Obituary: Professor Emeritus Carl Zytowski's lasting impact on the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music

December 3, 2018
Dear Friends of the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music,
It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that Professor Emeritus Carl Zytowski passed away on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11, at the age of 97. Professor Zytowski was a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force from 1942-1945.
Professor Zytowski played a vital role in the development of the Department of Music at UC Santa Barbara. He joined the faculty of the Santa Barbara College of the University of California in 1951, when the campus was located on the Riviera. At the time, the Music Department faculty consisted of ten members, affording him the opportunity to teach both voice and composition. From 1966-1970, he served as Chair of the department, during which time he oversaw the construction of the Music buildings, including Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, at the new UC Santa Barbara campus by the Santa Barbara airport. He would later serve a second term as chair from 1991-1993, prior to retiring in 1995.
During his 44 years of teaching at UCSB, he made a lasting impact on the opera and choral programs. As Founder and Director of the UCSB Opera Theatre program, he led over 70 productions and coached hundreds of students, many of whom went on to have successful careers as performers, educators, and artistic administrators at such institutions as the Metropolitan Opera, Zurich Opera, Music Academy of the West, and the Boston University Opera Institute. He also founded and directed the Schubertians, a men’s choral group originally dedicated to performing the works of Schubert written for male vocal ensemble. Throughout the course of the group’s 31-year tenure at UCSB, more than 200 men participated in the performance of 355 works by 125 composers, in over 140 venues across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
A composer himself, his body of work includes operas, choral works, and works for chamber choir, many of which he composed or arranged for his beloved Schubertians. While at UCSB, he took on the project of arranging English-language versions of opera and song literature, particularly that of Franz Schubert. The UC Santa Barbara Opera Theatre program will honor Professor Carl Zytowski’s legacy by dedicating the February 2019 performances of the English adaptation of Franz Lehár’s Die Juxheirat (The Mock Marriage) to him.
In addition to his duties at UCSB, he taught on the faculties of the National School of Opera in London and the Music Academy of the West. He served as president of the Intercollegiate Men's Choruses and the National Opera Association, and as a member of the board of Opera for Youth. Among the awards and recognitions he received for his contributions to choral performance and education were the Plous Award from the UCSB College of Letters and Science (1959) and the Marshall Bartholomew Award from the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses (1990). He was also named an honorary member of the Schubert Society of Great Britain in 1979 for his work with the Schubertians.
UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang has noted, “Carl was a brilliant musician and a tremendously dedicated professor and mentor who contributed greatly to our Music Department and our campus over his 44 years on our faculty, including serving as department chair. He was also a generous and visionary philanthropist whose endowed fellowship for graduate students is a meaningful and enduring part of his multifaceted legacy.”
Professor Zytowski’s impact on the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music and the university community will be felt for generations to come. He will be remembered as an inspirational educator, scholar, and performer, and his caring and gentle spirit will be sorely missed.
Professor Scott Marcus
Chair, Department of Music
Carl Zytowski and Music Department students, faculty, and staff
Professor Emeritus Carl Zytowski (second from right) and friends at his 93rd birthday celebration.
Professor Emeritus Carl Zytowski and friends