2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Miklós Rózsa Society by John Fitzpatrick, Mark Koldys, Ken Doeckel and Page Cook. During the past 4 decades, John Fitzpatrick has been the guiding spirit behind virtually all of the Society’s efforts. His most visible role has been Editor-in-Chief of our publication, Pro Musica Sana, but he has worn many other hats as well, organizing events, inspiring others to do their best work on behalf of the composer and coordinating the efforts of Rózsa scholars from around the world. On October 1 Alan Hamer, representing Rózsaphiles everywhere, presented John with an award intended to celebrate his achievements and serve as a small sign of our great appreciation for his untiring leadership.
The messages below highlight the esteem in which John’s remarkable tenure is held by the film music community. If you would like to add your voice to this chorus of praise, feel free to send your message (250 words or less, please) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ad multos annos, John!
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THE MIKLÓS RÓZSA SOCIETY.
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY
To whom do we owe our appreciation and sincere gratitude? To John Fitzpatrick who founded the Society in 1971 with my father's approval. I say Bravo!! Without John's enthusiasm, dedication, and utter determination this Society would not have grown into the single source of information dedicated to my father. It's a place where his music is promoted, discussed, and an appreciation of my father the man and the composer is cultivated. The Rozsa family is indeed pleased that John has kept the Society flourishing and growing with our technological age promoting Rózsa's legacy and making it possible for people worldwide to have the opportunity to be exposed to my father's music. We applaud you and look forward to another 40 years.
Dear John: 40 years? Actually, it’s been only 39 since I saw the announcement of a newly formed society dedicated to the music of Miklós Rózsa in Page Cook’s Films in Review column—which makes me a latecomer to the party! I immediately wrote you and mentioned that I had recently completed my senior honors paper at Michigan State University on the composer. You replied, encouraging me to write for your new journal, Pro Musica Sana, because “we need people who are musically trained to write about Dr. Rózsa.” A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but every moment of this continuing journey has been memorable!
Although distance has limited the number of our face-to-face meetings, I’d like to think that letters (now email) and lengthy phone calls have kept our friendship vital and strong through these four decades. I have so many personal reasons to be grateful to you—from all you have taught me about scholarship and writing to that unforgettable occasion in Bloomington when, through your efforts, I first met my hero. I will be forever in your debt for the opportunities you have given me, directly and indirectly, to preserve, explore and promote this great legacy. You have set and maintained the perfect tone for our Society—a tone of which, I have no doubt, Rózsa himself would still heartily approve. CONGRATULATIONS on the first 40 years, and best wishes for many more to come!
—FRANK K DEWALD
SHARING THE DREAM…….
The ‘seventies epitomised for me the very best film-musical years of my life: so much
was happening to educate, excite and enthral. Not least of these was my involvement
with the Miklós Rózsa Society, and getting to know its founder figure, John Fitzpatrick.
I was fortunate enough then to not only be asked to run affairs in Europe, but equally
as important to enjoy many encounters with Dr. Rózsa in London, as well as with
Chris Palmer, other MRS officials, and so many interesting Society members in the
US, as well as within the UK and Europe.
But this is about John, and I can think of no more appropriate ways to describe his
continued success running our Society than his intense dedication to professionalism,
first-rate editorial journalism, and an enviable musical sensibility. Back in 1973 he
urged me to contact Columbia Music to suggest and promote Rózsa’s “Sinbad” score
for a soundtrack LP; I was recently re-reading my replies from both that company as
well as from producer, Charles Schneer himself, finally confirming positive results to
please us all. John was the catalyst, and this early encounter exemplifies his eager and
enthusiastically-guiding talents at the time proving all-effective.
Forty years seem to have flown past as quickly as in that time machine guided by
Malcolm McDowell; most of John’s and my working lives given to our joint love
of the music of a true Master: a much loved – and lovable – human being, and a
legend in film composition. What more could I have longed for way back in those
heady days than to have shared the dream with someone such as John Fitzpatrick.
It is a great pleasure to honor John Fitzpatrick. He had honored the music and legacy of Dr. Rózsa
as a pioneer of film music journalism, scholarly research and analysis. Pro Musica Sana set the standards for the publications that followed.
Happy 40th, John!
With appreciation and best wishes,
"The trouble with Arnold Schoenberg," or so Ernest Gold is once reputed to have said, "is that he didn't know how to write a good tune." As the master of the art of bringing song to music, Miklós Rózsa obviously did not suffer from Schoenberg's disability. From him flowed life affirming and ennobling themes and variations that will be cherished as long as there are men and women of intelligence and feeling who respond with their hearts and minds to the best of the best. And one of the the most diligent of the responders has been John Fitzpatrick under whose masterful leadership the Miklós Rózsa Society has flourished for the past 40 years. Happy Anniversary, John! And thank you for all you've done!
Dear John, musicians, friends and colleagues,
I'd like to congratulate John Fitzpatrick on his 40th year heading the Miklós Rózsa Society. I first met John in Budapest in 2007, as I was performing the Hungarian debut of Rózsa's last big work, the Viola Concerto Op.37 on the composers centennial. At this event Juliet Rozsa, the composer's daughter, was also present and I must say that John's presence, along with his vast knowledge from A to Z of that which involved Rózsa —the man, the film composer and the musician— made this a unique experience for me.
I'd like to wish you John, happiness, health and the satisfaction of lots of Rózsa concerts! May you continue your golden work for as long as you can.
Truly and most sincerely,
I’ve been honored to call John Fitzpatrick my friend for more than thirty years. His selfless devotion to the art and artists of music in general, and to the musical legacy of Miklós Rózsa in particular, have been both remarkable and inspirational. His professional dedication and personal integrity are legend to those aficionados with the wit and intelligence to recognize the immensity of his contribution to archival preservation.
I first met John, and his equally passionate and devoted wife Mary Peatman, in 1979 during a weekend tribute to the arts produced by author, professor, and motion picture scholar Harry Geduld on the campus of Indiana University. Among the distinguished guests appearing at the conference were George Pal, and a composer of motion pictures scores and concert works by the name of Miklós Rózsa. I had the joyous experience during that conference of spending a day and a half at the side of Dr. Rózsa, whom I’d known since 1968. Harry Geduld and his wife Carolyn had been kind enough to invite me to stay at their home while in Indiana, and it was they who introduced me to John Fitzpatrick.
My first impression of John was of a gentle, yet entirely committed and passionate musicologist. The years that followed served only to further that impression. John remains a tireless champion of Miklós Rózsa’s enormous talent and imposing artistry. His profound loyalty and dedication to the work of a magnificent composer and human being have contributed significantly both to the memory and to the restoration of a singular composer’s recorded legacy.
John, if I’m not the “perfect” candidate to offer you a sincere tribute on this milestone occasion, perhaps I’m at least an appropriate one, as a Charter Member of the MRS and as the man who wrote what came to be the only centennial book about Miklós Rózsa. I think he would have approved of it. Though it was one of the best decisions I ever made, my sole regret is that I didn’t write it while he was still with us.
So near, and yet so far….
I can think of no-one who has done more for the MRS than you, with the admirable, and enviable, dedication you’ve shown for four decades – an unfaltering dedication to Rózsa that’s taken you to various points in the USA and Europe, including his place of origin in Budapest. Parenthetically, I travelled to Leipzig twice but still on my own itinerary is a pilgrimage to Santa Margherita. We’re all indebted to you for being the helmsman who’s steered the Society in general, and Pro Musica Sana in particular, in the best directions. I think Dr. Rózsa himself would have approved of this, too. And I’m especially indebted to you: but for a phone chat I had with you in early June 1972, I might not even have met the composer himself soon afterward and I may have had to spend yet another thirteen years trying to wangle an introduction to him.
So far, and yet so near….
When I first wrote you a letter about 30 years ago, asking to become a member of the Miklós Rózsa Society, I stood in awe of someone who actually knew the composer in person. That feeling of awe did not subside when I was accepted as a member and started reading Pro Musica Sana, because I admired your writing and your editorial work. I am forever grateful to you for giving me a chance to study the BEN-HUR score in detail and publish my essays over a period of five years. This time, you managed to dispel my apprehension in the face of my first-time efforts as a writer and to help me overcome my shortcomings as a non-native speaker of English, patiently correcting mistakes and advising me on how to make my thoughts best understood—but never condescending to me in any way. I am sure I cannot grasp the full scope of your dedication to the Rózsa society, but I do know that you have been responsible for my staying on as a member for so long and for letting me appreciate Miklós Rózsa’s music in a way that I would never have dreamed of 30 years ago. Thank you—and keep up the good work!
Congratulations John, on having been at the helm of the Miklós Rózsa Society for the past forty years.
Although I had occasionally recognised the name of Miklós Rózsa on film credits it wasn’t until about 1980 that I became a Rózsa enthusiast and discovered that there was an organisation called ‘The Miklós Rózsa Society’ which published a periodical Pro Musica Sana. After joining the Society I eagerly looked forward to each issue of PMS. Prior to the internet and with a widely dispersed membership, PMS was the source for everything about Rózsa and what shined through was the consistent high quality of the publication which took a refreshingly serious and erudite approach, not only to Rózsa but to film music in general. The style and content clearly bore your strong imprint as Editor-in-Chief which has helped make PMS a distinguished and influential journal throughout the years. You have steered the Society forward to embrace the age of the internet to ensure that it maintains its lead as the primary means of information and study on Rózsa’s music.
I offer my thanks for all you have done in setting up the Society which has added immeasurably to my own appreciation of the music of Miklós Rózsa.
Congratulations John and friends! Forty years is an astonishing record and legacy and I can safely say you are an inspiration for all of us who followed in your footsteps (and you will still outlast me!).
Your founding and fostering The Miklós Rózsa Society would alone have been a valuable venture worth celebrating. But maintaining the Society for these 40 years is truly a feat of your passion and self-sacrifice. Thanks to your enduring role in the historical preservation of Rózsa’s musical legacy, a great love for this brilliant composer continues to thrive for generations. Congratulations, John!
John Fitzpatrick in 250 words or less. That's the challenge. Impossible! Can you summarize the Renaissance in 250 words? How much less so a Renaissance man like John? A man of letters, a man of notes, a man of letters about musical notes... A man of accomplishments, one of whose earliest accomplishments -- the Rózsa Society, of course -- is still going strong, comprising a myriad of accomplishments every day on the website as we brethren pro musica sana exchange facts, legends, minutiae, melodies, opinions and arguments, all to the greater glory of a golden age of gifted musicians. That a gentle soul like John has been able to survive in our wicked world lo these last several decades gives one pause, and hope -- hope for a humanity that still has a future, hope for a humanity that will still be capable of writing books worth reading and music worth listening to. Bravo, maestro!
—PRESTON NEAL JONES
Congratulations to my long lost relative..... the Fitzpatrick clan obviously have a passion for great music!
How exactly does one set up a Society? John founded the Miklós Rózsa Society back in an era where there was no Internet, no email, no instant messaging. It was a time when the printed word reigned — in publications, in books, in magazines, in journals and in what today we pejoratively call “snail mail.” John was the proverbial voice crying in the wilderness; his was a call to share his passion for music. The mustard seed of his announcement to form a Society was planted in publications such as “Films in Review” and “High Fidelity.” From such humble beginnings it found fertile ground in those whose minds and hearts were touched by Rózsa’s film music and concert works, and its influence spread among those who appreciated all good music that elevated the human spirit, hence the Society journal’s inspired appellation “Pro Musica Sana.” As its catalyst, John championed a literary approach to the appreciation of such music, and the erudite quality of the MRS journal attests to his magnificent achievement.
Here’s to you, John, and may the passion continue!
Dear John, Being a fan of Dr. Rózsa and his music, I can understand and admire the reasons for your great intuition to found the MRS. Yes, a Society born to promote and defend Dr. Rózsa and his Double Life, but also the creation of a place for those who love Dr. Rózsa. The Miklós Rózsa Society is, if you love Miklós Rózsa, your home, and the many members are like a unique family. 40 years is a long road, but if we here are still looking to the future, it is because we need (and have) a good and capable driver, with wisdom and humility, to direct the Society with the enthusiasm of the first day of foundation.
with admiration and gratitude
My wish is that John run the Miklós Rózsa Society for the next 40 years as well
—LUC Van de VEN
Congratulations for the excellent efforts of more than 40 years, tirelessly working for a great man’s music; Composer Maestro MIKLÓS RÓZSA.
In 1970, I knew nothing about the existence of THE MIKLÓS RÓZSA SOCIETY or “PRO MUSICA SANA”, but I had the good fortune that the Maestro himself communicated to me that, a person named 'John Fitzpatrick' was in the advanced stages of preparations for the birth of the Society.
My sincere thanks and appreciation to you, and of course to our good friend Alan Hamer, Society representative here in Europe. I also felt happy to have met you both in Budapest. Sincerely,
—ANTONIO CASTILLO. (Spain)
John; It takes a special kind of person to offer a lifetime of dedication to a cause. My involvement with the Miklós Rózsa Society as webmaster over recent years has been an eye opener in that respect insofar as that I discovered just how much you have been the primary force in the development and expansion of a society which was prominent during the lifetime of the composer and in the post Rózsa era.
While my own love of Rózsa's sumptuous music stems back to the late 50's, I only learnt of the Society from a small paragraph on the Sinbad LP which, I later discovered , also came about through the Society's efforts. Yours was the name I came to associate with the Society and it was through you that I became actively involved in the digital face of The Miklós Rózsa Society. My thanks to you John for the input over those 40 years and to those under your guidance who have helped bring this special composer to the attention of the world.
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John Fitzpatrick after receiving the award from Alan Hamer (European Society representative).