Dr. Jan Holly

Dr. Jan Holly, who spent a lifetime sharing her passion for classical music and her limitless knowledge of the topic to thousands of college students, died on March 4, 2020, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was 72.

Professor Emerita Holly was awarded a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Maryland and taught graduate courses there in music research and scholarly writing. She also held a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Arts in piano performance from Ball State University, in Indiana.

She was a full professor of music and continuously served for 30 years as music program manager at Frederick Community College (FCC) in Frederick, Maryland, where she was responsible for building the curriculum and staff from nearly nothing to a thriving program when she retired in 2014. She served as department chair for Communications, Humanities and Arts at FCC from 2006-2010.

A recognized leader in higher education in the arts, she was appointed in 2011-12 to a Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Team that evaluated the State University of New York, Potsdam, and the Crane School of Music.

A student of the Golandsky/Taubman piano technique in the Philadelphia studio of concert pianist and pedagogue Robert Durso, she was admitted in 2008 to the Golandsky Institute’s Piano Teacher Participation Program. A practice assistant at the Golandsky International Symposium, held each summer at Princeton University, she was invited to serve as examiner for a Ph.D. dissertation on  the Taubman Technique. Dr. Holly maintained a private piano studio specializing in the training of beginning, intermediate, and early advanced adult students.

After retiring to Sanibel, she continued to teach online courses in music history/appreciation, world music, and American popular music. She was an organist for St. Michael and All Angels Church on Sanibel, where she also sang in the choir. She carved out a second career as a writer for local publications, and as a public relations consultant. She was a member of the board of directors of the Committee of the Islands and served on the BIG ARTS Classical Music and Classical Music Scholarship committees.

She was an avid bicyclist and tennis player, and she loved to take long walks on the Sanibel beaches.

Dr. Holly was preceded in death by her father, John Weaver Holly; and her mother, Mary Holmes Holly. She is survived by her sisters, Judith Workman (Dick) and Susan Holly (Mark Twombly); her niece, Jennifer Lessinger (Ozzie); her nephews, Michael Workman (Beth) and James Twombly Holly; her great-nephews, Sam and Gus Lessinger; and great-niece, Sadie Lessinger.

A Celebration of Life has been postponed and will be rescheduled when possible.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CROW and PAWS.

Comments (5)

  1. A remarkable life cut short. She will be much missed in MD and Florida

  2. I am deeply saddened by Jan’s passing, I will miss her wonderful concerts and organ playing at St. Michael’s as well as her talks about music culture. But most of all, I will miss her sincere friendship and giving personality. I am sure our lord has welcomed and embraced her.

  3. Jan was a remarkable person. She was a devoted supporter of The Taubman Approach and a well respected assistant at the Golandsky Institute. Personally, she supported my work in a profound way by organizing seminars on the Taubman Work for over ten years at Frederick College. She changed the lives of many people and I am eternally grateful to have known and worked together with her for many years. I will miss her very much.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m glad she was able to enjoy her retirement in such a beautiful place as Sanibel Island. Jan was the accompanist for Frederick Choral Arts Society and the Frederick Children’s Chorus through the 1980’s.


    Jan was an inspirational teacher, and a kind, caring, supportive friend. She and I shared a friendship for nearly 25 years, and I am grateful for her strong influence upon my life. She is truly missed. Thank you, Jan.

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