Memorial Garden Dedication

By Elizabeth Romero, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing
November 13, 2008

On October 17, 2008, a service was held to officially dedicate the Philip Brett Memorial Peace Garden, which is located next to the Arts Building.  Supported by gifts from generous donors and designed in the style of a traditional Japanese dry garden by landscape artist, Dr. Takeo Uesugi, this tranquil space honors the life of an extraordinary professor.

Professor Phillip Brett was the Chair of the Music Department at UC Riverside until 2000. He then became Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies for CHASS, where his knowledge and leadership contributed greatly to the building and opening of the Arts Building.

Throughout his distinguished career at UC Riverside, UC Berkeley and UCLA, Brett was a deeply respected musician, musicologist and teacher. In addition to working in the field of Renaissance musicology, he also studied the operas of twentieth-century composers, especially those of Benjamin Britten.  This work led him to inaugurate, almost single-handedly, gay studies in music.

The memorial dedication began indoors, where faculty, staff, students and friends gathered to share memories of Professor Brett.  Walter Clark, Chair of Music, Stephen Cullenberg, Dean of CHASS, and George Haggerty, Brett’s life partner and Professor of English, addressed the crowd of nearly 100 people. UCR’s chamber singers sang Optimam partem elegit, from Gradualia by William Byrd, one of Brett’s favorite musical compositions. The dedication then moved outdoors to the memorial garden where Tom Kurai, a Buddhist Monk, performed a blessing ceremony while the attendees stood in silence in honor of Dr. Brett.

After the blessing ceremony each attendee, beginning with George Haggerty, lightly dropped a rock into the dry garden, finalizing their last goodbyes.

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