In memoriam: Lynne Haggard Rumney ’90

Lynne Haggard Rumney ’90 died after a long struggle with cancer on July 7. She was one of PUO’s most vibrant members in my 37 years here, and left a huge footprint at Princeton. Lynne was a very fine violinist, and was concertmaster of PUO. She earned a Masters in Violin Performance at the Eastman School of Music after graduating in English cum laude. She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

There are two reasons that Princeton music students, PUO and otherwise, should know about Lynne:

1) She was the inspiration for and co-organizer of the first PUO tour in 1990, in which we got on busses and played concerts in Chapel Hill, Georgetown and Baltimore– and had a wonderful time, so much so that we adopted the practice for good.

2) She was a leader in the powerful student movement that brought pressure on the Music Department and Princeton Administration to establish the certificate Program in Musical Performance in the Fall of 1990. Lynne’s quiet, well-reasoned but passionate persistence broke down decades-old barriers and prejudices about the place of music performance in a liberal arts context. She, and others, succeeded after interior faculty efforts came up short. I offer what she did as a model to all future generations of Princeton students trying to effect change. Student voices can make the biggest difference.

Going forward, one senior recital per year by a PUO member will be designated the Lynne Haggard Rumney ’90 Recital as a living memorial, in music-making, to this extraordinary person.

In memoriam: Ivan Moravec

The Czech pianist Ivan Moravec, whose name regularly appears on great pianists of all time lists, died last Monday July 27 in his beloved Prague. I note his passing here because the Princeton University Orchestra had the great good fortune of performing with him twice. Ivan was a frequent visitor to Princeton University Concerts, and so we were able to hear him repeatedly in the early 20th Century French repertory, his beloved Chopin, and of course others. He always seemed in top form for Princeton audiences, and adored performing in Richardson Auditorium.

His first time with PUO was in the Fall of 2007, in Beethoven’s C minor concerto. On this occasion (with the help of then-Princeton University Concerts Director Nate Randall) Ivan was a Belknap Visitor in the Humanities. He also gave two master classes in which he pushed student pianists to interpretive insights, even breakthroughs. Then in the Spring of 2009 he returned and gave us Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Lucky us.

Much has been written about Ivan’s playing by closer observers of the international piano world, and its history, than I. My personal reaction was always that of being bowled over by his elegance and exquisite poetry, and moved to tears more than once. Personally he was the gentlest of souls, with a completely natural old world courtesy, but with an underlying steel, forged in the years of being an artist with integrity under Communist rule. My wife Marty and I had the honor of visiting with Ivan and his vivacious wife Zuzana in Prague after his Princeton visits. After a laughter-filled dinner at his favorite restaurant, we walked slowly through the neighborhood in the Old Town where Zuzana lived during the war, listening to chilling tales of the behavior of the Nazi occupiers. We cannot know, we can only admire the strength these people had to develop in order to live in a country first under the harsh boot of the Nazis, then the Soviets, for so many years. It was an unforgettable evening.

Ivan repeatedly told me of the pleasure he took from working with Princeton students, both as a teacher and fellow performer. He regarded it as a very special treat for him. I hope he knew that we felt exactly the same way, many times over. I mourn his passing, and express my gratitude that we all came in contact with this incomparable artist and brave human being.

Princeton’s Tours

One of the most exciting parts of being in PUO is going on tours! They are a great bonding experience, and are the perfect way to share our music with a wider audience. Stay tuned for pictures and stories from our most recent tour! In the mean time, here are the places we’ve gone recently:

Princeton University Orchestra Tours

January 2019: Spain

Zaragoza; Barcelona; Madrid

January 2017: Central Europe

Dvorak Hall in the Rudolfinum, Prague; Slovak Radio Hall, Bratislava; Vienna; Franz Liszt Academy, Budapest

January 2015: Ireland

January 2013: Germany and The Netherlands

Marktkirche, Frankfurt; Royal Conservatorium, The Hague; Amsterdam Conservatorium

January 2011: United Kingdom

University of Manchester; University of Oxford; Royal College of Music, London

January 2009: Germany and Czech Republic

Gasteig, Munich; Kulturni dum, Pilsen; Old Town Hall, Prague

January 2007: Central Europe

Minoritenkirche, Vienna; Slovak Radio Hall, Bratislava; Liszt Academy, Budapest

January 2005: Portugal

Lisbon; Coimbra; Porto

January 2003: Central Europe

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna; Great Synagogue, Pilsen; Rudolfinum, Prague

January 2002: East Coast September 11 Benefit Tour

Stuyvesant High School, New York City; Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania; Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University

January 2000: Spain

Madrid; Zaragoza; Barcelona

June 1998: United Kingdom

Royal Academy of Music, London; Durham Cathedral, Greyfrairs Kirk, Edinburgh; Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow; Lyric Theater, Carmarthen, Wales

June 1996: Central Europe

Rudolfinum (Dvorak Hall), Prague; Brno Conservatory; Konzerthaus, Vienna; Reduta Hall, Bratislava; Jagellonian University, Krakow; Liszt Academy, Budapest; Kromeriz Palace, Czech Republic

January 1994: United Kingdom

Cambridge University: Eton College: Salisbury Cathedral: Royal College of Music, London

January 1992: California

University of California–Los Angeles; University of California–Davis; Stanford University

January 1990: East Coast

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill; Georgetown University; Goucher College, Baltimore