A constant presence on doctoral research committees during her time on faculty at West Virginia University School of Music, Mary Ferer has funded an endowment within the school’s doctoral programs.
The Mary Tiffany Ferer Endowment for Research in Music will be awarded each year to a DMA student who demonstrates outstanding research and writing.
Giving back to WVU in this capacity made the most sense to Ferer, who served on countless committees for DMA candidates.
“I wanted to help recognize our students for outstanding performance,” Ferer said, noting that doctoral student work has a major impact on the university’s reputation. “DMA papers are available to the world, so it’s important that they are done well and reflect well on WVU.”
Ferer began teaching at WVU as an adjunct professor in 1986 after receiving her Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Illinois. She received her M.Mus. in performance at the University of Colorado and BA in music from Carleton College.
In 1999, Ferer received a tenure-track position in the School of Music and began teaching music history at all levels.
“I enjoyed teaching at all levels because I often had students throughout their collegiate careers,” Ferer said. “It was nice to watch them mature and grow over time.”
Ferer conducted research of her own, with special interests in the liturgical and cultural contexts of music, sacred repertories of the sixteenth century and the music of J. S. Bach. She published five volumes in modern edition of motets by sixteenth-century composer Thomas Crecquillon for the American Institute of Musicology.
Ferer's book, Music and Ceremony at the Court of Charles V: The Capilla Flamenca and the Art of Political Promotion, was published by Boydell & Brewer in March 2012. Ferer’s research has been presented at conferences in the United States and the Netherlands and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the West Virginia Humanities Council. She retired in 2014.
“Mary was a remarkable mentor to so many during her career at WVU,” said Travis Stimeling, associate professor of musicology. Stimeling approached Ferer about naming the award in her honor, which she then decided to fund.
“Doctoral students, in particular, sought her out not only for her broad knowledge and constant curiosity about music history, but also the care with which she helped students find their own writing voices,” Stimeling said. “This award is intended to honor Mary’s consistent devotion to mentoring graduate research, which is an essential, but often uncelebrated, part of the work we do here.”