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Maud Powell Tribute Week

Tribute to Maud Powell

During the week of March 28 through April 4 the Elgin Symphony Orchestra is dedicating its programs to the memory of Maud Powell, America’s first great master of the violin, in anticipation of the 2017 sesquicentennial celebration of her birth in Peru, Illinois, in 1867.  It was in Elgin’s neighboring town of Aurora, nestled along the Fox Valley, that Maud Powell grew and began playing the violin and piano.  Throughout her distinguished career of 37 years, touring North America and Europe, she returned to her roots whenever she could.  The Fox Valley remained “home” to her.   It is significant that Maud Powell was born and nurtured in America’s heartland for she came to symbolize all that was best in America.  Her life and art embodied the hopes and dreams of all Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Despite the hardships of touring, Powell pioneered the violin recital in North America, introducing people in small and large communities across the continent to classical music, many of whom had never heard such a concert before.  Her bold vision and unparalleled artistry inspired the formation of orchestras and prompted the serious study and higher appreciation of classical music.  The violin was her instrument through which she conveyed all that was true to the spirit of America.  Her art shone through the bleakness of pioneer life and opened paths to women that had been closed before.

She understood the heart-dreams of those who yearned for a meaningful life and who found solace in the highest art.  Maud Powell brought her art to them and, with her, hope for new horizons, high ideals, and the ability to personify them.  She followed her own heart and reached out to all in need of her message.  She walked in paths others eschewed but nothing could keep her from her mission.  She reached out to others who might have failed but for the faith Maud gave them in themselves through her art and her own full-blooded enthusiasm for life.

It is no wonder that Musical America’s editor John C. Freund pronounced her: “Long one of the most powerful forces for musical advancement in America.”  Her receipt of the Recording Academy’s (Grammy) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 confirms her high rank in the pantheon of legendary musicians.  Maud Powell is a charter honoree of the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame (2002) and Powell continues to be a celebrated role model for the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and young people in the Illinois Valley where she was born.  Rachel Barton Pine, who embodies the same ideals, will pay tribute to Maud Powell with her performance of Dvořák’s violin concerto with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra on April 1-3.  It was one of the numerous monumental violin concertos which Powell introduced to American audiences with the composer’s enthusiastic approval.  Today we renew our dedication to the highest art in Maud Powell’s memory and know that her legacy lives on in us.  Let us be faithful to Maud Powell’s legacy!

Maud Powell Tribute Week Events

Maud Powell “An American Legend” Lecture Recital: Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin (free and open to the public)

Tuesday, March 29 at 2:00 pm.  Meadows Community Rooms

Isabella Lippi and Lauren Conroy, Violins

Karen Shaffer, speaker

Click here for more information about this special presentation.

 

Listeners Club at the Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin (free and open to the public)

Wednesday, March 30 at 1:00 pm. Meadows Community Rooms

Jim Kendros, Karen Shaffer and Pamela Blevins, lecturers

 

Elgin Symphony League General Meeting and Dinner, Evangelical Covenant Church, Elgin 

Thursday, March 31 at 5:30 pm

Karen Shaffer and Pamela Blevins, speakers

Performance by the Maud Powell String Quartet, Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra

For reservations, call Jeanne Hebeisen at 847-741-6264.  Prospective members are our guests.

 

Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Lecture, Prairie Center for the Arts, Schaumburg

Friday, April 1 at 6:30 pm

Karen Shaffer and Pamela Blevins with Rachel Barton Pine

 

ESO Concert: Rachel Barton Pine plays Dvořák, Prairie Center for the Arts, Schaumburg 

Friday, April 1 at 7:30 pm

David Danzmayr, conductor and Rachel Barton Pine, violin

 

Masterclass with Rachel Barton Pine, violin, at the Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin (free and open to the public)

Saturday, April 2 at 10:00 am.  Meadows Community Rooms

 

Pre-Concert Lobby Performance, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Saturday, April 2 at 6:30 pm

Lauren Conroy, violin

 

Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Lecture, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Saturday, April 2 at 6:30 pm

Karen Shaffer and Pamela Blevins with Rachel Barton Pine

 

ESO Concert: Rachel Barton Pine plays Dvořák, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 pm

David Danzmayr, conductor and Rachel Barton Pine, violin

 

Pre-Concert Lobby Performance, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Sunday, April 3 at 1:30 pm

Maud Powell String Quartet, Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra

 

Musically Speaking Pre-Concert Lecture, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Sunday, April 3 at 1:30 pm

Karen Shaffer and Pamela Blevins with Rachel Barton Pine

 

ESO Concert: Rachel Barton Pine plays Dvořák, Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin

Sunday, April 3 at 2:30 pm

David Danzmayr, conductor and Rachel Barton Pine, violin

 

Karen A. Shaffer is the author of the critically acclaimed definitive biography ­of Maud Powell (1867– 1920), America’s first great master of the violin – Maud Powell, Pioneer American Violinist, (Ames: Iowa State Univer­sity Press, 1988).  The biography represents the first history ever written of the classical violin tradition in America.  As founder and president of the Maud Powell Society for Music and Education (1986), she has restored the important musical legacy of Maud Powell through re-issuance of Powell’s recordings, publication of a children’s book and a collection of Maud Powell’s transcriptions, commemorative concerts and exhibits, presentations in schools and colleges, and through co-founding the annual Maud Powell Arts Celebration in Peru, Illinois.  Karen is the co-founder and co-editor of The Maud Powell Signature, an online magazine devoted to the contributions and achievements of women in classical music, past and present (www.maudpowell.org/signature).