Dorothy DeLay, beloved violin teacher
March 31, 1917 - March 24, 2002

Dorothy DeLay, whose students are among the most famous performers and teachers working around the world, died Sunday morning, March 24, 2002 at her home in Upper Nyack, New York, after a more-than yearlong battle with cancer.  She would have been 85 years old on March 31.  Miss DeLay, as she preferred to be called, began her distinguished career as a teacher at The Juilliard School in 1948.  She first came to Aspen in 1970 where she nurtured many of the world’s most beloved performers each summer as part of the Aspen Music School.

She has been described as the world’s foremost teacher of the violin by publications as disparate as The New York Times, France’s Le Monde de la Musique, and South Africa’s Die Volksblad.  More than just a teacher of the violin, she frequently also was mentor, confidant, career advisor, concert fashion consultant, and even surrogate mother. Among her students are many celebrated performers, including Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin, Anne Akiko Meyers, Nadia SalernoSonnenberg, Shlomo Mintz, Nigel Kennedy, Robert McDuffie, Sarah Chang, Mark Kaplan, Rachel Lee, Midori, Gil Shaham, and Kyoko Takezawa.  Violinists of the Juilliard, Tokyo, Cleveland, American, Takács, Mendelssohn, Blair, Fine Arts, and Vermeer String Quartets studied with her.  She taught concertmasters of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, the Chicago Symphony, and many other major orchestras the world over.  Numerous other former students teach at outstanding conservatories in the United States and abroad, including the Aspen Music Festival and School.  First prizes were awarded to her students in every major international competition, including the Tchaikowsky, the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, Montreal, Paganini, Thibaud, Menuhin, Wienawski, Naumburg, Indianapolis, Queen Sofia of Spain, Chile International, Leventritt, Sarasate, Hanover, and Nielsen competitions, among many others.

Her students and colleagues at the Aspen Music School remember her with great affection and respect:
Don Roth, President of the Aspen Music Festival and School: “Miss DeLay’s impact on the musical world is immeasurable.  Her impact on the Aspen Music Festival and School is more than any of us could have imagined.”

Hal Laster, Dean of the Aspen Music School and a colleague of Miss DeLay’s since 1976 both in Aspen and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music: “She often said that she taught because in the process of teaching she learned.  This love of learning was part of the legacy she left to all her students and what made her so very inspiring.  Her pedagogical influence was felt throughout the Aspen Music School.”

Aspen Music Festival and School Music Director David Zinman: “Dorothy DeLay was a legend and her pupils are legion.  When she came to Aspen she changed the whole emphasis of the School, and because of her many of the greatest artists of our day are a part of the Aspen Music Festival experience.  This is a great loss for us, a great loss for the world of music, and for me personally, I will miss her very much.”
Miss DeLay held master classes in Europe, Korea, Israel, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and South Africa.  At The Juilliard School she occupied the Starling Chair, and held the Dorothy DeLay Faculty Chair at the Aspen Music School.  Among her many honors are the Artist Teacher Award of the American String Teachers Association, the King Solomon Award of the America-Israel Foundation, and honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Columbia University, Michigan State University, Duquesne University, Brown University, and the University of Colorado.  She was a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in Great Britain.  In 1994 she received the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Clinton at a White House ceremony.  In 1995 she received the National Music Council’s annual American Eagle Award, and in 1997 she received Yale University’s highest award for Distinguished Contributions to Music, the Sanford Medal.  “For her contributions to Japan’s musical culture,” Emperor Akihito bestowed on her the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

Miss DeLay is the subject of a biography by Barbara Lourie Sand, Teaching Genius: Dorothy DeLay and the Making of a Musician, (BUY THE BOOK) published in 2000.  Miss DeLay also has been the focus of numerous articles, and documentaries throughout her career. Last year at Juilliard she moderated the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies, How to Teach the Exceptional Young Violinist, with master teachers Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin, and Robert McDuffie, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Midori,  Stephen Clapp, Cathy Cho, and Brian Lewis attended by 250 young artists and string teachers from around the world.

Born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, on March 31, 1917, Dorothy DeLay attended Oberlin College, Michigan State University, and what was then called The Juilliard Graduate School before beginning a concert career.  That career was interrupted by World War II when her husband, writer Edward Newhouse (a regular contributor to the New Yorker for 30 years) was transferred to a series of Air Force bases.  After the war, they settled in Rockland County, New York, where they still lived.

In addition to her husband, Dorothy DeLay is survived by two children, daughter Alison Dinsmore from Boston, and a son Jeffrey Newhouse from Bronxville, NY; and four grandchildren, Molly and Susannah Dinsmore and Amy Lee and Edward Newhouse.

The family has requested that instead of flowers, contributions be made to the Dorothy DeLay Fellowship Fund at the Aspen Music Festival and School or to the Dorothy DeLay Scholarship in Violin at The Juilliard School.

A memorial service will be scheduled for later this spring at The Juilliard School, and a memorial concert will be presented in Aspen in early August.

Source: Aspen Music Festival



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