Who is Irmgard Hess Rosenberger?


Irmgard Hess Rosenberger is an octogenarian who remembers the way music was before the advent of serial composition, an etude taken far too seriously in my opinion, and with it the truncation of the sostenuto phrase. Embraced by the politically intimidating academic camp, it also began the excuse for pseudo-intellectualism. Creators now found it necessary to get into effectualism to appear original, and more importantly, to talk about their work rather than to let the work simply explain itself in performance. The subsequent lack of willingness to communicate with the audience all but alienated our contemporary audience, leaving them with hardly any interest in classical music at all! (But I digress...)

Irmgard's father, Alfred Hess, was the concertmaster of the Frankfurt Philharmonic Orchestra; her uncle Frederick was the principal cellist of the original Chicago Orchestra, which was to change its name to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her uncle Willy was the director of the Royal High School for music in Berlin. It is not surprising that such notables as Max Bruch and Richard Strauss stayed in her home. A Renaissance woman, who is equally alarmed by how the classical elite has all but thumbed its nose at the audience, befriended me (and my music). She has a deep passion for the arts, and donated the million-dollar Judaica collection of her late husband, Ludwig, to the University of Chicago Library. She feels it is her job as a teacher, let alone her duty as a humanitarian, to offer a connection between the wisdom of her generation and later generations. May the synergy she has created be contagious!

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