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Professor Neal Stulberg shares memories of his teacher, pianist Leonard Shure

August 17th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Just received from Music Department professor Neal Stulberg, Director of Orchestral Studies:

“On July 24, 2010 at Mannes College in New York, I was honored to participate in a daylong centennial tribute to Leonard Shure (1910-1995), a magnificent American pianist and one of my formative teachers. The symposium included sessions about Shure?s recordings, showings of master class videos, a roundtable discussion and an evening concert performed by several of his students. Along with conductor and former Shure student Hugh Wolff, I gave a pre-concert lecture about Shure?s life and legacy, and performed at the evening concert:

Leonard Shure was born in Los Angeles in 1910, grew up in Chicago and headed off to Berlin as a teenager in 1924 to study with Artur Schnabel. He eventually served as Schnabel?s assistant for six years. In 1933, Shure returned to the U.S. and began a meteoric rise as a performer that crested in the late 1940s. In a long and distinguished teaching career, including faculty positions at Mannes College, Boston University, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, the Aspen Music Festival and the University of Texas, Shure taught generations of prominent pianists and musicians including Ursula Oppens, Jerome Rose, Hugh Wolff, Anthony Tommasini, Phillip Moll, Victor Rosenbaum, Beth Levin, David Del Tredici, Gilbert Kalish, Paul Hirsch, John Browning, Virginia Eskin, Lawrence Leighton Smith, John Wustman, James Levine and Lynn Harrell. I studied piano privately with him from 1971 to 1976 in Boston, and he was an enormous influence on me musically.

Preparing the lecture gave me a chance to reflect on some of the values that I picked up from this remarkable musician, and seeing the videos brought back to all of us — with astonishing immediacy — the power of his playing and approach. His playing at lessons was headlong, visceral, utterly committed — even sometimes unhinged — with a gigantic range of sound and vividness of gesture. Beyond this, though, you had the sense that, as Lloyd Schwartz put it in his June 1986 Atlantic magazine profile of Shure, ?he leaves one convinced that there are no alternatives.? From a rhetorical standpoint, his performances were simply colossally convincing.

All of us were so lucky to have encountered a musician of Shure?s stature. It was wonderful to share our memories of these great experiences with each other at this event.

If anyone is interested in learning more about this great musician, you can visit where you can find recordings, tributes and an extensive biography.”

Tags: Alumni · Composers · Composition · Composition · Faculty · Music history · Musicologists · Musicology · Musicology · Performance · Performance · Performers · School of Music · Students

2 responses so far ↓

  • Mus14 // Aug 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for this information. Mr. Shure was a great man and teacher and anyone who studied with him received excellent wisdom. The website you provided is a very good resource. Thanks.

  • behzat ? // Sep 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    The website you provided is a very good resource. Thanks.