Remembering Victor Norman

“I dare say that music is my native language. I was born with it, and it will remain with me to the very end. My happiest moments came when I would sit down to study a score. My concentration was complete, all other thoughts would fade away, it was a truly spiritual experience… My sixty some years of conducting have been a journey of learning and discovery… It was not until my last concert on the occasion of my 90th birthday that I could say to myself: ‘Yes, I am a good conductor.’ ”

So begins Victor Norman: A Life in Music, A Lifetime of Learning, the autobiography of my father, the Norwegian immigrant who created the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. As a conductor, composer, and educator, he was the moving force in classical music in Eastern Connecticut for nearly half a century. His concerts and recitals are some of the sweetest memories of my childhood.

Dad was born in Oslo in 1905 and passed away here in New Jersey in 2001. He lived with us for the last five years of his life, and during that time I had the great pleasure of helping him write his memoirs, the tale of a long, active, dedicated life that weathered the enormous changes of the twentieth century. If you'd like to read more about him in his own words, Victor Norman: A Life in Music, A Lifetime of Learning is available directly from us. Simply download and print the order form (requires Acrobat Reader) or contact me with any questions.

To read a Jan. 23, 2000, Princeton Packet interview with Victor Norman, click here. Please note that the Web ordering information at the end of the article is out of date; order as outlined above. The following images and comments have been provided by Bayberry Design, the book's publisher.

— Bob Norman

A Glimpse into the Book:

The images that follow are samples taken from Victor's autobiography. The cover photo depicts Maestro Norman conducting the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra on his 90th birthday. The back cover photo is from the same concert. The photo on the front cover shows him doing what he loved best: conducting and performing live music. The back cover seems to show Maestro Norman acknowledging you, the reader, as part of his audience as well! The cover photo is courtesy of The Day Publishing Co., New London, Connecticut and is used with permission.

VN Book Cover

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This second sample includes an early photo of Victor Norman in the Norwegian mountains with his brother Sven. This book features many photos and stories about music and life in general. Maestro Norman studied with many of the greats, including Fritz Busch, Nicolai Malko, and Charles Munch.

VN with Sven

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This photo shows Maestro Norman conducting yet another musical organization that he founded: The National Senior Symphony. He also co-founded the William Billings Institute of American Music. This man worked tirelessly to promote music right up to the end.

VN with National Symphony
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