After a lot of negatives and road blocks, as a last resort I decided to talk to Emeritus Chancellor Irving Shain who had already supported the Beethoven Sonata piano competition for many years and was a friend to my late husband. Thinking he might throw me out, he did not; he listened and was instrumental in establishing the student piano trio. He came with me to every important meeting, spent many hours on this project and then wrote the excellent Memorandum of Agreement outlining the requirements for the Trio, among these an annual performance. When it came to a name I mentioned to him Dave’s little “joke,” so he turned to me and suggested the “Perlman Piano Trio,” in Dave’s memory.
Below: The Perlman Trio, 2012. With Jeongmin Lee, piano; Roy Meyer, violin; Taylor Skiff, cello.
Originally, the Perlman Piano Trio functioned similarly to the Beethoven competition, as a competition award. I wrongly assumed that the music school would allow the students to decide who would like to participate. This was not the case. Since the chamber music faculty decided who can and should participate, the best and most talented students were picked. The result was a wonderful annual concert at Morphy Hall packed to the gallery.
Below: The Perlman Trio, 2013: From top, clockwise: Daniel Jacobs, viola; Madlen Breckbill, violin; Alice Bartsch, violin; Jeongmin Lee, piano; and Taylor Skiff, cello.
Playing music on a professional level is a special talent. These students come from “musical families” which also often means that they cannot afford to give financial support to their children. So, I decided to turn the Perlman Trio into a fellowship. There was only one catch: I would need a very large endowment to create enough income to create such a fellowship. Chancellor Shain came up with the wonderful idea of a “spendable account” with an endowment, unique at the time, which I was able to support and build up slowly over the years.
Another great idea from Irv Shain: the “Loaner Cello.” Most young Trio cellists do not have a good cello for their annual performance, so I made another donation to purchase a good cello, selected by Parry Karp and now owned by the Music School.
Below: The Perlman Trio, 2014. L-R: Madlen Breckbill, violin; Alice Bartsch, violin; Daniel Ma, cello; SeungWha Baek, piano; and Jeremy Kienbaum, viola.