Gladys Gladstone Rosenberg's influence on the classical music scene in Utah was immense.
As a pianist and educator, she was instrumental in developing and fostering classical music in her adopted state, at a time when the Utah Symphony was still a semi-professional orchestra, Ballet West was a fledging company and the Utah Opera didn't exist.
Maurice Abravanel, who became a close personal friend as well as a musical colleague and frequent collaborator, recognized early on Rosenberg's importance in cultivating classical music in the Beehive State. While music director of the Utah Symphony, Abravanel frequently referred to the musical life here as "B.G." and "A.G." "Before Gladys" and "After Gladys."
Rosenberg passed away in 2002, but her legacy lives on in her students and in the rich cultural life that the state enjoys today.
The University of Utah recognized Rosenberg's considerable contributions to the state and shortly after she died established a scholarship in her memory. The Gladys Gladstone Rosenberg Scholarship Fund was set up to help piano majors pay for their education at the U. Each year, one piano student is the recipient of the fund, and each year the U. sponsors a benefit concert with the proceeds going toward the scholarship.
This year the concert takes place Wednesday in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Violist Joel Rosenberg will partner with U. faculty pianist Ning Lu and violinist and Weber State University faculty member Shi-Hwa Wang in a program of Shostakovich, Piazzolla and Beethoven.
"This will be a delightful concert featuring three very different composers," Rosenberg told the Deseret Morning News by phone.
Besides being a violist, Joel Rosenberg, son of Gladys Gladstone Rosenberg, is also a conductor who is now in his 14th season as music director of the Orchestra and Chorus of Sandy City. He is also an occasional violinist. In fact, he'll dust off his violin case for the first time in a number of years for this concert.
"The last time I played the violin was a few years back in the Brandenburg Fifth with Erich Graf," he said. "It's nice to take out the violin once in a while, especially when I can play with a wonderful violinist like Shi-Hwa."
Rosenberg and his partners will open Wednesday's program with Shostakovich's Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano. "These are short pieces that mainly come from incidental music he wrote for plays and films," Rosenberg said.
This will be paired in the first half with Piazzolla's "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires." "The audience will find these pieces especially attractive. All four movements are different, and all are just delightful."
An Argentinean, Piazzolla found his means of expression through the tango. But, as Rosenberg noted in the "Seasons," the traditional Argentinean dance form allowed Piazzolla a great deal of freedom. "It's amazing what he was able to write using the tango as a basis. There is such a rich variety in his music."Closing out the concert will be Beethoven's masterful "Archduke" Trio. "It's really a 'symphony' for the piano trio," Rosenberg said. "It's such a big piece, and it ranks right up there as one of the five major piano trios of the 19th century, along with those by Brahms and Mendelssohn. It's one of the greatest works for the medium ever written."
If you go...
What: Gladys Gladstone Rosenberg Scholarship Fund Concert
Where: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
When: Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah
How much: $10 at the door