Willard A. Palmer, Co Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

Willard A. Palmer

Co-Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

A world renowned musician, scholar and music teacher, Dr. Willard Palmer wrote 789 published works, including an accordion method, several piano methods, a method for Hammond Chord Organ, a guitar method, hundreds of solo pieces and many choral works, many of which have been translated into German, Japanese, French, Dutch, and Spanish. He was also the choir director of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas for many years.

Dr. Palmer was a child prodigy; he played the piano on the radio at age 13 and studied piano and accordion, which were to form the basis of his musical endeavors. He was a piano student of Mae Vardeman, who encouraged and nurtured his ability to improvise by teaching him the fundamentals of correct piano technique. During his college years at Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi and Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, he continued to play the accordion and piano on radio shows and in various ensembles on and off campus. After receiving his Bachelor's degree from Millsaps, he studied at the Conservatory of Leipzig, Germany, on a two-year scholarship. He did post-graduate work at the University of Houston and joined their music faculty, teaching the first successful college courses in accordion for 18 years.

A meticulous scholar, Dr. Palmer's later years were dedicated to research in Classical and Baroque music and teaching methods. Recognized worldwide as an authority on Baroque music ornamentation, his work in this field was the basis of the highly acclaimed Alfred Masterworks series of publications. In recognition of his achievements in the field of musicological research, he was awarded a Doctor of Humanities degree in 1971 and a Doctor of Music degree in 1983. A director of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, Dr. Palmer was a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local #65, the American Accordionists' Association and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He is also a co-author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library with Morton Manus and Amanda Vick Lethco.

Dr. Palmer, who passed away on April 30, 1996, was beloved by many in the music field. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ruby Lenoire Touchstone Palmer, and three children, Willard, Judith (Howard) and Thomas.

Morty Manus, Co-Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

Morty Manus

Co-Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

Morty Manus was president of Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc. Founded in New York in 1922 by composer and musician Alfred Piantodosi, Alfred Publishing was purchased by Morty's father Sam Manus in 1928. A classical violinist, Sam decided to change the company's focus from pop sheet music to educational print music and added many solos for accordion and wind instruments. When Morty joined the company in 1952, he had recently received a business degree from City College of New York. Soon after, Sam retired and Morty became president.

A clarinetist and pianist who received extensive musical training in his youth, Morty felt inspired by the need for quality music education products. Drawing upon his musical experience, he oversaw the development of an instructional series for accordion, followed by books for guitar and piano.

Morty was the author and editor of numerous titles in Alfred's catalog, including many books in Alfred's Basic Piano Library. As the company expanded, Alfred outgrew its New York headquarters in 1975 and moved its offices to Los Angeles and its warehouse to upstate New York. Eventually, instructional materials were expanded into all areas of music, and on June 1, 2005, Alfred Music Publishing acquired Warner Bros. Publications from the Warner Music Group. Today, Alfred's roster of music editors includes such noted composers as Sally K. Albrecht, Gayle Kowalchyk, E. L. Lancaster, John O'Reilly, Anna Laura Page and Andy Albritton, among many other talented editors. Alfred's catalog consists of more than 45,000 active titles, making Alfred the world's largest educational music publisher.

Although Alfred now employs 290 people worldwide, it remains a family business. Morty met his wife Iris when she was working for Alfred on Saturdays. Iris has worked on a full-time basis for Alfred since the late 1960s, and maintains the position of Executive Producer. In the 1980s, two of the couple's sons, Steven and Ron, joined Alfred. Ron is currently Chief Executive Officer. With the support and vision of his family, Morty led Alfred into the 21st century by continuing to expand into new technologies while adapting to market changes and keeping its company-wide commitment to service and music education.

Amanda Vick Lethco, Co-Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

Amanda Vick Lethco

Co-Author of Alfred's Basic Piano Library

Dr. Amanda Vick Lethco co-authored the world-renowned piano method, Alfred's Basic Piano Library, with Dr. Willard Palmer and Morton Manus. Dr. Lethco studied at Juilliard with James Friskin, at Chicago Musical College with Rudolph Ganz, at Columbia University with Douglas Moore and in Houston with Ruth Barr. She was Professor Emeritus of Piano Pedagogy at the University of Texas at Austin.

From Northwestern University Dr. Lethco held a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She also held an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Whitworth College in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

In addition to workshops on numerous college and university campuses, Dr. Lethco played recitals throughout the United States. She was a clinician at many conventions throughout the United States and conducted workshops in Europe, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Dr. Lethco taught privately in New York City, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. With Dr. Willard Palmer, she co-authored Creating Music at the Piano. Dr. Lethco was listed in the International Who's Who of Musicians and in the World Who's Who of Women.