Shepherd School adds two

Two of the country’s premier teaching musicians are joining Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

Paul Kantor, currently the Eleanor H. Biggs Memorial Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), and Virginia (Ginny) Weckstrom, a member of the chamber music and collaborative piano faculty at CIM, will join Rice in July 2012. The two have been married for 30 years.

"Paul Kantor is widely recognized as one of America's leading violin pedagogues," said Robert Yekovich, dean of the Shepherd School. "His appointment to the violin faculty at the Shepherd School adds a special luster. It also reaffirms the school's commitment to sustaining the extremely high quality of its program and fine reputation as a top-ranked music institution."

Kantor, who will become the Sallie Shepherd Perkins Professor of Violin, joined the Cleveland Institute in 2002. His impressive musical career includes serving as chair of the String Department at the University of Michigan for 13 years. Prior to that he held concurrent appointments on the faculties of The Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory and Yale University. For the past 32 years he has been an artist and faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he was concertmaster of both the Festival Orchestra and Chamber Symphony.

"I am both professionally and personally thrilled to learn that Paul and Ginny will be joining the Shepherd School community and I know that my sentiments are shared by my colleagues, many of whom have already had the good fortune of collaborating with them in the past," said Kathleen Winkler, professor of violin and The Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Classical Violin. "They are two of the most esteemed pedagogues and performers in their respective areas, and their addition to our faculty will further solidify the Shepherd School's standing as one of the finest music schools in the world."

Over the years, Kantor has visited and taught at Rice, but his and Weckstrom’s last visit to campus played an important role in their decision to join Rice.

"We were made to feel so welcomed … from the dean’s assistant to our colleagues in every department we met with, and certainly with Dean Yekovich," Kantor said. "The excellence of the Shepherd School is so well known, and I am struck by the appreciation and affection the graduates have for Rice and the education they received, as well as the internal respect which seems prevalent between all constituencies at the school."

Weckstrom will join the Shepherd School as an Artist Teacher of Piano Chamber Music and Accompanying. Prior to joining the Cleveland Institute in 2003, Weckstrom had taught piano since 1989 at the Residential College of the University of Michigan, where she directed the chamber music program for the last four years. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the Western College for Women and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. Weckstrom also served as chair of the Piano Department at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Conn., and was a founder of the School for Performing Arts in Ann Arbor.

"The graduate program in Piano Chamber Music and Accompanying, directed by Brian Connelly, is a small, highly selective program," Yekovich said. "With the addition of Virginia Weckstrom and her vast amount of experience in this particular area, the program is now poised to make important strides forward. Her appointment will ideally complement the fine work already being done by Brian and Jeanne Kierman Fischer."  

"I’m welcoming this new adventure,” Weckstrom said. “Houston seems like a beautiful, cosmopolitan city. When I have students, I don’t just have a musical relationship with them, but I have a life-long friendship. I recently gave a concert with my teacher and mentor from my undergraduate years. She's 90 years old and I still treasure that relationship. I would hope to have those types of friendships with the students I teach too."

The Shepherd School of Music is ranked one of the country’s best musical schools.  Graduates can be found in orchestras around the globe, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco and Chicago symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France, and opera graduates have sung in several of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and recital halls.

To learn more about the Shepherd School of Music, visit www.music.rice.edu.

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