Henry Tate, a professor in the Liberal Arts Department, recently passed away. The following letter to the Berklee community was written by Jay Kennedy, vice president for academic affairs/provost.
Dear Berklee community,
It is with much sadness that I write to tell you that Henry Tate, professor and long-time Berklee faculty member in the Liberal Arts Department, has passed away. We are not sure when he died, only that his neighbors found him yesterday.
Henry was a Berklee legend, a great teacher, and an inspiration to many students particularly around the subject of art. He began teaching at Berklee in 1985 and retired last year. Simone Pilon, chair of the Liberal Arts Department, writes, “He was an exceptional teacher, a compelling storyteller, and one of the kindest, gentlest people I have had the pleasure to know. He touched countless students and colleagues during his time at Berklee. He will be greatly missed.”
Henry’s website contains the following quote: “My job, I tell my students, is to be their guide, to help them articulate what they already know. For me, that’s what the process of education is—it’s the act of leading out. So I tell my students to think about a symphony. There is going to be an introduction, or an ‘entry’ in painterly terms. The leitmotif in a musical composition is a ‘directional’ in a painting. And then we have major movements, which carry the viewer’s eye around the composition and lead us to a finale, which we call an ‘exit.’ When showing my students the importance of color and why we have to be careful about color, I’ll say, for example, ‘Red is almost a D major. You put that in the wrong place, and your composition will fall apart.’
“Since I’m also a painter, I’ll say to the students, the only difference between what you do when you’re composing a tune and what I do when I’m creating a painting is the tools that we use. We come from the same creative background. Whether someone is writing a poem or composing the symphony or painting a fresco or sculpting a work of art, the difference is the tools that we use. And then I quote Robert Frost, who tells us, ‘It’s knowing what to do with things that counts.'”
Henry earned a bachelor of arts degree from Villanova University, a second bachelor of arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master of arts degree and Ph.D. from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He held curatorial positions in the education departments of the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, the Worcester Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Additionally, he was an educational consultant and lecturer at Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, and the James Joyce Society in New York and Dublin.
We have no information on funeral services at this time. Information will be sent if we receive it.
Vice President for Academic Affairs/Vice Provost
Berklee College of Music