Three professional musicians led prestigious careers for decades in Europe as opera singers, composers and teachers before moving the United Sates under life-threatening circumstances in WWII. One was a neighbor to  Brahms, one worked with Mahler, and another was a singing porter on the London railway for 15 years. After escaping the Gestapo and coming the the United States, all three continued their productive music careers, and all three were among the first recipients of degrees in music therapy. They lived in different parts of the United States and pioneered music therapy practice with a variety of client populations. You won’t want to miss this riveting AMTA-Pro podcast where our MT-BC colleague Dr. Ted Ficken tells of their multi-faceted careers in composition, performance, teaching, writing, and music therapy, and about the impact of their work on the lives of many in the early 20th century. 

Fascinating MT Pioneers

AMTA-Pro Podcast February, 2019

Ted Ficken, Ph.D., CPHQ, MT-BC/L

This presentation will tell the stories of three little-known music therapy pioneers: Felice Wolmut (born 1897), Arthur Perrow (born 1901), and Vally Weigl (born 1894). Two of these pioneers worked primarily on the west coast, and one worked on the east coast. All three were immigrants, had prominent spouses, survived World War I and World War II abroad, demonstrated high levels of musical skills, became credentialed music therapists late in their lives, were active advocates for music therapy, and pioneered music therapy practices with a variety of client populations. All of them composed original music, and all three of them were active music performers. One was also an inventor who holds the patent on a keyboard adapted for special clients. Inspiration comes from the hardships they overcame and their use of music and music therapy to help others. As immigrants, all three maintained relationships in Europe and helped connect American music therapy to practices in foreign countries. In addition to being strong advocates for music therapy, they were also politically active.

Felice Wolmut b. 1897

Arthur Perrow b.1901

Vally Weigl b. 1894

Selected Methods and Information Sources Used for This Historical Research  

Felice Wolmut

Newspapers

            Newspapers.com (searchable web database)

            Newsbank.com (searchable web database used by The Oregonian newspaper)

            39 newspaper articles found (some sent by archivists)

College and School Archives

            Curtis Institute of Music (Katrina Wilson)

            Mannes Music School (Jenny Swadosh)

            Shipley School (Trina Vaux, Michael Joy)

            Baldwin School (Lisa Lopez-Carickhoff)

            Mount Mary College (Daniel P. Schlozen)

            Cardinal Stritch College (Margaret Ruddy)

            University of Portland (Fr.Schneibel)

            University of Oregon

Descendants

            Jonathan Wolmut (grandson)

Sister of Providence (Health Care System) Archives (Peter Schmid)

            (provided photos and articles)

NAMT/AAMT

            Jane Creagan at national office (verification of RMT dates and numbers)

            Bill Davis at AMTA Archives, Colorado State (WRAMTA Sounding Board articles)

            Journal of Music Therapy (appearance in membership records)

National Association of Teachers of Singing (Allen Henderson)

            (provided dates and info; requested copies of what I had collected)

Internet

            Wikipedia (biographical information of husband)

            Facebook (locating descendants)

            Geni.com (family trees)

            Ancestry.com (ship manifests, family trees, citizenship, social security records)

Other researchers

            Dr. Primavera Gruber, Vienna (numerous documents from Vienna; book)

            Philipp Wagner, Theater an der Wien, Vienna

            Dr. Loren Helmchen, George Washington University (German translations)

Former students (Mary Sauter, Caroline Mullins)

Arthur Perrow

Newspapers

            Newspapers.com (searchable web database)

            Newsbank.com (searchable web database used by The Oregonian newspaper)

            242 newspaper articles found (some sent by archivists)

College and School Archives

            Royal Academy of Music, London (Kathryn Adamson)

            Reed College (Laura Bucholz, Isabel Lyndon, Chris Lydgate)

            Marylhurst University (Sister Carole Strawn)

            Lewis and Clark College (E. J. Carter)

            University of Washington (Daniel Levy)

            Willamette University (newspaper article)

            University of Portland (Fr. Schneibel)

Descendants

            Philip Woodrow, Wales (grand nephew; family documents and photos, recordings)

NAMT/AAMT

            Jane Creagan at national office (verification of RMT dates and numbers)

            Journal of Music Therapy (appearance in membership records)

Internet

            Facebook (locating descendants)

            Geni.com (family trees)

            Ancestry.com (ship manifests, family trees, citizenship, social security death records)

            Google images (historic photos)

Oregon Historical Society (Matthew Cowan, Scott Daniels)

Oregon Music Teachers’ Association (Kathy Galt)

Book 

            “A Selection from the Poems of Arthur B. Perrow For the Pleasure of His Friends” 

Vally Weigl

Newspapers

            Newspapers.com (searchable web database)

            Newsbank.com (searchable web database used by The Oregonian newspaper)

            22 newspaper articles found (some sent by archivists)

Karl Weigl Foundation (web site, emails, personal visit)

            Photos, documents, published works, unpublished works

Other researchers

            Dr. Primavera Gruber, Vienna (numerous documents from Vienna)

            Dr. Loren Helmchen, George Washington University (German translations)

Descendants

            Karl Weigl (grandson)

NAMT/AAMT

            Jane Creagan at national office (verification of RMT dates and numbers)

            Alan Solomon, (book chapter and emails)

            Journal of Music Therapy (appearance in membership records)

Internet

            Geni.com (family trees)

            Ancestry.com (ship manifests, family trees, citizenship, social security death records)

            Google images (historic photos)

            American Composers Alliance

Books

            “Music therapy in exile using the example of Vally Weigl” Edited by Elena Fitzthum and

            Primavera Gruber (article by Alan Solomon)

            “Songs for A Child” by Vally Weigl

            “Music in Therapy” Edited by E. Thayer Gaston (3 references to Vally Weigl)

            CD – Miriam’s Song: Music by Jewish Women Composers. Zuk Records, 332 (Germany)

                        (“Old Time Burlesque” – 1937)

About the Speaker

Ted Ficken, Ph.D., CPHQ, MT-BC/L has been a credentialed music therapist since 1974. He completed his bachelors and masters degrees in music therapy at the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Public Health (with a major in healthcare administration) at Oregon State University. Between volunteer work, internship, and employment Ted has worked at nine different facilities in five states: California, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and Arizona. His experience has been in psychiatric and substance abuse settings, both private and public. His longest place of employment was 25 years at Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon. 

An active member of NAMT and AMTA, Ted has served as the Vice President of the Great Lakes Region, and President of the Western Region. He was a member of the original Certification Board for Music Therapists. He has served on the Assembly of Delegates, the Student Affairs Committee, the National Registration Committee, the Judicial Review Board, and the Music Therapy Perspectiveseditorial board. He has published articles and book reviews in music therapy journals, presented at numerous conferences, and contributed a chapter to the book Music Therapy and Addictions.

Ted has taught at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire (one summer school class), Oregon State University (strategic planning in healthcare organizations), and Marylhurst University (psychology of music). 

In addition to his music therapy career, Ted is also a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ, since 1988). He has been a board member of the Oregon Association for Healthcare Quality, and is currently a faculty member at George Washington University in Washington, DC, teaching an online class, “Quality and Performance Improvement in Healthcare,” for a masters degree program in healthcare administration.

Ted lives in Salem, Oregon. He is married to Candi, a retired pediatric Occupational Therapist. They have two children and three grandchildren, who all live in Virginia, near Washington, DC.