Gift of two historic violins provides opportunities for music students

This spring, the department of music welcomes new members to the UMBC community: two violins and a violin bow, contributed to the department by Joel Liebman, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and his life partner Kathleen F. (Kay) Edwards, professor in the doctor of management program, University of Maryland University College.

The gift of the instruments will be acknowledged on Tuesday, May 15, at the Department of Music Honors Showcase, at which violinist Airi Yoshioka, professor of music, will perform Edward Elgar’s Salut d’amour, Op. 12, on one of the violins.

“We’re very pleased to donate our families’ violins to the department of music,” say Liebman and Edwards. “We were both students of music, and we hope that UMBC violin students will be able to learn on, enjoy and perform with these family instruments, continuing legacies of music, family, and community.”

William Spitz

The violins come with family history and photographs. In one image (above), Joel Liebman’s grandfather, William Spitz, a concert musician who attended the Vienna Conservatory, poses proudly with one of the violins. In another (below), Kathleen Edwards’ mother, Cornelia Rotter Edwards, a self-taught musician, poses with the Ste. Genevieve Juvenile Band.

Cornelia Rottler Edwards band

“Many of our students are talented but from arrive at UMBC with instruments that are not high quality,” said Linda Dusman, professor of chair of music. “We plan to loan these instruments to our top violinists to use for practice and performance during the academic year so that their development as young artists will be enhanced and accelerated as a result. The ability to hear, experience, and create the musical nuances a fine instrument enables will prepare them well for lives as professional musicians.”

Restoration of the violins and the bows was made possible by the Linehan Fund for Excellence in the Arts.

More information about the Honors Showcase concert, which will take place in Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall, can be found here.

Photos courtesy of Joel Liebman and Kathleen F. Edwards.