Thomas Joseph Pniewski (1944-2017)


Tom died on September 7, 2017, in New York City, his home of many years.

Born in Baltimore, Tom prepared for Princeton at Calvert Hall College in Towson, Md., where he edited the yearbook and was a member of the debating and rifle teams and the dramatics club.

Tom joined Terrace Club, majored in romance languages, and wrote his senior thesis on the comedies of Moliere. He studied organ with Carl Weinrich and sang with the chapel choir and Princeton Pro Musica.

After graduation Tom studied at the College of Wooster, in Ohio, before enrolling as a musicology graduate student in Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where he served as a teaching fellow.

Tom dedicated his life to music and music education, focusing primarily on the piano, organ, and harpsichord. He served as a Princeton-in- Asia tutor in the music department of Hong Kong’s Chung Chi College and as a teaching assistant at Hunter College in New York City. He was for many years director of cultural affairs for the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City.

The Class mourns the loss of a friend and a true champion of the arts.


The top photos are from the Freshman Herald and Nassau Herald. The photos below show: 1) Tom debating at Calvert Hall College HS in Baltimore, and 2) at the The Kosciuszko Foundation where Tom served as Director of Cultural Affairs.



Some Notes on Tom's Life

Joel Primack writes, :I’m sad to learn of Tom Pniewski’s passing.  He and I shared a bedroom in Brown Hall during our freshman year, and we became good friends.  I think Steve Spielberg and Chris Conly shared the other bedroom. I loved to hear Tom practice playing the fine organ in the Chapel — especially when he played pieces by J. S. Bach."

Tom served for many years as Director of Cultural Affairs for the The Kosciuszko Foundationand this 1995 New York Times article quotes Tom at a Chopin Birthday Concert sponsored by the foundation.

Tom did his graduate work at Cornell. The records of the Delta Chi Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Cornell University indicate that he was initiated on 5 April 1970. He served as the Deke Residential Academic Advisor at that time, and he was closely associated with the Prudence Risley Residential College for the Creative and Performing Arts (established 1970).

Tom was Princeton-in-Asia tutor in the music department of Hong Kong's Chung Chi College. At the time, the college reported:

"Mr. Thomas J. Pniewski graduated from Princeton University, studying French literature and completing a thesis on three middle comedies of Moliere. During that period he studied organ with Carl Weinrich, continuing his studies after graduation at the College of Wooster, Ohio. He went to Cornell University in the fall of 1967, beginning graduate studies in musicology.

Mr. Pniewski was a Teaching Fellow at Cornell from 1968 to 1969, and is presently Princeton-in-Asia Tutor in the Music Department of Chung Chi College.

With these new appointments, it is possible for the Department to strengthen its programme at the Department of Extramural Studies, to arrange talks by visiting musicians at the Department and to make the concerts of the Chung Chi Chamber Ensemble more impressive and successful."