Dewey Owens (May 3, 1925 – Oct. 3, 2006) was born in Hickory, NC, on May 3, 1925. As a child, his first music studies were on violin and piano. He began to play the organ in his teen years. Church music remained an important part of his musical expression throughout his life. Following his service in the US Army as a Chaplain’s Assistant during World War II, he returned to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music where he graduated as an organ major and also studied voice.
In his early adult years, he served as musical assistant to the American-born composer John Hauserman. This took him on numerous trips to Europe. One of these trips brought him the opportunity to perform as baritone soloist with the Mallorca Symphony in Spain, further broadening his musical involvement.
He had his first harp lessons with Anna Bukay Hannaford during his study at the Cincinnati Conservatory before his service in the army. Upon his return from Europe with John Hauserman, he set up his own residence in New York City. It was here that he met Carlos Salzedo in a social situation. Telling Salzedo of his interest in the harp, he was immediately referred to Lucile Lawrence for instruction followed by occasional coachings by Salzedo. He became and remained a very close associate of Salzedo’s. He was in daily contact with Miss Lawrence throughout the remainder of her life — a friendship of nearly fifty years. Under sponsorship of Boston University with a grant by Maie Lee Chen, he wrote the official biography “Carlos Salzedo: From Aeolian to Thunder” which was published by Lyon & Healy Harps.
Widely recognized for his large collection of compositons and teaching material, he taught harp at Vassar College and Dutchess Community College, both in Poughkeepsie, NY. He was a resident of Wappingers Falls, NY, for thirty years, living in an historic country house called “The Parsonage.” He died on Oct. 3, 2006, at the age of 81. —Ray Pool