father, Mario, his sisters, Denise and Linda, and his friend, Christopher, with whom he lived in Rochester.