2006/4

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School of Music

Hockett Donates Steinway


Glenn Davenport

A new Steinway concert grand piano—the most recent gift by longtime Ithaca College School of Music supporter and professor emerita of mathematics Shirley Hockett (left)—was dedicated at a free concert in October. The recital featured performances by members of Hockett’s accomplished family, with assistance from two faculty musicians.


The Weiss Family Players—composed of Abraham Weiss (bassoon), his brother, David Weiss (oboe), and David’s wife Alpha Hockett Walker (piano)—joined clarinetist Richard Faria and hornist Alex Shuhan in a program of music featuring the world premiere of Dana Professor of Music Dana Wilson’s Sound Travels. The concert included music by Mozart and Poulenc, a set of pieces for musical saw performed by David Weiss, and a sonata for oboe and piano composed by Chas Hockett, late husband of Shirley.

“The piano faculty, along with Shirley Hockett, piano technician Donald McKechnie, and I, selected the new Steinway model D concert grand piano,” says music school dean Arthur Ostrander. “We traveled to the Steinway factory in New York to find the piano best suited to the warm, intimate acoustics of the Hockett Family Recital Hall, which was donated by the Hockett family in 2002. We were unanimous in our selection of this instrument.”

Ostrander added that the Hocketts’ generosity to the School of Music is evident in the name of the recital hall, as well as the Hockett Library of Ensemble Music. The Hockett family has also endowed a concert series, which this year brought the Canadian Brass to Ford Hall for a free concert in late November.

Husband and wife team David Weiss and Alpha Hockett Walker began performing together in 1982. David is a faculty member at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, the Music Academy of the West, and the Henry Mancini Institute. He recently retired after 30 years as principal oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Alpha graduated from the Eastman School of Music with performance degrees in oboe and piano. Abraham Weiss has been principal bassoon of the Rochester Philharmonic since 1970. The three musicians will perform together at the International Double Reed Society Conference, which will be held at Ithaca College this coming June.



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