About Willis Bodine

Welcome! Thanks for stopping in to learn more about Willis Bodine.

To learn more about the life of Willis Bodine, read the transcripts of oral histories created by former students and archived in the University of Florida Library Oral History Collection:
1987 interview by Janet Graham
1992 interview by H.G. Young

Willis Bodine, ca. 1959

    Professor of Music and University Organist & Carillonneur, University of Florida School of Music (1959–2003).

Degrees and Performance Certificate in Organ from The University of Texas at Austin (’57 and ’60; with John Boe, Janet McGaughey, Paul Pisk, Richard Hoppin, Kent Kennan, Clifton Williams, and as studio accompanist for Josephine Antoine).   Fulbright student in organ, harpsichord and chamber music (with Michael Schneider, Irmgard Lechner, Hans-Peter Schmitz) at Nordwestdeutsche Musikakademie, Lippe-Detmold, Germany (1957–59).

Professor Bodine’s former undergraduate and graduate students are now under concert management and hold major college and church positions throughout the world.  He has performed organ recitals in Berlin, Chicago, New York, and has conducted throughout the United States.  His research interests include organ design, room acoustics for performance, and music theory.  With significant grant support, he has undertaken several European trips to examine original musical sources from the 17th and 18th centuries..

In the Bach Tercentenary Year of 1985 he presented the complete Bach organ works in a series of sixteen recitals, including all of the then newly-discovered Neumeister Choräle.  He guided rebuilding and expansion of the University’s Skinner organ, Opus 501, by Æolian-Skinner, beginning in 1961.  He planned initial purchase of the UF Century Tower Carillon (1978-79), and then secured a major donation for completion to 61 bells by Eijsbouts with new action and practice facilities, as well as endowment for annual maintenance, and support for student carillon activities  (2003).

Since retirement in 2003 from the University of Florida, he has continued his composition, research and performance activities with many premieres of new choral and organ works, research into number theory in Western music, specialized performance of continuo realizations, and technical presentations  for professional organizations on various topics.

In 2013 he made a major discovery that links abstract pure number theory with the human creative process in Western music.  This material is now being readied for a group of presentations surrounding March 21, 2016 – the 331st birthday of J. S. Bach – as well as for eventual publication.

Published and commissioned compositions for choirs include “Sixth Communion Service” in The Hymnal 1940  Supplements of 1961 and 1975.. Commemorative carillon compositions for major UF events include Fanfares in Memory and Hope (a 3½ hour composition for the first anniversary of 9/11), and Ring of Bronze (for solo carillon and two antiphonal brass ensembles).

Founding Director of UF Chamber Singers, with national and regional tours, cultural grants, television and radio broadcasts, recordings and Christmas madrigal dinners.

Detmold, Germany, in 1958 -- Irmgard Lechner and Willis Bodine
Detmold, Germany, in 1958 — Irmgard Lechner with Willis Bodine

Continuo harpsichordist for The Florida Baroque Ensemble during twenty-five seasons, with national tours, performance grants, television and recordings.

Served Episcopal and Presbyterian churches in Texas and Florida as Director of Music and Organist. Director of Music and Organist for St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Sanibel Island, Florida (2005-08), with redevelopment of parish music facilities and program, many compositions for small choirs and for congregation, and community outreach.

Faculty of Montreat and Westminster Conferences on Worship and Music (1985 through 1994), as accompanist for Donald Neuen, Paul Salamunovich, William Mathias, Anton Armstrong, John Yarrington and Sir David Willcocks.

Founder and Musical Director of The Willis Bodine Chorale, with major concerts with orchestra, radio and television broadcasts, guest symphony appearances, regional tours and performance grants (1986-2004).

Distinguished Faculty Award from Florida Blue Key, UF Homecoming 2002.

A native of Austin, Texas, Willis is married to the musician and writer/editor Anna Hartung Bodine of San Antonio, Texas. They have two children – Elizabeth Hager of Atlanta, Georgia, and Catherine Bodine of Hillsborough, North Carolina, two grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Together they enjoy genealogy, travel, reading, and family activities..

View complete CV (2015)

View list of choral compositions

View list of carillon compositions and arrangements