Thanks to a major donation from the estate of Ms. Rita Love, the School of Music at Memorial University will soon be completing its Prestige Quartet of string instruments with the purchase of a concert quality viola and cello.
Gwyneth Thomson playing the Heinecke violin
These instruments will join the School’s fine pair of violins (a Heinecke and a Pilat) which were also donated by Friends of the School, Mrs. Helen MacLeod and Dr. David Peters a few years ago. Each fall, students compete for the privilege of playing on one of the instruments for an entire year. Given the significant expense of string instruments, the opportunity to spend many hours a day developing their technique, sound, and musicianship on such a fine instrument has a significant and permanent effect on the player.
This year’s recipient of the Pilat violin is fourth year undergraduate performance major Kalen Thomson, who feels that: “You spend so many hours a day trying to work out technique and learn music, and then with an instrument like the Pilat all of a sudden so many things fall into place. The instrument is very responsive, and delivers a quality sound with minimal effort. I feel like in two months with this instrument I have made as much progress as I made in two years with my old violin – it’s just such a joy to play!” Gwyneth Thomson has won the use of the other concert violin: "Having the chance to work with this kind of instrument is an experience that I could never have dreamed of. The value of having the Heinecke fine violin and Hill bow in my final year here at Memorial University is of immeasurable value while preparing for my grad school auditions." Their teacher, Dr. Nancy Dahn agrees, stating that “these instruments have made a huge impact in terms of our students' development as artists and their ability to successfully audition for major graduate school programs."
Kalen Thomson playing the Pilat violin
This is not the first time that the School of Music has benefitted from the generosity of Ms. Love. In 2007, a donation from her estate made possible the purchase of a glorious Steinway concert grand piano for D.F. Cook Hall. It was after hearing students from the School perform on the Steinway that Mr. Derek Hutchens, the executor of Ms. Love’s estate, was inspired to make a second gift from the estate to the School in order to allow even more students the benefit of playing on excellent instruments. Ms. Love was a passionate supporter of Memorial University and she also gave generous gifts to other programs within the University. Generations of Music students will have much to thank her for!