presents

the 63nd annual
MATTHAY PIANO FESTIVAL

The College of St. Scholastica
Duluth, Minnesota
June 24-27, 2020

honoring

"Mannheimer and Matthay:
Celebrating Legacies of Excellence"




                    Tobias Matthay (1858-1945)

The year 2020 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the death of Tobias Matthay, one of the greatest piano teachers of the twentieth century, and the foremost piano teacher Britain has produced. In his lifetime, Matthay trained scores of famous pianists, including Dame Myra Hess, Irene Scharrer, Dame Moura Lympany, Sir Clifford Curzon, York Bowen, and Harriet Cohen. Throughout the world, his revolutionary teaching principles were communicated to thousands more by his books, including The Act of Touch (1903), Musical Interpretation (1912), and The Visible and Invisible (1932). For nearly 50 years, he taught at London's Royal Academy of Music, and for over 40, at his own school, which became a magnet for countless numbers of pianists and teachers who established successful careers in countries the world over—especially America.

The annual Matthay Festivals are designed to offer participants direct and concentrated access to the Matthay teaching principles as they apply at all levels, including that of the performing artist. Daytime sessions include lectures, demonstrations, performances, and master classes, and a recital is heard each evening. The year 2020 marks the sixty-third annual gathering, and this year's Festival will also include performances and masterclasses featuring the recipients of the 2020 Clara Wells Fellowship Awards. Previous Matthay Festivals have taken place at many locations throughout North America, including the Philips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, the University of Maryland, the University of Central Florida, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, San Jose State University, Williams College, Pennsylvania State University, the University of South Carolina, Wittenberg University, the University of Kansas, Columbus State University, the University of Richmond, East Carolina University, King College, Union University, Western Carolina University, Texas Wesleyan University, the Eastman School of Music, Arizona State University, and the University of Alabama. Because this year the Matthay Association is also honoring the legacy of the American pianist and teacher Frank Mannheimer—one of Matthay's most distinguished pupils—in the city where he convened summer classes for over 30 years, a number of special events have been planned.




Frank Mannheimer (1896-1972)


Frank Mannheimer was born in Dayton, Ohio, and studied with various teachers there before he entered the Chicago Academy of Music in 1913, where three years later he received the Bachelor of Music degree. During World War I he served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, returning to Ohio after his discharge in 1919, where he taught and pursued a modest concert career. By 1924 he was in Berlin studying with Leonid Kreutzer (1884-1953), a pupil of Anna Yesipova, and he also attended Schnabel’s master classes. But he was unhappy with his studies in Germany, and in 1926 he settled in London, where he began extensive work with Tobias Matthay, who added him to his staff in 1927. He remained under Matthay’s influence for over a decade, residing in London until the second War forced him home in 1939. Well respected as a teacher and performer, he became an advocate for contemporary American music, performing works by Roger Sessions and Leo Sowerby for a festival at the German resort of Bad Homburg in the summer of 1931. On 25 October 1936, the BBC broadcast his performance of Chopin’s early C minor Sonata played on the Broadwood used by the composer during his final visit to London in 1847. In the 1930s, Mannheimer also gave summer classes in the United States, first in Chicago, and then at Cornell College in Iowa, which enhanced his American following. During World War II, he taught at Michigan State University, but in the early 1950s, he developed a tremor in his hands that was said to be hereditary, forcing him to abandon his concert career. He devoted the rest of his life to teaching, dividing the months from September through May between London, Vienna, and California, where he eventually built a home at Santa Rosa. From about 1940 until 1971, his summers were spent in Duluth, Minnesota, where he gave lecture recitals and master classes, and his students often remained in residence for six weeks at a time. Generally praised as a highly analytical and inspiring teacher, he coached and trained many prominent American pianists and teachers. His friend Alfred Brendel recently recalled that he was "a civilised personality full of kindness."

LEFT: Frank Mannheimer performing Chopin's C minor Sonata in the BBC's London studios on October 25, 1936.
He performs on Chopin's Broadwood which was specially loaned by the company for the broadcast.

RIGHT: A publicity photo from about 1930.

"Mr. Mannheimer revealed himself as a pianist of sound taste and fluent technique. In the Mozart sonata and the pieces that preceded it he played with a pleasing tone and an understanding of the charm and grace inherent in the music. He gave further proof of his grasp of the mood of gentle poetry in the Schumann sonata."

—Howard Taubman, writing in the New York Times on March 2, 1932.
(An excerpt from his review of Frank Mannheimer's debut recital in Town Hall on March 1, 1932, a program
which included Mozart's Sonata in D, K. 576, and Schumann's Sonata in F-sharp minor.)



Frank Mannheimer giving a lecture recital in Duluth in the early 1970s—photo courtesy of George and Susan Fee

To see a fuller commemoration of the life and career of Frank Mannheimer, please click here






Featured Recitalists



DAVID ABBOTT

is a versatile pianist equally at home in chamber music or solo performance both on modern, as well as historical instruments. He resided for ten years in Switzerland performing both as soloist and collaborative artist throughout Switzerland and Germany and toured in Australia and Europe as a member of the Swiss Chamber Soloists. His recording of Schumann’s Piano Quartet and Quintet won the coveted Prix d’Or prize for outstanding chamber music recording. His most recent recording is a two-CD set of solo and chamber music by 20th-century composer Dmitri Shostakovitch. Dr. Abbott has served on the faculties of the Zürich and Schaffausen Conservatories of Music (Switzerland), and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA). He has directed summer courses in both piano and chamber music in Europe as well as in the United States for over 30 years. He regularly appears in recitals at many college campuses and music festivals across the country and often serves as an adjudicator including serving on the jury for the final round of the MTNA national high school and collegiate piano competition. He was awarded a Bronze medal and two special prizes at the 1980 International Music Competition in Geneva. Dr. Abbott recently completed a sabbatical project researching and performing the solo piano and chamber music of Johannes Brahms throughout the Eastern United States. He has been a member of the faculty of Albion College, Albion, Michigan, since 2005 where he serves as Professor of Piano, Chamber Music, and Music History.







KENNETH HUBER

is a critically acclaimed concert pianist, and he considers his extensive study in the Matthay tradition as the backbone of his musical training. His early piano study included five years with Shirley Shaffer, who had studied with both Matthay at his school in London and subsequently with Frank Mannheimer. At the age of fourteen he began five years of summer study with Mr. Mannheimer at his classes in Duluth, in addition to lessons he took with him during his visits to Washington, D.C. He may likely be the youngest student to have studied with Mannheimer and is certainly one of a handful of today’s performing artists and pedagogues to share that second-generation direct connection to Tobias Matthay. He is a long-standing performing member of the American Matthay Association for Piano, has presented lectures and master classes at its Festivals, and has served as a Board member. He is now retired as Senior Lecturer in Piano at Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota, where he taught from 1990 to 2013. He has performed extensively throughout the United States as recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, and has appeared frequently on radio and television, as well as in collaboration with opera stars of the Metropolitan, New York City, Vienna, and La Scala Operas, and the Broadway musical theater. In more recent seasons he has appeared jointly with baritone David McFerrin in performances of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, and with his long-standing violin partner Brenda Brenner, Associate Professor of Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. A highlight of their appearances featured a lecture recital on Ives’s Fourth Sonata for a national convention of the College Music Society. In 1968 he began a four-year tour of duty as concert pianist with the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., serving as accompanist for the Navy Chorus in over 350 engagements, including appearances at the White House and the State Department.




NEIL RUTMAN

has performed in over thirty countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. He has appeared in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, and the Schola Cantorum in Paris, with recent concert tours in the last five years of the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand, Japan, and the Persian Gulf. The Washington Post has written that his playing “met the highest standards and his spotless articulation gave the whole program unusual polish and virtuoso marks”, and the New York Times noted that “he won the audience over for himself with exquisite performances ... both commanding and full of character.” Mr. Rutman has distinguished himself as a top prize winner in several international competitions including the Busoni, Kapell, Casadesus, Joanna Hodges, Concert Artist Guild, a irst prize for his performance of the Goldberg Variations at, the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, and recently, first prizes in two categories at the French Piano Institute International Competition in Paris. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and for Artistic Excellence from the Astral Foundation of Philadelphia. The latter allowed him to commission a new piano concerto by composer, Albert Glinsky, which he premiered under the baton of conductor, Eiji Oue. Among his recordings are two Mozart Piano Concerti with the Academy of London Orchestra, an all-Poulenc CD with Emmy-Award winning actor Tony Randall providing the narration in The Story of Babar the Little Elephant, and his all-Chopin release on the Pro Musica label. Mr. Rutman has recently authored articles for The Piano Quarterly, The Piano Teacher, an interview with Aiko Onishi in Clavier, and is a contributing author to the book Piano Masterpieces. Most recently, he is the author of the highly acclaimed Stories, Images, and Magic from the Piano Literature. A native of San Francisco, Mr. Rutman had his formative training under the musical guidance of Aiko Onishi. He later graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Peabody Conservatory, where he worked with Cécile Genhart, Ellen Mack, and Leon Fleisher. Mr. Rutman is Artist-in-Residence at the University of Central Arkansas. As a young man, under the tutelage of Onishi, he became acquainted with the pianistic techniques of the English pedagogue, Tobias Matthay, whose ideas he continues to share and emphasize with his own students and in Master Classes. Since 2008 his students have won top prizes in numerous competitions including the East West Artist Auditions in New York City, the Clara Wells International Competition, and the MTNA.




BARRY SNYDER

is an internationally acclaimed pianist and teacher, whose entry onto the international stage came after winning three major prizes at the 1966 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition: Silver Medal, Pan American Union Award and the Chamber Music Prize. Since then, Snyder has toured the world performing concerti, presenting solo collaborative recitals, and leading master classes. Snyder has performed with conductors such as Robert Shaw, Leopold Stokowski, David Zinman, Sixten Ehrling and Arthur Fiedler. His has appeared with such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Krakow Radio Symphony , Brno Radio Symphony, Japan Philharmonic, Toronto Chamber Orchestra, and the Aspen Summer festival Orchestra. A well-known collaborator, Snyder has appeared with artists such as Hermann Prey, Jan DeGaetani, Zvi Zeitlin, Ani Kavafian, Sylvia Rosenberg, Bonita Boyd, Steven Doane, and the Chilingirian and Cleveland Quartets. Many of these collaborations can be heard in Snyder’s substantial discography of over forty recordings. Held in high esteem by the professional community, Snyder is a widely sought-after teacher. Since 1970, Snyder was Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and he is listed in the publication The Most Wanted Piano Teachers and has given master classes in the United States, Europe and Asia. As of 2018, Snyder became Professor Emeritus at Eastman and accepted an Adjunct Professor position at NYU. As a juror, Snyder has chaired the jury for the World International Piano Competition in Cincinnati and was a member of the jury for the Glasgow Young Artists Competition. Snyder is committed to performing 20th and 21st century repertoire, and has given world premieres of works by such composers as Syndey Hodkinson, Toshio Hosakawa and Augusta Read Thomas. Many compositions, such as those by Carter Pann and Verne Reynolds, have been written specifically for him. Barry Snyder studied solo piano with renowned teachers Wilbur Hollman, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Cécile Genhart and studied chamber music with John Celentano and Brooks Smith.





Guest Speaker: Francis Crociata on the Relationship Between Frank Mannheimer and Leo Sowerby (1895-1968)


LEO SOWERBY (shown at left in 1919) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and like Frank Mannheimer, was largely schooled in Chicago, where he spent most of his career. He was prodigiously gifted and his Violin Concerto was premiered by the Chicago Symphony in 1913 when he was only 18. His works were often performed by the Chicago Symphony, as well as the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and many others. He left a catalogue of more than 550 compositions, including five symphonies, concertos for piano, organ, cello, and harp, and works from every genre except opera. He was the first winner of the American Prix de Rome, and in 1946 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his cantata The Canticle of the Sun. Largely self-taught as an organist, he became organist/choirmaster at St. James's Episcopal Church (later consecrated as St. James's Cathedral) in 1927 and he remained in that position for 35 years. Among American composers, he holds an unparalleled stature in the field of sacred music, but he was remarkably versatile, and even composed two jazz-like works for Paul Whiteman's orchestra, which were recorded early in January 2020 by Chicago musicians in sessions overseen by our speaker, Francis Crociata. Even Frank Mannheimer's most devoted students are unlikely to be aware that throughout his playing career he did much to promote the works of his close friend Leo Sowerby, and the Sowerby Archives at Syracuse University contain much fascinating correspondence illuminating the relationship between these two men.

FRANCIS CROCIATA (right), who lectured at the 2019 Matthay Festival, is a noted authority on Sergei Rachmaninoff, but he has also written and lectured on Leo Sowerby for nearly five decades. He became president of the Leo Sowerby Foundation in 1993 and coordinated a nation-wide schedule of concerts and festivals spanning a period of 18 months in observance of Sowerby’s birth centennial in 1995. He has produced, co-produced, or written the booklet annotations for 17 issued recordings of Sowerby’s music, as well as the cover essay for the May 1995 issue of The American Organist. As managing editor, he has also overseen the publication of 23 of Sowerby’s works, mostly first publications of secular and solo works which have appeared under the Sowerby Foundation’s imprint in cooperation with Theodore Presser, Inc. He has discovered much little-known information concerning the Mannheimer/Sowerby connection, and his expanded presentation will include performances of works dedicated to and closely associated with Mannheimer, including a portion of Sowerby's Florida Suite (1929) performed by Signe Sebo Zale, and three as-yet unpublished works, the Passacaglia, Interlude, and Fugue (1931), performed by Dan Franklin Smith, the Passacaglia (1942) performed by Stephen Siek, and the Piano Concerto No. 1 (1915-17), performed by Nicholas Susi.





A Special Presentation on Felix Mendelssohn and his Friendship with William Sterndale Bennett (1816-75)


On July 29, 1873, The Times of London reported on some serious conflicts facing the Royal Academy of Music—conflicts so severe that Britain's Royal Family was then pressuring it to dissolve and merge with other London institutions. Many who hoped that the Academy would retain its independence had reason to thank the man who then served as its principal, because William Sterndale Bennett had withstood immense pressures to fight for the institution he loved. The Times's principal music critic, J. W. Davison, even wrote that if the Academy "cannot continue to exist as it has existed for so long a period, it has really no pretence to exist at all. We believe sincerely that it can—more especially with such a musician for its chief director and pilot as Sir W. Sterndale Bennett."

But eighteen months later, Sir William Sterndale Bennett, Britain’s most prominent musician, was dead at the age of 59. His funeral, which occurred on the morning of February 6, 1875, saw a solemn cortege of over 30 carriages winding its way to Westminster Abbey, where he was soon laid to rest in the North Aisle alongside Purcell and Handel. The Times then proclaimed him to be “the first musician of our day,” and devoted an entire column to the ceremony, an event without parallel among nineteenth-century British musicians. The article continued: “There were members from all the Societies of Music, not only from those of our own country, but of France, Italy, and Germany, and with the carriages of those who desired to do honour to the memory of the man who has been laid in Westminster Abbey it was pleasant to see those of the Queen and of her two elder sons."

Just four years earlier, shortly after Bennett had been knighted in 1871, the Academy created the Sterndale Bennett Scholarship, then its most prestigious award, and its first recipient was the fourteen-year-old Tobias Matthay. In the few years they worked together they grew close, and Bennett, who had known Mendelssohn and Schumann intimately, forever remained one of the most formative influences on Matthay's teaching and musicianship. This year, at a Festival dedicated to the teachings of one of Matthay's most outstanding students, we proudly focus on one of his most accomplished teachers, as pianist and musicologist BETTINA MUEHLENBECK presents new insights revealed in the letters exchanged between Bennett and his close friend Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Dr. Muehlenbeck, currently the director of Salzburg programs for Bowling Green State University, has been researching Bennett's life and music for over a decade, and has published widely.





The College of St. Scholastica



Since 1912, The College of St. Scholastica has been preparing students for a life of purpose by emphasizing the Catholic Benedictine values on which it was founded. St. Scholastica is an independent private college with locations across Minnesota, including the original campus in Duluth. Enrollment in the undergraduate and graduate programs has grown from 2,200 to 4,000 in the last decade, due in part to its commitment to making high-quality education available online and through convenient evening and weekend formats. The College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. U.S. News & World Report includes St. Scholastica on its "Best National Universities and Top Performers" on social mobility lists. The College is ranked as the #1 Minnesota school for overall upward economic mobility by the Equality of Opportunity Project. St. Scholastica was included in Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for your Money” and Forbes’ Top Colleges lists for 2019. St. Scholastica's mission is to provide intellectual and moral preparation for responsible living, and meaningful work. Overlooking Lake Superior, the 186-acre Duluth campus is a beautiful setting with a mix of new and historic buildings. A large on-campus resident population and numerous student groups make St. Scholastica a vibrant place of community and learning.

St. Scholastica's Music Department offers the B.A. degrees in Music and Music Education in a traditional, on-campus format at the Duluth campus. A minor in music is also available, and general education offerings are available on-campus and online. The Department is housed in historic Tower Hall (left), which is conveniently connected to Mitchell Auditorium (right), a premier performing arts center, hosting concerts, lectures, theater productions, and student activities. The auditorium seats 580 with accommodations for people with handicaps and hearing impairments.

Click here to take a virtual tour of the campus.


Lodging and Banquet

Participants are responsible for their own housing arrangements. A block of 20 rooms with King beds has been reserved at the Tru by Hilton, 503 Clearwood Drive (218-722-0222), about a nine-minute drive from the St. Scholastica campus, and about 13 minutes from the Duluth International Airport. Their fitness center is open 24 hours a day, while the pool is heated and indoors. A free on-site hot breakfast is included. The hotel's thoughtfully designed rooms are spacious, offering a fresh contemporary feel and large work areas, flat-panel TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The deadline for booking rooms at the special Festival rate (Tue-Thur. rate is $129 a night and the Fri-Sat. rate is $179 a night) is May 23, and these rooms will be available from Tuesday, June 23 through Sunday, June 28, 2020. Those interested should click here.




Those desirous of less expensive accommodations may wish to consider the Monastery operated by the the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery. The St. Scholastica Monastery features 17 single- and double-occupancy guest rooms with private baths, and a complimentary breakfast is included. Matthay Festival attendees interested in obtaining the special rate of $70 a night are asked to make their reservations directly through our Festival host, Professor Nicholas Susi at Nicholas.j.susi@gmail.com

                            For a list of other nearby hotels, please click here.

                            Banquet information will soon appear here.




Travel to Duluth

Duluth is served by Duluth International Airport, which in 2019 accommodated over 200,000 passengers. The new state-of-the-art passenger terminal opened for business on January 14, 2013, and currently United Airlines offers three daily nonstop flights to Chicago, American Airlines offers two, and Delta offers five daily nonstop flights to Minneapolis/St. Paul. DLH is committed to providing its customers with superior services in a safe, secure and professional environment, and the new Club DLH Business Suite is designed with the working traveler in mind. Passengers will enjoy a comfortable 400-seat terminal with TVs and charging stations, clean, modern, and plentiful restroom facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Delicious meals and sample local craft beers and spirits are available at the Arrowhead Tap House, and a variety of shops are ready to fulfill air travelers' needs. Six major car rental agencies serve the Airport, and for a full list of ground transportation options (including Lyft and Uber), please click here.

For driving directions to the College of St. Scholastica, please click here.
(Parking is free on campus during the summer.)




Program Schedule

Biographies of 2020 Presenters

Festival Registration

Back to Matthay Home Page