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Curtis Mourns the Loss of Ralph Berkowitz, Accompanying Faculty 1937-43

(August 5, 2011) The Curtis Institute of Music mourns the loss of Ralph Berkowitz, who passed away on August 2 at the age of 100. He studied accompanying at Curtis, graduating in 1935, and was a member of the accompanying faculty from 1937 to 1943.

Mr. Berkowitz was an executive assistant to Serge Koussevitsky at Tanglewood from 1946 to 1951 and became dean of Tanglewood Music Center in 1951. He held this position for the next ten years, at a time when faculty members included Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein and students included Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, and Claudio Abbado.

He accompanied famed cellist Gregor Piatigorsky for thirty-six years and also performed with tenor Jan Peerce, cellist Felix Salmond, and violinist and composer George Enesco. After moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1961, he was an active guest artist for the June Music Festival and managed the Albuquerque Civic Orchestra (now the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra).

Mr. Berkowitz's legacy at Curtis includes naming the Freda Pastor Berkowitz Studio in honor of his first wife, who was also an alumna, and establishing the Ralph Berkowitz Fellowship for pianists. The Curtis Institute of Music extends its heartfelt condolences to Mr. Berkowitz’s family and friends.

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