Richard Edward Toensing (1940-2014) was an esteemed composer, a respected teacher, and an extraordinary choral conductor. Explore this site in honor of his music and continuing legacy.

In Memoriam

  • New Music Box (a publication from New Music USA)
    Richard Toensing (1940-2014)—“The Oak Doesn’t Grow as Fast as the Squash”
    By Kristin Kuster (composer and former student), August 5, 2014
    “Dick Toensing gave us some of the most gorgeous music on this earth. Equally important, the distinguishedness of the sheer volume of wisdom he imparted to his students is immeasurable. He was an ever-optimist, an ever-realist, and never a downer. Yes, he could see through the bull-hooey quicker than most and didn’t hesitate to politely call it out. His career was like the slow-growing oak, and as an artist, teacher, and human he expressed himself clearly, gently, with respect and compassion.”
  • Colorado Public Radio – Remembering Colorado composer Richard Toensing, 1940-2014
    : Composer Richard Toensing on hearing his own music performed
  • A Tribute to Richard Toensing
    By Steven Bruns, associate professor of music and currently Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music
    “Richard Toensing indeed made a serious contribution, in his music and in his life. The stars he created for us all in his music will continue to burn brightly in the sky, and so we remain, forever enriched.”
  • Remembering Richard Toensing
    By Greg Simon, composer and former student
    “Listening to a Toensing piece might be akin to watching the embers after a fire: a gentle sense of warmth pervades everything, but it’s never stagnant — the glow flickers and dances in languid, unpredictable ways. A perfect starting point is his Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ for a cappella choir, a ‘choral concerto’ born from Dick’s Orthodox Christian faith.”
  • A few words from a former student
    By Michael D. Fiday, Composition Department Chair; Associate Professor of Composition, University of Cincinnati
    “It is easy to assume that this particular combination of high standards, devotion, encouragement, inspiration, artistry, and above all humanity are common. They are not. These are in fact a rare, rare combination of traits, and Richard Toensing was a very rare and special kind of human being. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be taught by him, to play his music, make music with him and otherwise know him received a very unique gift. It’s a gift I will carry with me the rest of my life, and which I now try my best to impart to my own students.”

Faculty Tuesday: The Music of Richard Toensing
Tuesday March 31, 2015, 7:30 PM
Grusin Hall, CU College of Music, Boulder

Denver church gives posthumous premiere of Richard Toensing piece
Colorado Public Radio, 8/13/14