Maud Powell Statue

An 8-foot bronze statue of Maud Powell stands proudly in the town center of Peru, Illinois, the city of her birth. A lasting memorial to the great violinist, it is the only statue to an American woman musician in the United States. The impressive statue was beautifully sculpted by Joseph Heyd, O.S.B. A commemorative plaque describes Powell's achievements and her affection for the citizens of Peru. Dedicated on July 1, 1995, the statue is located next to City Hall in East Plaza at Fourth and Putnam streets. Powell biographer Karen Shaffer was invited to speak at the dedication ceremony and as part ofthe festivities gave a lecture/slide presentationon Maud Powell. Louise Schroader presented the play Maud Powell and Elizabeth Reed Smith, violin, and Kay Wildman, piano, performed a recital of Powell's transcriptions and music dedicated to her. 
Sculptor Joseph Heyd (left);Alwin Carus and Leila Elliott (center) who heard Maud Powell play in Peru in the 1910s; Kay Wildman and Elizabeth Reed Smith.
The idea of honoring Peru's most famous citizen with a statue was first conceived by Mayor Donald Baker in conjunction with the Downtown Peru Redevelopment Project. With the support of Peru's City Council, William R. Schulte chaired the Peru Statue Committee which raised funds for the memorial and organized the festive dedication ceremonies. Willa Jean Dellinger created additional community interest in Maud Powell with her numerous presentations in Peru's public schools introducing young people to Maud Powell and telling them of her particular significance to Peru.

Maud Powell Birthday Celebration

Through the initiative of Maud Powell Society board member and retired school teacher Willa Jean Dellinger, the city of Peru began celebrating Maud Powell's birthday (August 22) in August each year after the statue was dedicated. The Maud Powell Arts Celebration features concerts and art exhibits by local musicians and artists and in 1998 and 2002 violinist Rachel Barton Pine performed a recital tribute to Maud Powell. The annual event continues to honor Maud Powell on her birthday. For the schedule of this year's events, click here

Maud Powell Exhibit, Peru, Illinois


Peru librarian David Green with assistant (left) and Rachel Barton Pine, violinist (right)
The Peru Public Library hosted the Exhibit: Maud Powell , Pioneer American Violinist from 1996-2001. The exhibit featured the Nicholas R. Brewer oil portrait of Maud Powell, along with a plaster cast of Powell's right hand, the crazy quilt made by Maud's mother from her concert gowns, and numerous original letters, programs, and photographs.

Nicholas R. Brewer Oil Portrait of
Maud Powell (1918)
The American portrait and landscape artist Nicholas R. Brewer painted Maud Powell's portrait in Chicago in the spring of 1918 during one of Powell's many visits to that city. She is seen holding her Guadagnini violin in the picture. Brewer described Maud Powell during the sittings: "With a temperament innately artistic, her sympathetic grasp of my requirements and her delightful conversation rendered the sittings a pleasure and the work a success. At every rest interval she seized her violin and played." Brewer gave the portrait to the Montgomery (Alabama) Museum of Fine Arts. It was discovered there and sold to the Maud Powell Society in 1994. The painting was displayed as the visual centerpiece of the 1994 Indianapolis International Violin Competition as part of the Maud Powell exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. From 1996 through 2001, it was exhibited at the Peru Public Library. Recognizing Powell's national significance and Brewer's artistry, the portrait was accepted by the trustees of the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in January 2002. The portrait was the gift of Joyce McFarland Dlugopolski in memory of George A. Doole, Jr. and of The Maud Powell Society for Music and Education. We advise you to make an appointment with the National Portrait Gallery to view it since it is displayed on a rotating basis.

Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame, Aurora, IL
FVAHF president Susan S. Starrett with violinist Rachel Barton Pine, MPS president Karen Shaffer , and FVAHF board members Joyce and Ed Dlugopolski
Maud Powell was inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame on April 4, 2002, in recognition of her extraordinary achievement in the arts. Maud Powell, who grew up in Aurora, Illinois, was included in the first class of inductees. Representatives of the Maud Powell Society participated in the dinner celebration and Powell biographer Karen A. Shaffer accepted the award and beautiful gold medallion in Powell's behalf. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine expressed appreciation for the award as Maud would have done by performing Powell's transcription of Deep River . The elegant Hall of Fame plaque honoring Maud Powell can be seen along with others at the Paramount Arts Centre in downtown Aurora. The Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame, a committee of distinguished citizens chaired by Susan S. Starret, was founded in 2001 to give residents of Illinois' Fox Valley the opportunity to celebrate the contribution of local artists to the quality of life in the community, ensuring a strong cultural legacy for future generations. Visit their web site at .

Indianapolis International Violin Competition, September 1994  

Display of Powell's Gemunder violin and crazy
quilt made by her mother from Maud's gowns after Maud's death

Thomas Beczkiewicz, Executive Director

Exhibit: Maud Powell, American Musical Pioneer

The Visual Centerpiece of the Indianapolis International Violin Competition
Featuring the Nicholas R. Brewer oil portrait of Maud Powell
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana
Peter V. Sterling, Executive Director

August 30 - October 2, 1994

The Maud Powell Prize , sponsored by The Maud Powell Society, awarded to Juliette Kang for the best performance of a romantic violin concerto in the Romantic Finals of the 1994 Indianapolis Violin Competition

International Forum on Violins:
Maud Powell and Her Legacy
Panel members: Martin Bookspan, Henry Roth, Karen A. Shaffer
Moderator: Muriel Moebius Mikelsons
September 22, 1994

First American Violin Congress, June 9-13, 1987

Sir Yehudi Menuhin, President
George Moquin, Executive Director
The Maryland Summer Institute for the Creative and Performing Arts
The University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

l to r, Louis Krasner, narrator Martin Bookspan, Ruggiero Ricci, Joseph Fuchs,
Josef Gingold, panel chairman Yehudi Menuhin, Sidney Harth,
Karen Shaffer, Henri Temianka.


Symposium: A Salute to the Pioneers of Violin Playing in America; Contributions of the European Traditions

Panel members: Yehudi Menuhin, Joseph Fuchs, Josef Gingold, Sidney Harth, Louis Krasner, Ruggiero Ricci, Henri Temianka, Karen A. Shaffer

Presentation of The Maud Powell Society Award
to Yehudi Menuhin

Concerto Performance dedicated to Maud Powell
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35
Joseph Silverstein, violin; Yehudi Menuhin, conductor
National Symphony Orchestra
June 12, 1987, Wolf Trap, Vienna, Virginia

Concert Tributes to Maud Powell

We invite musicians everywhere to dedicate concerto performances or give concerts commemorating the life and art of Maud Powell. The following violinists have honored Maud Powell in various concerts: Elisabeth Adkins, Kelly Barr, Rachel Barton Pine, Mary Findley, Rhonda Frascotti, Jody Gatwood, Amy Beth Horman, Carolyn Lukancic, Yehudi Menuhin , Linda Plaut, Aaron Rosand , Joseph Silverstein, Elizabeth Reed Smith.
A Floral Tribute from violinist Rachel Barton Pine

Some past Tribute Concerts:

l to r, Matthew Hagle, Rachel Barton Pine,
Gregory Pine, Karen Shaffer, Willa Jean Dellinger
Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Matthew Hagle, piano
"A Tribute to Maud Powell's American Spirit"
Peru, Illinois, June 9, 2002
Visit Rachel Barton Pine's website at

Kelly Barr, violin; Andrea Swan, piano

Kelly Barr with her teacher Susan Starrett

The Aurora Fine Arts
Recognition Committee
The Aurora Historical Society
Aurora, Illinois,

September 24, 2000

Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Patrick Sinozich, piano
Recital and Master Class
Maud Powell Birthday Celebration, Peru, Illinois
August 22, 1998
Visit Rachel Barton Pine's web site at


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