Molzer, founder of conservatory, dies at age 83

Felix Molzer Felix Molzer RED BANK — Felix Molzer, 83, founder and director emeritus of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music, died on July 30, at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, and lived in Little Silver for 39 years prior to moving to Middletown 3 1/2 years ago.

A graduate of Vienna Music Academy with a master of science degree in music education from the University of Pennsylvania, Molzer conducted the Vienna Choir Boys’ first tour after World War II consisting of 100 concerts. He was awarded the Johann Strauss Medal of the city of Vienna and the title of professor by the state of Austria.

Molzer founded the not-for-profit Monmouth Conservatory of Music in 1964 to provide young people with the kind of high-quality music education and performance opportunities he had enjoyed as a child.

After retiring as director in 1992, he continued to conduct the conservatory’s children’s, youth and adult choruses and teach vocal development, pianism, theory and harmony and composition.

Molzer published more than 1,000 arrangements and compositions, primarily for use in schools. He also composed three folk operas and three vocal orchestral scores for children’s choir, which were performed by the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra. He co-founded the Composers Guild of New Jersey and was a charter member of the Monmouth County Arts Council Board of Trustees.

He taught at Monmouth College from 1955 to 1960 and 1992 to 1996 and was a faculty member of Hope College’s Vienna Summer School since 1960.

Molzer also organized and conducted 50 operas and operettas with amateur groups, conducted various community choirs and served as minister of music at the Church of the Holy Communion, Christ Church United Methodist and the Church of the Nativity, all in Fair Haven.

He was predeceased by his parents, Josef and Anna Haeni Molzer, and his brother Hermann Molzer, all of Vienna.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Jeannette Ballantine Molzer; a son and daughter-in-law Philipp and Jaeng Molzer, of West Orange; a stepdaughter and her husband, Sydney and Darnay Hoffman, of New York; a stepson and his wife, Craig and Nina Barrows, of Salem, Md.; a sister, Grett Planyavsky, of Vienna; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Interment was private. Arrangements were under the direction of the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank.

Mrs. Molzer has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Monmouth Conservatory Felix Molzer Scholarship Fund, 200 Broad St., Red Bank, NJ 07701.

— Kathy Hall