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Powell, Ross W.

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July 21, 1939 - May 4, 2013

Powell, Ross W.

Ross Powell, clarinetist, was Co-Founder of Voices of Change and served as President and Director from 1975-1983. He was a member of the First New Music Panel at the National Endowment for the Arts and was a panelist and evaluator for the Texas Commission on Arts, as well as with the Office of Cultural Affairs with the city of Dallas.

Ross studied with Alberto Luconi, former principal clarinetist with the Toscanini at La Scala while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Woodwind Instruments at the University of Michigan.  Ross attended the Eastman School of Music, studying with D. Stanley Hasty and earned a Performer’s Certificate, Masters of Performance and Music Literature and completed course work for the Doctor of Music Degree.

As an orchestral performer, he served with the Toledo Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Opera Orchestra. He served as Director of Educational Services with the Dallas Symphony developing and administering grants which provided performances for youth involving the symphony, opera, ballet and theater in Dallas.

Ross joined the faculty of music at Southern Methodist University in 1966 as an Associate Professor of Clarinet and served as Head of the Orchestral Instruments Department from 1979 to 1995. He retired from SMU in 2005.

As a recording artist with Voices of Change, you could hear him on various CDs distributed by CRI, Crystal Redwood, Odyssey and New World labels.

In 1998, the Voices of Change were nominated for Small-Ensemble Performance by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. (The Grammy Award.)

Survivors are son, Evan Powell and his wife Karen and their son, Sam; son, Gavin Powell and his wife, Michele and their sons Landon and Elias.

A memorial service is scheduled for 9:30 A.M., Saturday, May 18, 2013 at First Unitarian Church of Dallas 4015 Normandy Ave, Dallas, Texas 75205.

If you would like to make a donation in Ross’s memory, please consider VOICES OF CHANGE 3630 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75219 or

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stewart kiritz

March 04, 2017 6:32PM

So sad to hear this. I just looked to find out who was the amazing clarinet soloist on John Rutter's album of choral and orchestral music. He was such a wonderful player. Now I both learn his name and learn that he has passed away. My condolences to all who knew him. And this performance will always remain with me.

Carl Huddleston

December 16, 2013 8:22PM

I was a student of Ross at SMU in the 70's. He was a wonderful teacher and musical mentor for me. He gave me a foundation in music on which I draw direction and inspiraion today. He was a wonderful man. I am saddened to know he is no longer with us to share his gifts.

Martin Gurvey

May 16, 2013 3:55PM

I knew Ross for over 50 years,both at Nat.Music Cmp.& Univ.of Mich.He was an exceptional clarinetist,and was always willing to help others. He will be sorely missed.

Jo Ellyn Carrell

May 13, 2013 4:33PM

"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." - Tagore
Ross inscribed this quotation on the flyleaf of a book he gave me many years ago, and it has sustained me often. Rest in peace, dear friend. You will be loved and missed always.

Camilla Bonzo

May 12, 2013 1:20PM

I'd known Ross from a very young age, but we became true friends a few years ago. He was kind and generous and supportive, and I loved staying at his home, which was very quiet and comfortable. He always had stories to tell - some hilarious, some moving, and some just downright amazing. I will miss his friendship, his home cooking, and all the conversations we didn't get around to having.

Jo Boagtright

May 11, 2013 8:47PM

Ross was my dear friend and colleague. He called me "co-founder" of Voices of Change but in reality it was Ross who initiated the ensemble. I stepped right in and together we spent many hours in the "trenches", as it were, keeping Voices of Change flourishing against, often, formidable odds. Ross, at his core, was a caring, thoughtful, kind person with a superb sense of humor. Music informed his every action. He treasured his family. I will say "good-bye" to Ross with music of George Crumb and Johannes Brahms next Saturday.

Jo Boatright

Claudia Dixon

May 09, 2013 3:32PM

Ross was a wonderful friend. One of the kindest and most good natured people I've known. We practiced yoga together in the "healing corner" he designated at the back of the room when both of us needed to heal. I'll miss him very much.