Gayle H. Barrington
October 15, 1937–March 16, 2013
Gayle H. Barrington, of Austin, Texas, passed away on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Gayle was a resident of Westlake for 35 years, and later moved to the Colonial Gardens Assisted Living Community, which provided a caring and comfortable home for her.
Born Greta Gayle Horn in McKinney, Texas, October 15, 1937, she demonstrated early musical talent and began studying piano at age 5, and by age 9 she took up the harp, which would become her passion and livelihood. She performed at many local events, including her family’s general store, Horn and White Auto Supply, in McKinney. By high school, she had begun formal harp training and spent three summers in Cleveland Ohio studying with Alice Chalifoux, principal harpist with the Cleveland Orchestra, and later spent one summer at the famed Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan.
After a short time working towards her BMA at Baylor University, she began her studies in the fall of 1957 with renowned composer and stylist of the harp, Carlos Salzedo, at the Summer Harp Colony of the World, in Camden, Maine. He encouraged her to go on contract as a member of the Angelaires Harp Quintet, with which she toured for a year. The Angelaires exhibited glamorous showmanship and exceptional technical ability, and were devoted to educating and entertaining the public with Salzedo’s harp compositions and unique style. The tour was highlighted by an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
By 1961, she received her BMA at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and she played in several orchestras in Cleveland, including the Cleveland Philharmonic, and later with the Florida Symphony in Orlando. In 1965 she accepted a teaching position at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as the principal harp position with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. There she met the new principal horn player, and fellow music professor at U.T., Wayne Barrington. They soon married and began an instant family, as Wayne had been recently widowed with three daughters, to which they added a son and daughter.
Gayle played in the Austin Symphony until 1982, and taught harp at the U.T. Austin until 2001. She created and built an impressive program for studying the harp and the Salzedo technique at the University of Texas, and assembled the U.T. Harp Ensemble, bringing many of the best and the brightest harpists to Austin. In 1985, she organized an unprecedented concert commemorating what would have been Carlos Salzedo’s 100th birthday. The Salzedo Centennial Concert was held at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, and boasted 72 harpists from around the world in what would be the largest collection of harps playing in unison to date.
Gayle Barrington was both brilliant and beautiful, and had a wry sense of humor. She was an incredible hostess for many symphony member and college student parties that were always fun, and full of laughter and culinary delights, at which she also excelled. Gayle was a consummate performer, a demanding teacher, and was a Mom to many who knew her and studied with her.
Gayle was preceded in death by her husband Wayne, her parents Clyde and Merrett Horn, her brother C. Dennis Horn, and stepdaughter Kathryn Barrington. She is survived by her daughter Beverly Barrington Bovbjerg and her husband Blair; her son Alan Barrington, his wife Lynda, and their son Kendrick; her stepdaughter Margaret Litten, her husband Mark, and their daughters Marisa and Melanie; her stepdaughter Elisabeth Zakes, her husband Chris, and their children Rosalind (Zakes) Bradshaw, Robert, and Briony; and by one step-great-granddaughter, Artemis Bradshaw.