Peter Frenzel, Marcus L. Taft Emeritus Professor of German Studies, died on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at the age of 82.
Frenzel came to Wesleyan in 1966 after earning his BA from Yale, his master’s from Middlebury, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. He retired in 2003. During his 37 years at Wesleyan, Frenzel served on virtually every major committee, including advisory and educational policy, and he held a number of administrative roles, including associate provost , the Dean of Arts and Humanities, the Chair of German Studies. , director of the Wesleyan program in Germany, and as launch marshal. Upon retirement, Frenzel served on the advisory board of the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty and served as editor of the center’s newsletter. He was a carillonneur who oversaw the Wesleyan carillon bells and played glockenspiel with the cheer band during football games.
Frenzel was one of the leading experts in the Minnesang German tradition of lyric and songwriting, with particular expertise in early forms of medieval German literature and the connection between poetry and music. His scholarship on medieval music and literature as well as 19th century German music and culture has contributed much to our knowledge of the Middle Ages.
His colleague Herb Arnold said: “Peter also loved music in its more modern expression, often sitting at his piano for an impromptu riff or chasing Wagner’s perfect ring around the world, visiting what seems like every place from New York to Sydney. .”
Frenzel is survived by his wife, Laurie Neville Frenzel; grandchildren John Frenzel and Rita Frenzel; his daughter Kim Frenzel and partner John Lucey; and his older brother, Robert. A memorial gathering will be held at Wadsworth Mansion from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, 2018. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, PO Box 97372, Washington, DC 20090-7372, or to the Susan and William Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, c/o Jessie Steele, 51 Lawn Avenue, Middletown, CT 06457.