Dec. 27, 1929 —July 29, 2013
After a long battle with cancer, Tharald availed himself of the Washington State death with dignity laws when he died Monday, July 29, at home in Seattle, surrounded by his children, as was his wish.
Tharald was born on Dec. 27, 1929, in Porsgrunn, Norway, and was educated at the Oslo Conservatory, where he met his future wife, Dolores Salas, a pianist. As a young husband and father, among other occupations, Tharald sold pianos and played jazz on passenger liners until he and Dolores took their young son to Venezuela, where her father’s family lived.
It was in Caracas that someone suggested Tharald study in the United States, mentioning Yale University, where Tharald earned a Master of Music degree in piano in 1960. He also studied privately with Edward Steuermann at the Julliard School. After earning his master’s degree, Tharald took his wife and three children to Berkeley, where he completed the doctorate in musicology at the University of California — Berkeley.
Research for his thesis took the family to Italy for a year before returning in 1967 to settle in Corvallis, where Tharald began his distinguished tenure in the music department at Oregon State University. An advocate of period performance, Tharald presented many lecture-concerts on campus and was nationally active in early-music circles. He founded the OSU Baroque Ensemble and originated the popular Winter Music Festivals.
His book “The Performance of the Basso Continuo in Italian Baroque Music,” published in 1991, continues to influence musicians. Tharald served as chair of the music department from 1987 to 1993. Shortly after his retirement, Tharald and Dolores moved to Seattle, where she concertized and he continued his research.
Tharald was preceded in death by Dolores Salas Borgir, his wife of more than 50 years; and is survived by their children, Rune, his partner, Kim, and their daughter, Elena; Emil, his wife, Courtney, and their daughter, Alaya; Hilde and her husband, Craig; and Erik, his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Alba.