Warren Zwicky, pianist

Thanks again to Google Alerts, I learned of the pianist Warren Zwicky,  half of the team of Harlie Sponaugle (soprano) and Warren Z (piano), on their album Longing: American Art Songs (released 1/1/08):

(#1) From the Musicstax site

The program of art songs looks intriguing, but I haven’t been able to sample it (without buying the album, and I don’t have a budget that allows me just to buy things to check them out).

Vexingly, I’ve been unable to find out anything about Warren Zwicky. He’s clearly American, but I can’t find out what age he is (except that he was alive in 2008) or anything at all about his life history. So he’s a Mystery Zwicky.

I do have one other report (that I can access) of the Sponaugle/Zwicky duo: from BWG 60 Minutes of Music: Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 6pm: the very wry The Benefit of Going to Law ( the setting of the text is unattributed here):

The Benefit of Going to Law by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Two beggars traveling along,
One blind, the other lame.
Pick’d up an oyster on the way,
To which they both laid claim:
The matter rose so high, that they
Resolv’d to go to law,
As often richer fools have done,
Who quarrel for a straw.
A lawyer took it straight in hand,
Who knew his business was
To mind nor one nor t’other side,
But make the best o’ the cause,
As always in the law’s the case;
So he his judgment gave,
And lawyer-like he thus resolv’d
What each of them should have;
Blind plaintif, lame defendant, share
The friendly laws impartial care,
A shell for him, a shell for thee,
The middle is the lawyer’s fee

7 Responses to “Warren Zwicky, pianist”

  1. eric zwicky Says:

    Warren Zwicky is my Dad. Born June 8 1929 in Oshkosh Wisconsin, educated at UW-Madison and Harvard Law. VP and head of Washington DC legal office for Storer Broadcasting which became Storer Communications after acquiring a large cable TV footprint, then retired at 59 when Storer was bought out in a hostile takeover.

    Dad has played Classical and Jazz piano since he was a kid. He supplemented his scholarship at Harvard by playing in Jazz clubs in Boston. My earliest memories are of him playing Rachmaninoff Preludes or noodling a la Bill Evans.

    He still lives in DC and we see him every month or so. He’s still driving, still taking piano lessons, and hosting young up-and-coming musivccal talent from around the world at his home in Georgetown. He’s been doing that for decades and really enjoys it and he’s made a lot of friendships that remain to this day.

    I hope that helps to fill n any gaps.

    Oh also, his siblings were: Laverne (my uncle, yes that’s right), Gary and Betty Jane, in case you have any entries on them.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Oh my, thanks for this wonderful reply. Your father is about 11 years older than I am, but he seems to be aging much more gently that I’ve been. In any case, this sketch of his life is delightful.

      Your father’s family appears to be one of the dairyland Swiss Zwickys, who migrated especially to Wisconsin, but also to suitable areas of Michigan and Ohio (probably Minnesota as well); a different collection of agricultural Swiss Zwickys migrated to the wine country of northern California.

      Your Swiss family’s migration to Wisconsin might well have been so far in the past that you have no knowledge of the history, but far-flung members of the Swiss diaspora (spread from eastern Europe and the Nordic countries to North America, South America, and Australia) sometimes engage each other by asking how they trace back to Mollis / Canton Glarus. I’m an easy case; my paternal grandfather was born and raised there. For many others, the Napoleonic Wars were the spur.

      I have the impression that the dairyland Zwickys migrated in a wave in the 18th and 19th centuries, but I don’t know the history at all. Do you?

      The Swiss genealogical sources, though voluminous, aren’t a lot of help: centuries of history in various parts of Switzerland, but then they say that some Zwicky went to America, or Crimea, or wherever, and that’s the end of it; they were no longer of interest because, well, they were no longer Swiss.

  2. eric zwicky Says:

    Thanks Arnold. Yes we’re from Mollis too. My Dad’s cousin in Oshkosh, Wayne Zwicky, did a pretty extensive search a couple of decades ago. I’ll see if my Dad his any of those records, or any other insight.

    My wife and kids and I lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia from late 1999 to 2016 and there is a “Zwicky Recycling” in Robesonia near Reading. My daughter went to summer camp near there and once when going to drop her off, I sought out this place. The guy (I think his first name was David) was outside the shop and I introduced myself, but he had absolutely no interest in the fact that I was also a Zwicky and had sought him out. He seemed to think it was odd that I had looked him up. I guess not all Zwickys are as interested in their uniqueness or heritage as we are!

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Yes, David, my cousin David W. Zwicky. On David and on our cousin-cohort:

      11/20/16 Zwicky annals: David W. Zwicky

      5/14/17 Six mothers
      Bertha and Melchior Z; their five children; and *their* 12 children

      David’s father Walter was laconic, except on important things, like farm animals and machinery* (where he was both earnest and smart); David is a lot like his dad, plus he pretty much grew into the Pennsylvania Dutch farmer culture, where all the men are supposed to be laconic except on important things. So David has built this excellent business on his know-how and passion, but seems to have absolutely no interest in things he sees as frivolous, so we haven’t really intersected at all since, roughly,1954.

      *When my family visited Walter’s place, Walter and my dad went off to talk (by then my parents ran a costume jewelry shop, surely the height of frivolity — but my dad’s college degree was in dairy husbandry, so they had plenty to share). As far as I can remember, Walter’s family never once visited ours; what would have been the point?

      (I wonder now how the big family picture from the mid-1940s was engineered; Miriam must have dragged Walter into it.)

      (No, I haven’t forgotten David’s older sister, Lynda Zwicky Hood. She and I eventually became regular correspondents for some time — about our family’s history! I’m not any kind of genealogist, but I *am* interested in the people and their stories.)

  3. eric zwicky Says:

    Also, it’s great that you are so closely derived from Mollis. We visited there a couple times (stayed in Elm though) and it was cool seeing all the Zwickys in the local cemetery. But we are much further removed, generationally.

    My Dad’s ancestors did indeed come to the States in the mid-1800s. I’ll try to find out more next time I talk to him.

  4. eric zwicky Says:

    My daughter’s camp was in Wernersville. Camp Conrad Weiser. I wonder if that was the same camp you went to all those years ago.

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