The Solomon Mikowsky Recital Hall
at Chicago Collage of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
April 21 Mikowsky Remarks by Henry Fogel
I have to admit that I am, relatively speaking, a newcomer to the Solomon Mikowsky fan club. By the time I arrived at Roosevelt as the Dean of CCPA, Solomon had been here for a period of almost eight years, making his mark. But it didn’t take me long to learn of his immense value. This is a man whose life embraces everything that it means to be a teacher – not only someone who passes on musical and technical advice, but a complete mentor to his students with a degree of caring and humanity that serves as a model for that profession.
When Jim Gandre came here to be the Dean of CCPA, one of his early moves in raising the quality and profile of the school was to bring Solomon to our faculty. It was not only a great move from a pedagogical point of view, but it served notice that CCPA was positioning itself to be a major player in the world of conservatories. And Solomon demonstrated his dedication by flying here from New York every three weeks to teach his students, and then flying back to New York again: a grueling schedule even before you consider the vicissitudes of Chicago travel in the winter!
When I came I began to get to know Solomon, and we had some incredible musical conversations. I cannot begin to describe the breadth and scope of his musical sensibilities and knowledge – opera, symphonic music, chamber music, and, of course, the piano. He has made an enormous difference here – and on top of that been a very generous contributor to the school, providing the funds for a piano performance hall, and for the piano to put in it!
Now that Solomon has decided that he cannot keep up this kind of schedule, which we do understand, this evening’s concert is our tribute what he has meant to the Chicago College of Performing Arts. His colleagues and students will perform, and some will speak as well. And then you are all invited to join us for a reception in the lobby of Ganz Hall.
When I managed the Chicago Symphony, I learned a lot from many great musicians – probably most of all from Daniel Barenboim. One of the blinding moments of insight I got from Mr. Barenboim was at an audition to fill a violin opening – one of the candidates played the instrument really well. Intonation, rhythm, everything right in place. Barenboim leaned over to me and said “not for us! I don’t want a great violinist. I want a great musician who happens to play the violin.” Solomon Mikowsky is a great musician who happens to play, and teach, the piano. Solomon – we love you.