Why Celebrate Maud Powell?


For 30 years now, The Maud Powell Society for Music and Education has upheld Maud Powell as an inspirational role model for all people.  Born on August 22, 1867, in Peru, Illinois, her life was dedicated to her violin, to music and to humanity.  Her artistry set a standard for all to follow. 

Maud Powell was recognized as “the most powerful force for musical advancement in America” during her lifetime.  And she was hailed as one of the greatest violinists ever heard in Europe. 

The first American-born violin virtuoso of international stature of either gender, Maud Powell was a visionary woman who blazed a trail of “firsts”:

   - pioneered the violin recital in North America
   - premiered major violin concertos by Dvořák,
     Tchaikovsky & Sibelius
   - promoted contemporary European & American
      composers, including women & those of African                
      descent
   - broke barriers for women musicians
   - performed outreach concerts for school children
   - benefited humanitarian causes
   - performed for soldiers in World War I
   - founded and led her own trios and quartets
   - pioneered violin recording (1904)
        (Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award 2014)
   - inspired interest in classical music and the
     formation of orchestras wherever she played

Maud Powell carried her music far and wide across  North America, covering hundreds of thousands of miles and  touring under difficult conditions to bring classical music to people who had never heard a concert before.  She performed with all the great orchestras and conductors in Europe and America and carried her art as far as Russia, South Africa, and Hawaii. 

Her influence as a supreme artist and humanitarian left an indelible mark on all who heard her play.  Her enduring legacy continues to inspire musicians and music lovers throughout the world. 

“I like to think she bequeathed a legacy to me—
the very truth she had lived and died for and
her commitment to her violin, to her music and to humanity.”  
                       -- Yehudi Menuhin (American violinist, 1916-1999)


 



              Maud Powell (1867-1920)
              Portrait in oils, 1918-1919
       by Nicholas R. Brewer (1857-1949)
      Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
                   Washington, DC


It is a manifest understatement of the

general emotion to chronicle the death of Maud Powell as a shock to music-lovers.    It is the truth so far as it goes, but it fails to express in anything like its fullness the poignant and personal sense of loss which proceeds from the untimely taking-off of a supreme and unforgettable artist. 

                              — Musical America
                               January 17, 1920

 

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