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A Tribute to Joseph Brown Henry

Joseph Brown Henry

William Marcus hosts a special tribute to Joseph Brown Henry, who died at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, on June 1.

Excerpts from Henry's obituary, written by Joe Nickell:

Joseph Henry thrived in Missoula, and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra thrived with him. Musicians began to receive pay for their services; the number of annual performances doubled; concerts were broadcast on Montana Public Radio; a Young Artist Competition was established; and in 1999, the position of Music Director became a full-time job, independent of UM.

Joseph’s influence extended across the state through affiliations with the Red Lodge Summer Festival and the Montana Summer Symphony in Helena. Recognizing Joseph’s contributions, Governor Brian Schweitzer awarded Joseph with the Montana Citizen’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011.

A musical tribute to Joseph Brown Henry, Part 2, broadcast June 16, 2014

Joseph did not shy from challenges. In 1993, for the 100th anniversary of the University of Montana, he mustered the musical forces necessary to perform Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, known as the “Symphony of a Thousand” for the massive forces necessary to perform it. Later, he tackled Benjamin Britten’s extraordinarily difficult “War Requiem,” Bela Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, and, for the MSO’s 50th anniversary, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Chérie Newman is a former arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. She founded and previously hosted a weekly literary program, The Write Question, which continues to air on several public radio stations; it is also available online at and
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