For more than thirty years, this award recipient has been a behind-the-scenes force of nature in the study, interpretation, publication, and performance of music from the Moravian collections. He has promoted the musical and historical heritage of the Moravians through passionate and well-informed advocacy, brilliant and tireless research, top-quality performances and recordings, and willing and humble assistance in “all things Moravian and musical”. His contributions to the knowledge and appreciation of Moravian musical culture and history are wide ranging, though largely unremarked because of his gracious humility and service focusing on the project at hand, seeking no recognition or credit for his efforts.
As a professional musician he has played in many concerts of Moravian music, including at Moravian Music Festivals. As someone knowledgeable about the holdings of the Moravian Music Foundation he has organized concerts at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Historic Bethabara Park, and other venues. His international professional reputation has given him the “clout” needed to attract artists and scholars of the highest caliber to Moravian music and scholarship. He has consulted with performers around the nation and beyond to help them select and perform music from Moravian collections. His research for those performances has resulted in the accurate identification of previously-unknown works, and in the introduction of a wide variety of pieces to live audiences. Seven compact disc recordings issued through New World Records (and thus with international recognition and distribution) were made possible by the contacts he has made, introducing the music of the Moravians to performers across the country and beyond.
Serving on the Board of Trustees of the Moravian Music Foundation (MMF) from 1992 – 2000, he was instrumental in setting the vision for the Foundation that has carried it for over twenty years. He continues to provide invaluable assistance to the entire staff, both in Winston-Salem and in Bethlehem, in answering research inquiries, hosting visitors, and assisting researchers. After his retirement in 2002, he thought he was going to volunteer perhaps one morning a week; this quickly grew to at least three mornings a week and availability at other times as requested. The Moravian Music Foundation staff often refers to him as the “head” of the Foundation’s research division; he refers to himself rather as the “tail”. If that’s the case, then it’s no exaggeration to say that on occasion the tail does wag the dog – and very productively!
Not only does he do excellent research; he has presented the results of his research in a variety of venues, including the Moravian Archives/Moravian Music Foundation Lunch Lecture series (seven different lectures, with a breathtakingly wide range of topics); the Bethlehem Conferences on Moravian Music and History; and the New Winston Museum.
He continues to inspire performers, scholars, and the “ordinary” folks who are interested in the music and history of the Moravians, to work towards the highest standards of integrity, scholarship, and musical excellence, and he does all of this with grace, humor, gratitude, humility, and an unfailing twinkle in his lively blue eyes. It is a deep honor for me to present the Archie K. Davis Award to one who has been a mentor, a teacher, a colleague, and a dear friend, one who is not a member of the Moravian Church as such, but whom I gladly call – “Brother” – Philip Dunigan.