Eva Szekely
Monday, February 7, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:51 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Deciding on a life path was simple for Eva Szekely, professor of violin and chamber music at MU. She said she always knew she wanted to be a violinist — a great one.

Szekely recalled a walk she took with her mother and the reaction she had when her mother asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up.“I distinctly remember being shocked,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘How could she not know?’ I knew.”

Szekely, a Romanian immigrant whose family settled in New York City in 1966, is the product of a musical family. Her father introduced her to instrumental music. Violin came easy to Szekely, and she began to study music with private instructors. She said that often her instructors would send peer musicians for her to tutor because of her natural understanding of her instrument and her abilities.

Szekely, a 1972 graduate of The Juilliard School, has performed in Europe, North America and South America. While in France, she performed on the “Musique en Seine” series. She regularly visits Brazil, where she is often a guest artist at the Chamber Music Festival of Pará.

“The life of a musician is a life of travel,” Szekely said. “And I love traveling.”

When she is not performing around the globe, Szekely says she loves being an involved teacher. She moved to Columbia to teach and perform as first violinist in the Esterhazy Quartet at MU in 1976.

“It is exciting to me to watch a young person discover their capabilities,” she said. “My challenge for myself is communicating with my students in a way that helps them learn the best for their individual development.”

Up next for the violinist is the Boston premiere of composer Andrew List’s violin concerto. Beginning next year, the Esterhazy Quartet, in which Szekely remains as first violinist, will record the string quartets of James Willey with Albany Records. Szekely also holds the Catherine P. Middlebush Chair in fine arts.

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